Usually you would be hearing about conference programming from our amazing Programs Director, Steve Hilton, but I had to wrestle this one away from him because I absolutely love collaborative clay-community building endeavors (I also love alliteration, can you tell?).

Not every NCECA member came to clay through the academic route.   As a whole, we are now almost an even split between those in post-secondary environments and those who meet their clay needs in their own studio or a community arts center.  I think NCECA is one of the finest examples of collaborations.  Our board is about as diverse as it has ever been and I firmly believe that the broader the viewpoints, the more enriched we all are.

So I am absolutely ecstatic about the amount of programming at the conference this year that focuses on collaborations and community connection.  First, at 9:00am until 10:30am in Ballrooms D/E, join Namita Gupta Wiggers as she moderates “Pass the Peas,” a roundtable discussion centered around how ceramic objects and food combine to unify a community.   As writers, artists, curators and historians, our roundtable panelists, Frederick Opie, Aruna D’Souza, Julia Galloway and Vipoo Srivilasa, will discuss and debate the complex ways that we understand place and memory through objects, food and community engagement.

Intrigued by this concept?  Want to learn how can your work be included in a national project focusing on how we connect at the table through ceramics, community, and food? Stop by to talk with Michael Strand and Namita Wiggers, curators of Across the Table, Across the Land for NCECA’s 50th Anniversary Conference in Kansas City.  Stop and chat with them throughout the conference in the pre-function area on Level 5.

At noon on Thursday, in 552A/B, join Connie Lavelle with Craig Hinshaw and Brandy Noody for Ceramic Murals: Building Community.   Discover different approaches to creating ceramic murals within the public school setting that bond a community of learners. This panel will walk the audience through our approaches to creating these collaborative works of art: one, which is student led, the other initiated by a visiting artist.

Then at 12:45, in Ballroom B/C,  hear another approach to building community from Kyla Strid, Marshall Maude and Ben Ahlvers as they give a presentation on Building Communities/Expanding Opportunities.  Lawrence, Kansas has a rich history of arts appreciation. In the recent years, this has increased due in part to the combined efforts of several arts entities here. The Lawrence Arts Center is the City’s largest non-profit arts organization. Together with the University of Kansas Department of Visual Art, several collaborations were forged which combined ceramics enthusiasts in the community with degree-seeking ceramics students at the university. The connection between these two, as well as with other ceramic entities in the area benefit the ceramics community at large and bring awareness to the ceramic arts.

There must be something magical about cities that start with the letter L… In Lowell, Massachusetts, a city-wide K-16 collaboration is infusing Cambodian wood-fire ceramics in curriculums and engaging artists in lively collaboration.  Hear from Maggie Holtzberg, Margaret Rack, Yary Livan, Jacqui Miller from 2:30pm – 4:00pm in 552 A/B in Continuing & Contemporizing Cambodian Ceramics – A Community Effort

Then join us all for NCECA’s first ever film night as we screen two fabulous films on ceramics, the first of which covers a community tile project in Texas!

On Friday,at 3:15 in Ballrooms D/E, enjoy the story of a beautiful collaboration to create an annual cooperative tour amongst a community of potters in Stories Potters Tell: Clay and Community in the St. Croix Valley with Jessica Shaykett and Perry Price.