Announcing 2020 McKnight Artist Fellowships and Residencies for Ceramic Artists

Northern Clay Center is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 McKnight Artist Fellowships: Andrea Leila Denecke (Scandia, MN) and Brad Menninga (Saint Paul, MN) and the 2020 McKnight Artist Residencies: Ashwini Bhat (Petaluma, CA), Edith Garcia (El Granada, CA), Tom Hubbard (Attleboro, MA), and Roberta Massuch (Philadelphia, PA).

The McKnight Artist Fellowships for Ceramic Artists Program is designed to strengthen and enhance Minnesota’s artistic community, as well as significantly advance the work of Minnesota ceramic artists whose work is of exceptional artistic merit, who have already proven their abilities, and are at a career stage that is beyond emerging. Two grants of $25,000 each are awarded annually.

About the Awardees:

Leila Denecke

Teaching Artist Sales Gallery McKnight Fellow 2020, 2008, 2004 McKnight Resident 1998

Edith Garcia

McKnight Resident 2022, 2012, 2005 Jerome Project Grant 1999

Roberta Massuch

McKnight Resident 2021 Jerome Project Grant 2009 Fogelberg Fellow 2008

The jurors in 2020 were very impressed with the strength and breadth of the field. The voices they represented brought the history of decorative craft, the process of working in clay, and an inclusive perspective on the field of contemporary ceramics.

Winnie Owens-Hart is highly-regarded as an educator, artist, author, and advocate in various arenas including those of ceramics, art, and culture. Beginning in her formative years, Owens-Hart has long been involved in the ceramics community and has continued as an advocate for education. Realizing her passion and interest in African ceramic traditions, she embarked on the first of many trips to Nigeria and Ghana in 1977 to learn the historical techniques of women  potters in western Africa. Working with, and learning directly from, potters carrying on the techniques of their history, she forged strong personal connections and shared these methods through numerous workshops across the country and her over 37-year career as an instructor at Howard University. Throughout her lifetime of travels, Owens-Hart has become an advocate and conduit to educate others about the arts, culture, and historical techniques through workshops, exhibitions, publications, and production of documentaries. Owens-Hart’s work has been shown in various gallery and museum settings both nationally and internationally. Additionally, her work has been produced as public installations and public projects in numerous locations and is included in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian (Washington, DC), Kohler Art Center (Kohler, WI), along with myriad public and private collections.

Virgil Ortiz is first and foremost a potter but his creative and inquisitive nature has carried his processes and creations into an exploration combining art,  décor, fashion, video, and film. Raised in a creative environment in which storytelling, collecting clay, gathering wild plants, and making figurative pottery was commonplace, he carries forward many influences of his heritage including those of his maternal lineage including renowned Pueblo potters. Merging Cochiti tradition with his own storytelling, Ortiz keeps traditions alive with contemporary and individualized vision. Ortiz’s exquisite works have been exhibited in museum collections around the world including the Stedelijk Museum (Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands), Foundation Cartier pour I’art Contemporain (Paris), the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, DC), the Virginia Museum of Fine Art (Richmond), and the Denver Art Museum.

Marcelino Puig-Pastrana received his BFA and BA in art history in 2000 from Fordham University (New York). Puig- Pastrana’s studies have additionally encompassed dance, drawing, painting, and printmaking, as well as both lighting and graphic design. In 1992, he was a recipient of a young artist grant in choreography from the National Endowment for the Arts and in 2017 he was a finalist with honorary mention in the 39th International Competition of Ceramic Art (Gualdo Tadino, Italy). Puig-Pastrana’s work is placed in permanent collections and has exhibited both nationally and internationally. His work has been featured in various group exhibitions and received additional accolades with three solo exhibitions in the last two years. Featuring drawings and ceramic works, his solo exhibitions were hosted at Museo Casa Escuté (Carolina, PR) and the Museo de las Américas (San Juan, PR) in 2018, and at the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez in 2019. His work has also been added to the permanent collections of the Polo Museale Gualdo Tadino (Perugia, Italy) and the Museo de Arte at Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez.

About the McKnight Fellowship Program
Founded on the belief that Minnesota thrives when its artists thrive, The McKnight Foundation’s arts program is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. Support for individual working Minnesota artists has been a cornerstone of the program since it began in 1981. The McKnight Artist Fellowships Program provides annual, unrestricted cash awards to outstanding mid-career Minnesota artists in 10 different creative disciplines. Program partner organizations administer the fellowships and structure them to respond to the unique challenges of different disciplines. Currently the foundation contributes about $1.7 million per year to its statewide fellowships. For more information, visit artistfellowships.

About the McKnight Foundation
The McKnight Foundation, a family foundation based in Minnesota, advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive. Program interests include regional economic and community development,  Minnesota’s arts and artists, education equity, youth engagement, Midwest climate and energy, Mississippi River water quality, neuroscience research, international crop research, and rural livelihoods. Founded in 1953 and independently endowed by William and Maude McKnight, the Foundation has assets of approximately $2.2 billion and grants about $90 million a year.