MN NICE Graduates

Galusha Gallery
Opening reception, Sunday, November 13, 12 – 4 pm

MN NICE Graduates features the work of eight emerging ceramic artists from the eighth graduating class of the Minnesota New Institute for Ceramic Education (MN NICE) program. Participating artists include: Mary Zeleny Arimond, Carla Arnevik, Lynda Buscis, Mary Garvie, Julian Gruber, Carol Patt, Martha Rehkamp, and Jo-Anne Reske Kirkman.

The 2021-22 cohort had an inspiring energy and easy camaraderie. Participants came to MN NICE with a wealth of art experience. In addition to three art educators, most participants came from ceramic-adjacent professions. This led to many thoughtful and spirited conversations. The group was particularly interested in exploring glaze and firing effects—from developing delicate micro-crystals in cone six glazes to subtle variation from atmospheric firings. This graduate exhibition showcases their distinct voices as they embark upon the next stage of their artistic journey.

Our exhibiting MN NICE emerging artists joined this program because a horizon line was taking shape for them, and they felt compelled to pursue a sharpened focus. They made an intense commitment to bring their work under a collective critical eye in the hopes of stepping toward a new future on terms they have defined through this program, with a new professional peer network, and a deeper understanding of the potential held by a daily life engaged in contemporary ceramics.

MN NICE is an advanced certificate program that provides rigorous, personalized instruction for artists who are serious about taking the next step in their ceramic education. The program is designed to respond to the changing needs of emerging makers and to give non-traditional students high-level training in ceramic materials, history and theory, and professional practice. Through instruction and individual mentorship, artists build the skills, knowledge, and insight necessary to create a personal and cohesive body of work.

MN NICE extends beyond the physical classroom to take advantage of the rich ceramic resources throughout the Twin Cities, including: artist lectures, gallery tours, and virtual studio visits with established ceramic artists. Under the leadership, guidance, and keen instruction of program head Ursula Hargens, MN NICE strives to prepare artists both artistically and professionally, whether they are seeking gallery representation, applying for graduate school, or selling work to the public.

About the Artists

Mary Zeleny Arimond is originally from Rochester, Minnesota and grew up near St. Cloud. She completed her undergraduate work in studio art and geology at the University of Minnesota, Morris and received a BS in art education from St. Cloud State University. In addition, she earned an MEd in instructional design and technology from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Zeleny Arimond recently retired from a career as a high school art teacher where she taught courses in visual arts and design technology. She enjoys spend time with family and friends, walking and biking around Minneapolis lakes, kayaking in the Mississippi River, cooking, and enjoying a fine cup of coffee. She volunteers as a master gardener for the University of Minnesota Extension and is active in music and the arts at her place of worship.

Carla Arnevik is a ceramicist and multimedia maker working in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Currently in the midst of exploring the integration of personal narrative in her wheel-thrown stoneware work through layered slip surfaces and historically referenced flasks, she dreams of one day opening a solar-powered studio in the heart of the Twin Cities. Arnevik graduated in 2020 from the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design (Fredericton) with a two year diploma in ceramics and earned a BFA in acting from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2014.

Lynda Buscis is a ceramic artist living in Minneapolis, Minnesota and works out of her studio at Northern Clay Center. She fell in love with clay in high school and reengaged with her passion thirty years later at the Tucson Museum of Art. Buscis makes functional pieces with a mid-range white porcelain. She creates her work using wheel-throwing and handbuilding techniques–or a combination of both–and alters her pieces after forming. Her work explores curves and graceful lines, creating a sense of mystery and whimsy. This interest is informed by her forty year career seeking elegant proportions and cohesive design lines, developing women’s clothing in the fashion industry. Her fashion work has been on the cover of Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily, and is on exhibition in the costume collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY). She has exhibited her ceramic work at Northern Clay Center, Edina Art Center, and Art-a-Whirl in Northeast Minneapolis.

Mary Garvie is originally from Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and grew up in Minnesota in the Twin Cities. She has pursued art through diverse mediums over many decades, studying architectural drafting, visual rhetoric, arts and activism, and experimental media. Garvie encountered pottery for the first time in high school and rediscovered clay some forty years later through wheel classes at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis. After six years of wheel classes, she enrolled in Northern Clay Center’s MN NICE program. She is primarily a potter, creating unique objects as an alternative to mass-produced vessels. The daughter of a brick mason, Garvie is inspired by the ancient stone facades and cobbled pavements she has encountered while visiting European cities.

Julian Gruber is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in St. Paul, Minnesota. Through making artwork that engages both sculptural and functional histories of clay he hopes to harness the material magic within ceramics to provide intriguing visual and tactile experiences. As a teaching artist and maker, Gruber aims to share the love of creating things which he views as an essential human activity. Gruber earned his BA in Philosophy of Creativity: Expression, Curation, and Aesthetics from St. Olaf College where he studied the creative arts through both an artist’s and scholar’s lens.

Jo-Anne Reske Kirkman works full time in her studio # 416, in the Casket Arts Building in Northeast Minneapolis. She is a juried member of the National Association of Women Artists, Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association, Ming Chiao Society, and Tandava Potters. She earned her MFA from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and BFA from St. Catherine’s University, with additional studies in Paris, France. She was also a Fulbright Scholar in Japan and a teaching fellow in Greece. During her career as an art educator, she was recognized as Minnesota Art Educator of the Year, and served as a representative of the National Association of Art Educators in delegations to Cuba and India. Her ceramic work, photographs, and paintings have been exhibited at venues including the New York Hall of Science (Queens), Minnesota Museum of American Art (St. Paul), Ordway Center for the Performing Arts (St. Paul, MN), Grand Central Library (New York, NY), Katherine E. Nash Gallery (Minneapolis, MN), St. Catherine’s University (St. Paul, MN), Duluth Art Institute (MN), Plains Art Museum (Fargo, MN), and the Monmouth Museum (Middletown, NJ). She is currently preparing for a solo exhibition of ceramic sculpture at the Phipps Gallery in Hudson, WI.

Carol Patt is a ceramic artist who works out of her home studio in Mahtomedi, Minnesota. She was raised in California, New York and Ohio. She received her BFA at the University of Minnesota in 1978, specializing in ceramics. After receiving her MSc in art education from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut in 1988, she taught art, including ceramics courses, at private and public schools for 30 years. Patt creates sculptural vessels and vases inspired by geology, landscapes and archaeological artifacts. She uses a myriad of ceramic processes, including gas and wood firing, raku firing, and majolica.

Marty Rehkamp is a ceramic artist living in Minneapolis, MN. She creates clay sculptures that marry her background in arts education, her passion for gardening, and her love of experimentation. She began working in clay in 2012 at Northern Clay Center and has continued her journey as part of the 2022 MN NICE cohort. Her decision to work in clay was preceded by a lifetime of working in and around the arts, earning a BFA from the College of St. Benedict (St. Joseph, MN) and a BS in art education from the University of Minnesota. Rehkamp looks at life through the lens of her garden, celebrating all stages and cycles of life. Her recent sculptures depict the beauty inherent in fading garden forms.

Virtual Tour