Purpose Prize

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Sue Crolick

Creatives for Causes/Art Buddies
Purpose Prize Fellow 2006

Pairing creative mentors from advertising and design with inner-city children

Hitting 50 was a turning point for Sue Crolick. A successful advertising art director in Minneapolis and principal of her own firm, she was hungry for a new challenge. In the early 90’s Crolick watched as schools slashed art budgets, affecting all kids, but particularly inner-city children with fewer resources. She began to imagine helping those children by tapping the enormous talent of creative people in her field. In 1994, Crolick founded Creatives for Causes and started a program called Art Buddies, which pairs creative mentors from advertising and design, one-on-one, with inner-city children. For the first time, creative professionals in the local advertising and design fields — including art directors, copywriters, TV producers, photographers, illustrators, graphic designers and architects — were tapped to work one-on-one with local kids. Today, each Art Buddies program pairs 50 creative mentors with 50 kids to meet once-a-week for six-week workshops. Mentors help each child create a fanciful and ambitious project – everything from a model of a dream city to a costume of his/her future self. To date, more than 1,000 mentors have nurtured the creative spirits of over 1,000 kids, helping them to believe in themselves and to expand their vision of who they can become. Crolick envisions bringing the Art Buddies model to cities across the country.