MudGirls Studios is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing opportunities in art and entrepreneurship to economically disadvantaged and at-risk women by providing training and skills to transition out of poverty and onto a pathway of self-sufficiency. Through the creation and sale of functional art and aesthetic utilitarian objects women will gain a source of long-term supplemental income.
MudGirls Studios began in Adelaide’s Place, a day shelter for homeless women in Atlantic City. Each week, the women who came for respite from the harsh world outside gathered around the kitchen table to roll out clay, making bowls, trays, plates, boxes, and decorative items. Looking forward to “clay day,” the women worked with energy and precision, pouring their heart and soul into their ceramic wares. Most created “gifts” for loved ones, not being able to offer much else. In time, and under the direction of Founder and Designer, Dorrie Papademetriou, designs and standard pieces were introduced, and the women were trained in larger production with attention to detail to produce high quality work.
As MudGirls Studios began to sell their products at local Fair Trade and Makers festivals, orders and demand for their wares grew. MudGirls Studios needed to expand. The number of women artisans expanded little by little, to become a workforce, currently, of ten women, thanks to a significant job training grant from Ocean Inc. We are a diverse team of women spanning across race, ethnicity, generations and life experiences. Each day makes an interesting adventure as we grow and learn together.
MudGirls Studios also needed to expand its studio space and find a permanent home. Fr. John Thomas and the Parish of St. Monica's generously offered space to create a full-time, functional studio, first, in the Rectory of St. Michael's Church, and more permanently (and below market rent) in the former St. Michael's School, located on the second floor of St. Michael's Church, next to Dante Hall.
A turning point for MudGirls Studios came when Atlantic City Development Corporation (AC Devco), the agency charged with building the Atlantic City Gateway Project, commissioned MudGirls Studios to design and produce ceramic tiles for Stockton University, and South Jersey Gas.
Other commissions for MudGirls Studios products include the Atlantic Care Foundation, the Wells Fargo Foundation, Contact Cape Atlantic, Hard Rock Casino & Hotel, and many others, in addition to many private individuals who have placed special/custom orders.