Hello from Kansas City! We are making our final preparations here and are excited to welcome around 6,000 clay lovers to Kansas City!!!! It looks like we are going to be blessed with pretty good spring weather for the conference, so pack accordingly! If you haven’t downloaded the NCECA App yet, what are you waiting for?
• I strongly recommend that you vote in the NCECA Board Member Election before you leave on the plane. Although voting continues through 4pm on Friday of the conference, things get hectic and time has a way of slipping away. If you haven’t seen your ballot in your email, watch for a reminder on Sunday afternoon. Still don’t find it or having problems voting? Click here for help. If you want to meet the candidates face to face before you vote, be sure to attend the members meeting on Thursday at 8:15am. A final reminder to vote will go out shortly after that meeting.
• Keep your eyes peeled as you head toward KC! You are definitely likely to see some other ceramics folks heading the same way. I like to play a fun game I call “guess the potters” (term potters used loosely to describe anyone who works in clay, btw). It’s especially fun at the destination airport. Anyone in a suit is automatically disqualified. Everyone else gets a “potterscore” Points are given for beards or blue jeans, bonus points for iron oxide stains on the jeans, points for flannel, comfortable shoes, you get the idea. You can make your own rules. But I digress…..
Upon your arrival at the Kansas City Airport, you will need to get transportation to your hotel. Discounted airport transportation is provided through SuperShuttle. Book online at by clicking here or by calling 1-800-BLUEVAN (258-3826) and provide the discount code: 3CZT9. Van shuttle service is $15.00 one way; $30.00 round trip includes group discount. Taxis from Kansas City International Airport to the downtown hotels cost approximately $47-$50 one way.
• The Marriott Hotel main tower has a fabulous lobby area and bar. It’s a good place to meet up. You should know there are two separate buildings for the Marriott, and they are connected via airwalk. The other tower is called the Muehlebach, and that’s where the dance will be Friday night. In case you haven’t explored the App Map, here’s a quick look at the relationships of the hotels.
• Once you are all checked in to your hotel, you might want to head to the convention center to look around and get checked in for the conference. Checkin for preregistered attendees, onsite registration & Bus Tour onsite signup is all on the second floor lobby of the Convention Center. There are a variety of ways into the convention center, but with the weather as nice as it is, it will probably be best to walk outside and look for the big NCECA banner on the skywalk over central street. Go there, go in the first door you find, and head upstairs. And again, check the map in the app!
Please note: The Resource Hall will be locked on Tuesday while exhibitors are setting up. You can not get in to poke around in there or even say hi to a person you know is in there. Even if it’s your Mom.
• You may have heard that NCECA has adopted a new system that will improve and streamline the checkin process. You should have received an email with a QR code that you can scan on the express pass kiosk to confirm your conference information and print your name tag.
• YES you can access this from a mobile device (you do NOT need to print a hard copy)
• No you should not stress out about forgetting the paper or the code. If you find yourself without either, we CAN accommodate you
• YES we will have lots of people standing by to help if you have any problems at all.
Get a preview of how it works here:
• So, since you can’t wander the Resource Hall, you should pop back to your room to check out the contents of the bag! If you’re an NCECA member, you should have a copy of the NCECA Journal in your bag. That makes for great reading on the flight home, but it’s also good to peruse in advance. It contains abstracts from most of the presentations at the conference. You should also have a copy of the PROGRAM GUIDE. This is basically the printed version of the app. Please be aware that the printed guide in your bag, the official NCECA App, and of course, the NCECA Blog are the only official guides to the conference and will contain the most accurate and up to date information. It has come to NCECA’s attention that some other applications, emails, guides and printed matter have been produced by other companies. While we are sure these items were well-intended, we have already been informed of some misinformation in these publications. You will also have 2-3 brightly colored small slips of paper in there. These are important AND TIME-SENSITIVE. I won’t tell you what they are, but it involves free things, so look for those and follow the instructions on them. You’ll also find a beautiful envelope containing emerging artist cards…because why should sports rookies get to have all the glory? Then there’s always a lot of other fun stuff that you get in your bag, compliments of the non-profit and commercial exhibitors, mostly. Some may have special offers you can redeem in their booth, sometimes there are some fun gifts included, or there might be a postcard with details about a great show you will want to enter. I just LOVE looking through my bag immediately, (and then again when I get home as I reminisce about all the magical moments…)
• For those of you who are social media savvy, I’d also like to remind you of NCECA’s video recording policies:
NCECA has worked hard to build relationships with our conference presenters and plan this conference. Presenters have granted permission for NCECA to document presentations for educational purposes. The permission to document conference proceedings using personal devices is not extended to individuals attending the conference via their registration. Please respect the personal rights of our presenters as well as NCECA’s rights by not recording our sessions.
There will be signs posted to remind you of this policy. We do know and understand that attendees want to capture memories of things they enjoy and also wish to be able to access the information later in the reflective space of their own studio. Please be assured that we will again be working hard to upload conference content to our YouTube channel. Be sure to follow Watch NCECA on YouTube
• Lastly…for those of you using the app, be sure to check out the CLICK game on page two. You could win a conference pass for the 2017 Conference, plus the game is a lot of fun and will help you see and find things you may have otherwise missed.
See you all VERY SOON!
Westport is a small region crowded with trendy restaurants and boutiques, however historically it is the western port of Kansas City that was at one time an individual town. It displaced Independence, MO as the start of the Sante Fe and Oregon Trails for western expansion by 1850 with Kansas City. Now, instead of moving west, you can find vintage clothing at ReRuns, records at Mills Record Company, bubble tea at Tea Drops, or any variety of food and beer, as well as grocery shopping at Sunfresh. During NCECA this area will be bustling as a large St. Patrick’s Day parade will be traveling the streets. From authentic Mexican cuisine at Cancun to great american eats at McCoy’s, Westport has a variety of places to eat to cater to anyone.
Please note that on St. Patrick’s Day (which is Thursday of the conference), Westport is the rowdiest part of Kansas City. If you’re Irish and want to celebrate with your people, look no further than Kelly’s. They’ll start up “traditional Irish festivities” first thing in the morning.
In addition to a variety of bars, Westport offers some great places to eat, here are a few:
Cancun Fiesta Fresh
4019 Pennsylvania Kansas City, MO 64111
431 Westport Road Kansas City, MO 64111
435 Westport Road Kansas City, MO 64111
4057 Pennsylvania Avenue Kansas City, MO 64111
4111 Pennsylvania Avenue Kansas City, MO 64111
OFF Key Karaoke
510 Westport Rd #100, Kansas City, MO 64111
Located just 45 minutes away from the Kansas City Convention Center, Lawrence, KS is hosting 11 exhibitions. An excursion to Lawrence would make a great roadtrip to check out the Lawrence Art Center, Brackers Good Earth Clay and exhibitions at the University of Kansas. If you are traveling early for NCECA, Lawrence is holding a HUGE pre-conference event including wood-firing workshops with performance kilns at KU, a Ceramics Symposium at the Lawrence art Center and Workshops at Brackers Good Earth Clays. Find more information here. Resturants that are Hosting exhibitions include the Ladybird Diner with a Salt & Pepper Shaker show and Freestate Brewing Company hosting Growlerfest. Lawrence is not shy in midwest hospitality, where there are some great places to eat:
1021 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, KS 66044
The Basil Leaf Cafe
616 W. 9th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044
2429 Iowa St, Lawrence, KS 66049
The Burger Stand at the Casbah
803 Massachusetts St., Lawrence, KS 66044
815 New Hampshire Street, Lawrence, KS 66044
El Potro Mexican Cafe
3333 Iowa Street, Lawrence, KS 66046
Free State Brewing Co.
636 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044
129 E 10th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044
721 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044
920 Massachusetts St., Lawrence, KS 66044
23rd Street Brewery
3512 Clinton Pkwy, Lawrence, KS 66047
Cindy breaking in here and including an addendum to Paul’s post. Lucky to be a lifetime Lawrencian, (ok townie), I have to dish the dirt on dining. As mentioned, Free State Brewery, which is hosting Growlerfest, is DEFINITELY a must. Sit in the outdoor beergarden (the weather will be perfect for this) and sample one of their seasonal brews, or enjoy one of their flagship beers. If you have dinner, fish & chips….seriously. You won’t find it better outside of London. Onion Rings are bomb too. It’s the beer batter. If you find yourself in need of a caffeine jolt to help you make the most of your party nights, right next door is La Prima Tazza, Lawrence’s oldest coffee shop. There’s also a starbucks across the street, but I don’t know how it stays in business. Lawrence is full of independently owned coffee shops that have asbolutely spoiled me. Another of my favorites is Z’s Divine Espresso, which is around the corner from the Lawrence Arts Center. Try the ring of fire, if you’re brave enough. And speaking of jolts of caffeine, If you are looking for a good place to get your day started, the locals know to go to Wheatfields.
Wheatfields Brick Oven
When Ken Ferguson would come in to town, he would stop to buy clay, then he’d stop to buy bread and Macaroons here. For breakfast, I get the half order of biscuits and gravy (which is huge…the full order is enormous). They also have excellent breakfast sandwiches and my daughter swears their cinnamon rolls are the best. And you can be like Ken and grab some Macaroons for the road. Of course, if you want a sweet breakfast, you have to head out of downtown and up 9th street to hit Muncher’s Bakery…and actually, you don’t have to hit it for breakfast, they’re open 24 hours, and you get a sugar high just walking in the door. BUT their cream cheese filled doughnuts are to die for….sometimes my mom asks for those in lieu of a birthday cake. If you’re a meat eater, don’t miss the Burger Stand for their award winning burgers, and the fries….oh the fries!!! can you say duck fat fries? truffle fires? Sweet potato fries, and then the bacon cheddar bourbon fries….um yummmmm. But of course, this is Lawrence, so of COURSE a place called “the Burger Stand” has an exceptional vegetarian menu. And if you’re anti-carb, you can get a burger salad. Be sure to stop by the sauce bar and try one of each….spicy aioli or guacamole ranch for me! For something a bit more ethnic, I am absolutely in love with Zen Zero, an asian fusion restaurant with palate pleasing portions and pocketbook pleasing prices. I usually get two separate meals out of their phad thai. One of my absolute and long time favorites is the Mad Greek. I think almost every guest I’ve ever had come to Lawrence has ended up in this restaurant and all have loved it. Everything on the menu is fabulous, but I just love their gyro meat. Some times I get the gyro salad, sometimes the gyro plate, or sometimes just a sandwich. And it’s so good, I somehow find a way to eat it all…probably shouldn’t but I do. Of course, it’s easy to work off all this great food with a delightful stroll down Massachusetts street, filled with eclectic and locally owned shops, plus lots of sculptures which adorn the street corners and change yearly. While you’re walking, make a little space for the most divine ice cream on the planet. Forget 31 flavors, Silas and Maddy’s is THE place to go. I could dive mouth first into a vat of their rock chocolate Jayhawk, and I really have a hard time trying any other flavor, but when I do, I’m never disappointed by my choice. ALL are incredible!
Want to hear more opinions? Listen to Lawrence…Each year we vote. Here are the results of the 2015 Best of Lawrence in Food and Dining
I do hope you make it out to Lawrence and enjoy your time here (because now I’m hungry)!
If you’re staying downtown or at any of the conference hotels, the Power and Light district provides convenient places to eat, drink, and connect with friends due to its close proximity. Only a couple of blocks from the convention center, this district offers a WIDE variety of retail & restaurants. Although some of the restaurants are national or regional chains, the offerings here represent a variety of ethnicities and styles of food and many are roomy enough for large parties of people. Cosentino’s Market is right on the edge of Power & Light. If you missed our earlier blog about the magnificence of the market, check that out here. Johnny’s Tavern, which is a small regional chain that began in Lawrence, KS, is always a great place for an incredible “world famous” burger, or wings. And while Johnny’s also has delicious Pizza, it’s hard to compete with the an actual Pizza Bar, which is a Kansas City original. Take a few friends and share a few ‘zas, because with the wide variety of options, it would be hard to pick just one! Looking for a healthier option? Locally owned and operated, the Mixx offers the freshest ingredients and a variety of creative concoctions in the form of its homemade salads, soups and sandwiches. The Mixx serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and also features seasonal grab-and-go meals and advance ordering options, which are ideal for conference attendees! On the other hand, if you want to treat yourself, try the family owned and operated, Mema’s Bakery. If you’ve never had Povitica, definitely don’t have theirs. It will spoil you for the rest of your life. Power and Light is also one of the biggest hotspots for night life. You’ll find plenty of bars, clubs and often live music. You can Howl at the Moon at a trendy dueling piano bar, or feel a little devilish at Angel’s Rock Bar, or be independent and do your own thing at the Indie Bar, which, although it’s designed to be a pre-show-at-the-midland drink or post-show nightcap spot, is too hip & chill to skip. Wherever you chose to get your groove on, know that bars in KC close at 3am. Check out Dine-Drink-Play for a list of more places to eat, shop, and drink in the nearby Power and Light District.
If you’re looking for something more upscale, The Plaza is Kansas City’s upscale central district for shopping and dining and is a short drive from the exhibitions located at the Nelson Atkins, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City Art Institute and UMKC. It’s Spanish architecture is covered with vast amounts of tile work and is surrounded with fountains. There are many chain clothing stores there including H&M, Banana Republic, American Apparel, and Urban Outfitters to name a few. You can also catch a movie at the Cinemark Palace at the Plaza for an evening break from shopping. If you’re in the mood for some family size portioned Italian eats, head to Buca di Beppo. Their maze-like restuarant could keep anyone entertained, as the walls are covered with hilarious decorations (just be sure to ask where the bathroom is before you go looking for it). From just spaghetti to Chicken Parmesan, their food is exceptional. Here are a few more of the many choices the Country Club Plaza has to offer:
Buca di Beppo
310 West 47th Street Kansas City, MO 64112
209 W. 46th Terrace Kansas City, MO 64112
Tomfooleries Restaurant and Bar (Breakfast Buffet)
612 West 47th Street Kansas City, MO 64112
Scooter’s Coffee and Yogurt
446 West 47th Street Kansas City, MO 64112
102 West 47th Street Kansas City, MO 64112
Potbelly Sandwich Shop
4725 Broadway Kansas City, MO 64112
100 Ward Parkway Kansas City, MO 64112
The Cheesecake Factory
4701 Wyandotte Kansas City, MO 64112
Cold Stone Creamery
114 West 47th Street Kansas City, MO 64112
4701 Jefferson St, Kansas City, MO 64112
Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse
222 W 47th St, Kansas City, MO 64112
Ceramics is more than just a few hundred famous artists or those who teach it in the US. Ceramics are independent artists—successful and struggling; Instructors and students; young and old; working in many disciplines. Ceramic artists use an infinite number of fabrication, firing and finishing methods. For this momentous conference, I teamed up with celebrated artist and dedicated instructor, Alex Kraft to put together 50 Women: A Celebration of Women’s Contribution to Ceramics. Artists representing 13 countries make up the roster.
This exhibition will be featured on the NCECA Bus Tour North Route.
Ms. Kraft articulates the intent of the exhibition by stating:
Our exhibition provides a new model of engagement reaching far beyond individuals in the field of ceramics, arts and crafts.
This is definitely the case. Alex and I started with an exhibition idea and ended with an event with global impact. From having feminist icon Gloria Steinem tweet about the exhibition to creating a Facebook page with over 6,500 likes internationally, we continue to work to expand the audience for ceramics.
Kansas City’s beautiful and iconic American Jazz Museum at 18th & Vine hosts this spectacular tour de force of women in ceramics.
Here’s an appetizer for you:
If this makes you hungry for more, buy your bus ticket now, and if you’re hungry in general, be sure to also check out some of these great places to eat in the neighborhood.
The Rivermarket hosts a weekly farmers market from early summer to mid fall. During the rest of the year, you can visit a variety of restaurants there, with a particularly lengthy list of great Vietnamese places. The Kansas City Artist Coalition, Kiosk Gallery, and Steamboat Arabia Museum are hosting exhibitions in the Rivermarket, please note there is a admission fee to enter the Steamboat Arabia Museum. While you are here, a stop at Beignet’s is an absolute must. Expect a wait, but expect it to be worth it. Beignet’s is one of the hottest spots in KC right now. There are both sweet and Savory options and they even have an extensive menu of Gluten Free Beignets. Can’t make it to the market? Postmates.com will deliver for only $3.99! New Orleans cuisine not your style? There are a variety of great places to eat in the Rivermarket:
Nguyen Pho and Grill
Nguyen Pho and Grill
500 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64106 (816) 569-2262
315 Cherry St, Kansas City, MO 64106 (816) 471-2224
522 Campbell St, Kansas City, MO 64106 (816) 472-4888
300 Delaware St, Kansas City, MO 64105 (816) 569-6032
427 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64105 (816) 421-1122
307 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64105 (816)472-0777
309 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64105 (816) 421-0414
20 E 5th St # 100, Kansas City, MO 64106 (816) 423-8036
Hien Vuong Restaurant
417 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64106 (816) 842-1020
Kansas City’s historic Jazz District is remembered by its blues, barbecue, and baseball. There you can find the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the American Jazz Museum, and the Mutual Musicians Foundation. Kansas City native, Charlie Parker transformed the Kansas City music scene in the twentieth century with fast tempo and improvisation to form a Jazz style called Bebop. Without the Kansas City Jazz District,
Charlie Parker might not be as well known as the district contained a well established Jazz club scene – one that even the Prohibition widely disregarded prior to the Bird’s day. While in the Jazz district check out the 50 Women: A Celebration of Women’s Contribution to Ceramics at the American Jazz Museum, Clay Gate Keepers at the Vine Street Studio Art Gallery, and the multiple exhibitions hosted by the Belger Crane Yard Studios. If hunger strikes while you’re taking in the history and amazing art, here are a couple places to eat:
417 E 18th St Kansas City, MO 64108 (816)-472-5454
Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque
Humdinger Drive In
1727 Brooklyn Ave, Kansas City, MO 64127 (816) 231-1123
1221 Brooklyn Ave, Kansas City, MO 64127 (816) 483-3880
Hum Dinger Drive In
2504 E 9th St, Kansas City, MO 64124 (816) 231-0888
The Kansas City Juke House
1700 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108 (816) 472-0013
Danny’s Big Easy
Danny’s Big Easy
1601 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108 (816) 421-1200