The Saturday after Thanksgiving seems like the perfect time to talk about how very THANKFUL I am for NCECA.  I’m betting that if you are of the people taking the time to read this post, you are probably nodding your head in agreement.  For so many folks, the NCECA conference is their source of annual education, stimulation, ideation, and yes, also recreation.  Some of my closest friends are those that I see only once a year at the conference.  They are my family…the people who understand me, the people with whom I can be most comfortable.  The conference itself is my source of inspiration, an infusion of fresh ideas, a conclave of creativity.  It is because of this beautiful and amazing group of people that provide me with my lifeblood annually….”clayers”, as Louis Katz calls us all, that I throw myself so deeply into the work I do for this organization.  Together with my husband, we also support the organization financially, and I have a challenge for you all toward the end of this post, so read on….

The last couple of weeks in this “Inside NCECA” column, I have been talking about conference finances , as it pertains to both attendees and the organization budget itself.  In this third and final installment of that unintentional sub-series, I wanted to talk about supporting the organization’s overall mission and activities. Your NCECA membership serves as the very foundational support of an organization whose mission is to make ceramic art and learning vibrant in contemporary culture. Your membership enables NCECA to sustain and evolve efforts that elevate and inform the field.

What kind of efforts?  NCECA supports many programs & initiatives throughout the year such as:

  • original year-round programming delivered across the web through partners like 92Y
  • Promotion of the field at annual conferences such as SOFA and CAA
  • Undergraduate Fellowships
  • Curating and underwriting educational programming at conferences like SOFA and CAA
  • support for Emerging Artists
  • fresh new podcasts
  • Partnering with various institutions for regional events and exhibitions
  • Graduate Fellowships
  • popular conference content delivered as podcasts and YouTube videos
  • International Residencies
  • Initiatives & research in advocacy, social activism and green practices

NCECA Membership is the element that catalyzes creation, inquiry and dialog in ceramic art and learning. Membership in NCECA makes you part of a community where artists, teachers, learners, collectors, advocates and supporters of ceramic art and education share a home.

CrumpledDollarNCECA, like most non-profit organizations, does not and can not exist much less thrive solely on memberships and conference income.  We rely on significant grants from the NEA, and Windgate Charitable Foundation as well as substantial gifts from other foundations, institutions and individuals.  In recent years, we have become more successful in our grant-writing efforts due to the financial support of our board of directors.  100% of those who are serving this organization through their valuable commodity of time, effort and energy, are also supporting the organization financially.  And keep in mind, the NCECA board of directors is comprised of people from our membership who are, in the words of Past-President, Patsy Cox, “pulling out crumpled one dollar bills from their pockets and putting them on the table”.  We are very proud to have been able to maintain that 100% board donation for the last 4 or 5 years.  And that 100% has not only improved our status and success rate, it has also increased the dollar amount.

Val Cushing Lidded Jar, NCECA auction circa 2001

Val Cushing Lidded Jar, NCECA auction circa 2001

Foundations also look at how much of an organization’s membership donates to the cause.  Clay folk are some of the most generous people I know….providing substantial in-kind donations of artwork to many many good causes.  In years past, NCECA had a silent auction at the conference filled with amazing work from top artists in our field (and a big part of how I built my personal collection)  All of the artists in all of those wonderful years of the auction donated their work to this cause.  NCECA has a long history of support from its members in this way.  In the last few years, more and more NCECA members are giving back financially to our organization through annual gifts, recurring gifts or even estate planning.  I am really hoping that we can double our membership contributions in this conference year.  The Tuesday following Thanksgiving is typically known as “Giving Tuesday.”  It also happens to be my Dad’s birthday. He would have been 75 this year.  And many of you know he was attending NCECA conferences well before I was born.   So here’s my challenge….(first there’s a little math:  There are typically 150 people/week who read the Inside NCECA column I write.  If each of you reading this donates just $10.00, that would come to $1500.)  So, in memory of my dad and his passion for the organization.  In honor of my mom and her continued support of the organization, and in recognition of the work that so many people have done for NCECA, past, present and future, beginning now and running for one week (until midnight, December 3rd, central time), and together with my generous and very supportive husband,

I will match donations made to NCECA up to $1500.00

Want to help, but don’t know how?  Here are some options:

A few weeks back, I posed a question in the NCECA Facebook Group regarding how to really make our 50th anniversary feel like a celebration.  There were SO many great ideas.  And they weren’t even all that expensive.  it wouldn’t take many people donating a small sum of money toward the 50th anniversary fund to make fireworks happen, for instance….Did you know that NCECA has been raising money for the 50th anniversary festivities for the last four years?  If that’s something you feel passionate about, click here to add your own crumpled Washingtons, Lincolns, Jeffersons or Hamiltons to the pile on the table. NCECA’s 50th Year donations will advance plans for special publications, exhibitions, programs and events to mark this important milestone. Donations of $1,000 or more will be acknowledged on NCECA 50th Year Webpage and in 50th Anniversary publications. Donations of $3,000 or more will also be acknowledged with a limited edition ceramic work commissioned by NCECA. Any funds that are raised in excess of anticipated project needs will be used to support NCECA’s scholarship funds.  *For a limited time, contributions of $50 or more designated to the 50th Year Fund will receive the gift of Body & Soul, an exceptional exhibition catalog of figurative work produced by Wendy and Martin Kaplan with the Museum of Art and Design.

NCECA also maintains the Fund for Artistic Development, which was established in part to benefit NCECA’s future and most promising young talents by supporting student scholarships and fellowships, International Residencies, outreach and special initiatives. This fund also receives ongoing support through the annual Cup Sale and NCECA’s Collectors’ Tour.  If you feel passionate about the development of the future of our organization and field, click here to support this fund

If you’re the type who colors outside the lines, consider an unspecified gift.  NCECA’s Annual Fund sustains the organization’s mission, operations and fiscal health and year-round. Annual Fund donations are unrestricted, empowering NCECA to apply support where and when it is most needed.  You can even set up a monthly or weekly recurring charge to spread out your annual giving across the year.

Of course you can always call the office and make your donation over the phone 866-CO-NCECA.  Your gift to NCECA will honor a legacy of creativity, generosity curiosity and love for clay while nurturing visibility, continued relevance and vitality of the ceramic arts and education.