MN NICE Graduates

Emily Galusha Gallery
Opening reception, Sunday, November 15, 12 – 4 pm. 

Minnesota New Institute for Ceramic Education (MN NICE) is NCC’s intensive certificate program, launched in fall 2014. The curriculum gives students an overview of ceramic history, provides advanced technical and materials training, and encourages awareness and debate around larger questions in the field of ceramics. The program also focuses on critical dialogue to help students build a body of work reflecting their own ideas as makers.

Over the 2019 – 2020 cohort year, these individuals have taken a focused journey to define and refine their voice in clay. Through persistent making, critical analysis, investigations into ceramic history and chemistry, and the guidance of mentors and support of peers, their evolved work has taken shape and stands with presence. Collectively, the work exemplifies their determination and risk-taking as well as their passion for materials and processes. This graduate exhibition celebrates their accomplishments as they step into the next stage of their artistic journey, ready to strengthen and shape the future of contemporary ceramics. 

About the Artists

Liane Bromer is a multimedia artist living and working in Minneapolis, MN who creates wearable art, combining porcelain, precious metals, and gemstones. Her work utilizes the nerikomi technique of cutting and layering colored clay, which she began to explore as a student in the Minnesota New Institute for Ceramic Education Program. An avid knitter, rockhound, and healthcare professional, Liane draws inspiration from natural and designed patterns such as agate formation, histologic images, and Fair Isle sweater patterns. 

Paola Evangelista is a sculptural ceramist, often finding occasional time to dedicate to creating functional ware. Her visual language is composed of sensual and reactive forms with textured surfaces that scream to be touched and sometimes worn. Paola graduated from Central Connecticut State University in 2012 with a BA in art and has continued to stay curious and informed through various ceramic related workshops. 

Billy Hicks is a ceramic artist who grew up in rural Iowa and now lives and works in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He primarily works with mid-fired stoneware clay. He uses a combination of wheel thrown, altered and handbuilding techniques. Billy’s quiet, soft surfaces draw you in with surprises of color and pattern on insides and underneath. 

Rylie Lawrence is an artist born and raised in Des Moines, IA, who now lives and makes art in the Twin Cities. She is currently focusing on integrating ceramics with other media, utilizing printmaking methods on ceramic surfaces, integrating fibers, and employing mosaic and stained glass techniques. By working across media, she endeavors to bring the mundane into focus and highlight the beauty and complexity that exists within the familiar. Lawrence holds a BFA in printmaking with a minor in art history from the University of Northern Iowa.

Joy Newmann is a studio potter living in Madison, Wisconsin. She began making pottery after retiring from the University of Wisconsin in 2004. Her work is wheel-thrown and altered to create functional forms shaped by a decade of classes and workshops with artists schooled in Asian traditions. Her recent work includes an eight-place dinner setting made of stoneware, glazed with Shinos, and fired at high temperatures in a gas reduction environment. 

Chris Salas is a queer, non-binary, xicanx ceramics artist and educator who currently lives and works in Lansing, Michigan. Having many marginal identities draws them to look closely at the undesirable and the discarded and to investigate their relationship to the desired and the mainstream. Chris makes sculptural forms and vessels that question traditional functionality and conventional ideas of beauty through process-oriented work that focuses on texture, tactility, and imperfection. 

Brenton Titcomb is a functional potter currently living in Princeton, MN. Brenton grew up in Central Florida and found ceramics after moving to Minnesota in 2014. Working primarily in atmospheric soda-fired work, he enrolled in the MN NICE Program to further his knowledge of firing processes and develop his voice as an artist. Brenton’s love of nature and aviation influence his layered surfaces, and he draws on everything from aerial scenes, to landscapes, to the textures and colors of vintage doors and windows.