A Message from NCECA President


Here we are somewhat adjusted, readjusted or maladjusted, whichever is your social norm, from our time spent at NCECA Houston. We soaked in amazing exhibitions, bathed in stimulating talks and showered in many moments of celebration, connection and research in the field. We made so many new friends. We visited with you in some key meetings at the conference, which engaged individuals with special expertise to maintain and excel the relevancy and impact of our work. Thank you for plugging in. It’s a special time for NCECA as we head toward Milwaukee in 2014, Providence in 2015 and Kansas City in 2016 and we will need many rolled up sleeves and extra hands to get us there.

Those of you that were with us in Houston might have sensed that our meeting was a bit smaller than our gathering last year. While this sense may have felt compounded by the immense spaces of the convention center, your perceptions were correct. Our number of registrants in Seattle for 2012 was just below 5000 and although in Houston, our final number came in somewhat lower than projected at 3640, this more intimate crowd did not dull the level of engagement and enthusiasm that results from an extraordinary program and outstanding exhibitions throughout the region. Over the past several years, NCECA has experienced a trend of conference registration numbers rising and falling in alternating years. This indicates that with more hard work and compelling programming plans underway, we anticipate that the numbers will be up in Milwaukee and look forward to sharing some of the things already in the works for NCECA 2014.

Since returning to the office, we received news that for the first time since 2010, NCECA was unsuccessful in its bid to secure funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Based on feedback we received in communication with an NEA program specialist, our proposal received very positive comments from the review panelists, and missing out on this award was largely due to diminished allocation of federal dollars. The initial disappointment of this unrewarded effort only reinforces our need to inform you of the value that NCECA is and what your role might be in the equation. There is a common misperception that NCECA has gobs of money and that there is no financial challenge to providing the quality and quantity of service that we do. NCECA remains financially solvent and we work diligently to keep our budget balanced, but the challenge of maintaining and expanding extraordinary programming is very real. Like many other nonprofits dedicated to arts and learning, NCECA is working hard to navigate a ‘new normal’ of budget cuts and difficult fiscal times. Each year we continue to support projects and initiatives that are important to our membership and the advancement of the field. We continue to plan for the future and want to let you know that there is plenty of room for your support.

We have the ability to educate and advocate on the behalf of our membership to raise awareness of our art form, push for professional exhibition spaces, facilitate critical dialogue, and provide support for students and artists while celebrating our foundational members. We have a commitment to continue this work and you can play a part in it. In fact, your participation is essential. Most people assume non-profits get their funding primarily through the government or charitable institutions. The truth is that most fundraising comes from individuals, not the small segment of the wealthiest individuals who give large lump sums, but small sums from people like you and me. This last fact was somewhat of a shocker to learn when NCECA went through its training with the Annenberg Foundation last year.

As NCECA continues to seek out resources to ignite imaginations and maintain the diverse, spicy and complex flavors of contemporary ceramic art and education at a rolling boil, we will be reaching out to our membership to help us stoke this fire. Whether you have the ability to contribute financially, time and specialized capacity to support exhibitions, research, scholarships or projects for our 50th year celebration in 2016, the need is there.

Your volunteer board is already in the throes of planning its annual spring meeting, which will convene in a few short weeks. Expect more updates in May and feel free to send us any thoughts you have, in fact, make a point to let us know what you’re thinking.

Patsy Cox
NCECA President


Although we just said our goodbyes in Houston, in just a few short weeks, your NCECA board will be meeting in Milwaukee to plan the programming for next year’s conference.  While this year is still fresh in your mind, please take a moment to think about the programming you would like to see next year.  We are looking for suggestions for Keynote, Distinguished & Closing Lecture, Randall Session, Dance Band, Demonstrators, and panel presentation ideas.  If you have suggestions, feel free to comment here.  Or maybe you’d be willing to share your own expertise with us and be a presenter in Milwaukee yourself!  Click here to learn more and to submit a proposal.  Deadline is May 1st!


NCECA and the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities in Colorado are organizing a blended invitational and competitive ceramic exhibition for artists from the United States. Earth Moves: Shifts in Ceramic Art and Designwill run from September 12 – November 10, 2013. Entry fees are $20 for NCECA Members and $35 for Non-Members. Online submissions are due by May 28, 2013. NCECA Exhibitions Director, Linda Ganstrom; the Arvada Center’s Ceramics Program Coordinator, Bebe Alexander; and the Arvada Center’s Exhibition Manager and Curator, Collin Parson will organize and curate the exhibition. NCECA and the Arvada Center will produce a color catalogue documenting the exhibition experience through artists’ bios and statements; color images of artwork, and pertinent essays. One catalogue will be sent to each included artist following the close of the exhibition.


At the conclusion of its 47th Annual Conference in Houston, NCECA announced that following its 48th Annual Conference in Milwaukee (March 19-22, 2014), its 49th will be in Providence, RI (March 25-28, 2015), and Kansas City, MO will host NCECA’s 50th anniversary conference (March 16-19, 2016). Kudos and thanks to Jay Lacouture for stepping up as On-Site Conference Liaison in Providence and Paul Donnelly for assuming the mantle for 2016.


At the Second Members Business Meeting on the final day of the 2013 conference in Houston, NCECA’s membership overwhelming passed amendments to NCECA’s Bylaws. Bylaws with promulgated changes are now available on the NCECA website. The new amendments will enable NCECA to incorporate electronic voting in future ballots and elections, alter the makeup of the nominations committee to include a member at large and enable the board to approve appointments to positions to the Board of Directors requiring special knowledge and skills. Also at this meeting, Lee Burningham was elected to a second term as Treasurer, Cindy Bracker who ended a term as Director at Large was elected to the role of Communications Director, Dandee Pattee was elected to serve as Director at Large and Maccabee Shelly to serve as Student Director at Large. Mel Buchannan (Milwaukee 2014) and Jay Lacouture (Providence 2015) joined the Board as On-Site Conference Liaisons. Join us in extending a huge thank you to Jeff Forster and Merrie Wright who completed heroic terms as On-Site Conference Liaisons for Houston 2013, Brian Kohl for his service as Communications Director, and Suzanne Lussier for her service at Student Director at Large.


Born on the Summer Solstice of 1919, visionary architect, artist, theorist and builder Paolo Soleri, passed away on April 9, 2013 at age 93 years of age.  In 1946 Soleri spent an apprenticeship at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West before returning to Italy where, in 1953 he built his first commission, the Solimene Ceramics Factory using structural concrete techniques inspired by the Italian architect / engineer Pier Luigi Nervi.  At the factory he observed ceramic casting that influenced his subsequent molding of bronze bells and earth-formed concrete studios upon moving to the United States.

Soleri devoted his life to re-imagining the architecture of the city, and then astonishingly, he set out to build it… Arcosanti, 65 miles north of Phoenix, was described by NEWSWEEK magazine as “…the most important urban experiment undertaken in our lifetimes.” Represented in models, drawings, books, lectures and museums, Soleri’s breadth of inquiry is documented in his City in the Image of Man, published concurrently with a 1970 project at the Corcoran Museum in Washington DC, altering discourse on urban planning for a living planet. He coined the term, “Arcology” joining the words architecture and ecology to represent a holistic system incorporating the inter-relation of design, building and resource stewardship.

The flowing forms of his architectural workshop Cosanti in Paradise Valley (an Arizona Historic Landmark) and the continuing project at Arcosanti, where to date over 7,000 students have participated in construction, represent a legacy that more than 50,000 enthusiasts visit each year. Though the community never reached or sustained the population of 5000 for which it was intended, Soleri persevered, sustaining a model interdisciplinary action research that demonstrates architecture’s ability to influence and reveal new patterns of inhabiting the earth. His lifelong commitment to this vision was recognized with gold medals from the American Institute of Architects, the Union of International Architects, the Venice Biennale and the National Design Award from the Cooper-Hewitt/Smithsonian Museum.