Cultivate the Creative is a nonprofit organization created to remove socioeconomic barriers to art programs and art supplies for youth in underserved communities. Through equitable access to art and education, Cultivate the Creative celebrates the creative process and empowers students to grow personally, emotionally, and artistically through expressive arts.
Founded in 2020, Cultivate the Creative has been working to build a strong foundation that will support our vision to make mental health resources through expressive arts widely accessible to youth. As we expand our organization’s capacity to do so, we believe this happens by creating community, resources, and a foundation that will enable us to build a support network that supports human wholeness and wellbeing.
We believe that creativity isn’t just a way for people to express themselves through art but rather it is an approach that can drive new ways of thinking. Our brain is a giant muscle that must be exercised like any other muscle in the body to increase performance and resiliency. Research has shown that creativity can:
Enhance neural plasticity;
Improve cognitive flexibility; and
Reduce stress and anxiety.
With the rapid advancement of technology and social media, and the pressures that derive from our ever-changing world, we truly believe that creativity can help students identify ways to healthily integrate personal and global trauma, more recently resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic into their lives moving forward and develop solutions that can drive innovative ways of thinking to solve global issues that impact their future and future generations.
As we continue to launch our strategic vision for 2023-2026, stay informed by signing up for our newsletter so we can share with you more information.
Meet our Board
Founder & Director
Kristen Kerr (she/her) resides in the sunny and beautiful city of St. Petersburg, FL. After moving to the city in 2018, she was inspired by the immense creativity that fuels the city. This led her to finding her own personal social-emotional healing, creative voice and leadership approach through expressive arts.
Working in public policy and administration since 2013, Kristen has supported nonprofits and local and state governments through program development and implementation, financial management, strategic planning, and community development. Coupled with her education received through the Florida State University’s Masters of Public Administration program, Kristen’s focus area has been in building community resiliency. Leveraging her experience and education with the love of creativity birthed the vision of Cultivate the Creative.
Kristen has volunteered with several nonprofit organizations over the last 15 years, including Habitat for Humanity and Florida’s Guardian ad Litem. Through these direct experiences, she’s seen first hand the inequities that exist in our current structures, especially within underserved communities such as BIPOC and LGBTQ communities. She is committed to making programs and resources widely accessible and approachable to support each new future generation’s creative expression.
Kristen believes that the creative process empowers young individuals to not only grow personally, emotionally, and artistically but enables them to identify and create new solutions the world is in desperate need of. She believes community resiliency is found in celebrating the human-wholeness of each person and giving them a voice to create lasting and collective change within their own worlds and our collective worldwide community.
Kristen enjoys spending as much time as possible in nature with her pup Kota, enjoying local, state, and national parks and hopes to see as much of the world as possible, connecting with others and experiencing and learning different cultures.
Richard Prince takes a vision and makes it a reality through sound strategy development and structuring collaborative ideas. He innately sees the links of opportunity that exists in an organization, brings them together into a rational whole, helps others expands their logic, and drives collaborative thinking into a business advantage. He is an inspirational leader with the experiences that provoke action while at the same time moving the organization forward. Respected as a credible voice in decision making, finding innovative ways to achieve goals, and establishing new opportunities, Richard is an asset wherever he serves.
Currently, as Economic Development Coordinator for the City of St. Pete’s Urban Affairs Department, Richard oversees the Mayor’s signature youth program called My Brothers My Sisters Keeper and seeks opportunities for economic equality for St. Pete’s Community Redevelopment Area. He lead the Mayor’s youth program to serve over 300 youth and over 100 families. He is now spearheading major strategic shifts for transforming the city’s youth programs and aligning economic relief programs in response to COVID-19.
Previously, as Director of Business Development for a private company in West Palm Beach, FL, Richard led business development for a private company and created their educational sector which served families and schools all over the nation. During this time, he built the system that connected with over 250 schools in the USA and abroad and repositioned the organizations partnerships into New York City. Earlier he rose through the ranks and acted as liaison to the organization’s partners in New York and New Jersey. He began his career at Eaton Orthopedics working with Dr. Koco Eaton of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Richard graduated from the University of South Florida with his BA in business management and was heading into Law School before he received a job offer for a private company in West Palm Beach, FL. He has served on a board of a nonprofit organization whose mission we helping foster youth and their adopted families. Richard is also a recording artist and uses art to inspire him musical and give him an escape from his everyday endeavors. Richard lives by the quote,” have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing.”
Carrie Tillett-Saks (she/her) is a licensed arts therapist and mental health counselor. She specializes in trauma-informed care that centers mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Carrie’s joy and responsibility is to provide culturally-conscious support to youth and families; she’s worked with children in foster care, survivors of domestic violence, and children and their families in the Latinx communities. She is committed to helping strengthen communities and prioritizes social justice praxis in her work and personal life.
Carrie is also a painter, dog mama to her adorable pitbull, Sol, and an urbanite trying to keep her plants alive for as long as possible. Carrie is an alumna of the FSU Art Therapy Master’s program and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Dr. Samuel Rosenstein
Our newest board member Samuel Rosenstein, aka “Dr. Sam,” is currently working in New Orleans, LA as a Program Director for a nonprofit youth arts organization.
Originally from Atlanta, Sam began college studying Landscape Architecture with the initial goal of wanting to design golf courses. Despite enjoying the work and excelling in the program for his first two years, he ultimately decided to switch majors, graduating with a BFA from the University of Georgia in Studio Art + Art Education (2010). Sam went on to also earn a Master's degree at UGA in Public Administration (2012) with a nonprofit management focus. Combining these academic interests, Sam became “Dr. Sam” when he received a Doctorate in Art Education (2018), from Florida State University with a research interest in community engagement and creative placemaking through collaborative mural making with at-risk teens.
Throughout his studies “Dr. Sam'' worked as a part-time painting instructor, and is extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to travel on multiple study abroad programs (Croatia, Ecuador, Ghana, Italy, South Korea) as well as complete several professional internships (High Museum of Art, Georgia Museum of Art, Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Kennedy Center, Whatever It Takes, Mission San Luis). These invaluable life experiences have shaped the way he operates as a community steward and advocate for people of ALL different backgrounds and walks of life.
“Dr. Sam'' relishes the privilege and challenge of utilizing an open, inclusive, and empathetic leadership style in navigating his personal and professional pursuits. He firmly believes in the power of art(s) and culture as a vehicle to bring people together and unearth one's unique potential and joy, while striving for equitable access to the fullest extent of his capacity.
In his free time, “Dr. Sam” enjoys making art, going on long walks with his dog Frazier, and watching and playing sports.