In Service: Engaging and Connecting through Clay

MARCH 8 – APRIL 28, 2019
Main Gallery
Curated by Ursula Hargens

In Service: Engaging and Connecting through Clay will underscore a growing trend in the craft field: creating opportunities for social engagement through the process of making. We’ll highlight artists committed to creating meaningful community dialogues and will include ceramic work made by those sitting at the table, as well as those who benefit from this outreach. We’ll celebrate a new iteration of the Democratic Cup: Land of 10,000 Stories, in collaboration with Ayumi Horie and Nick Moen at The Bright Angle, during which we’ve hosted community conversations across the state of Minnesota, led by clay ambassadors. Conversations were sparked by custom ceramic cups, designed by Minnesota potters, and illustrated with decal prompts that highlight current issues facing Minnesotans. During the exhibition, visitors will have the opportunity to connect with others in the exhibition space over coffee and pie. 

NCC’s own 20+ year history of engaging community through clay under its ClayToGo program will be highlighted, and, specifically, the creative results of our multi-year collaborative outreach with the immigrant communities that have settled in the neighborhoods surrounding NCC. Additionally, we’ll celebrate the efforts of an international organization, Potters for Peace, and their implementation of The Water Filter Project in 35 countries, which provides clean drinking water through simple ceramic technology. We’ll shine light on our local community, Powderhorn Potters, and their Empty Bowls initiative, which has raised over a quarter of a million dollars to date. We’ll honor local legend and potter, Warren MacKenzie, and his philosophy of pots for the people. Finally, we’ll bring Jeff Schmuki to the Midwest for an installation of portable hydroponic community gardens, using a recycled ceramic substrate.

Our creative partners are all residents of the state of Minnesota. Ambassadors for this project included ceramic artists Nathan Bray, Bill Gossman, Lisa Truax, and Julianne Shibata. Form makers included Linda Christianson, Brett Freund, Peter Jadoonath, and Elizabeth Pechacek. Illustrators included Jaime Anderson, Kim Bogeman, Ann Ryan, and Julie Van Grol.

In conjunction with this exhibition, Schmuki will be on site during winter quarter to install a hydroponic garden and a custom ball mill, which will tumble bisqued earthenware (waste from our community classroom program) into growth medium for gardens. Visitors in the exhibition are invited to take growth medium home to their own gardens while the greens grown in the gallery during the exhibition will be harvested to share with our Seward neighbors through the Soup For You program at Bethany Lutheran Church run by Chef Judah. Stop by the exhibition gallery, March 5 or 6, between 10 am and 4 pm, to see the artist at work.

19WX18: Thursday, March 7, at 6 pm
Schmuki will present a public lecture about his entire body of work, which includes an amazing array of ceramics, interventions, plants, and robotics.

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