Winter 2022 Program Updates

Please welcome staff members who joined us in autumn of 2021:

  • Building Maintenance Technician, Iris Smith, began on 09.27.2021
  • Gallery Artist Liaison, Victor Sánchez, began on 10.14.21
  • Sales Gallery Manager, Rachel Nusbaum, began on 10.18.21
  • Sales Gallery Coordinator, Maria Hennen, began on 10.24.2021

In the near future, NCC will have two new lighting fixtures installed on the exterior of the facility to replace old and inconsistently functioning lights. While somewhat unanticipated, this will provide better lighting in both the main parking lot and back parking lot.

Studio Program
At the beginning of 2022, the Activity Measures Program will be reintroduced with a 9-month tracking timeline. The purpose of this program is to project the ability for each studio artist to adjust the individual categories and the aggregate total to their non-pandemic tracking timeline.

Artist Services
The 2021 Emerging Artist Residents moved in and have been quite busy in their studios. Jason Wang has been making forms similar to those from his application and working to create a new palette for surface treatments. Persis Wade has been focusing her efforts on a body of work that is a scaled down iteration of work from her final exhibition during undergrad. Joel Willson has been working to continue refining his forms while maintaining similar surface and firing techniques.

2021 BISQUE recipient, Zoe Kaplan, moved into their studio at the beginning of October and has continued to settle in to both the space and the community at NCC. Already taking advantage of the resources available from the community, and preparing to utilize those provided through their specific program, Kaplan is making strong headway to further explore and develop their work.

We are pleased to announce 2022 as the inaugural year of NCC’s BIPOC Residency Program. In an effort to promote both NCC, and more specifically the Artist Services programs, a small cohort of NCC staff will attend the resource table at the in-person NCECA event in Sacramento, CA during the month of March 2022.

Our latest safety policy, NCC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate, has been received by the student community in an overwhelmingly positive way, and our system for collecting proof of vaccination information or exemptions has worked effectively. Follow-ups have been necessary, but our communications were effective as all students arriving for classes were prepared for the new mandate.

The MN NICE 2021 – 2022 cohort is in full swing and has begun working in their studios as well as anticipating upcoming events such as a private soda-firing workshop with MN NICE alumna, Clarice Allgood.

Adam Chau led a free virtual event for youth, called “Love Your Self(ie)” which reflected on themes from his exhibition, MESSENGER: a 21st century love letter. During this one-hour workshop, Chau discussed self-portraiture through the ages and led a hands-on demonstration to create a selfie on a porcelain tile. Students left with a bit of history and a whole lot of ideas relating to how we present ourselves in digital spaces. We reached out to several partner organizations, including Kulture Klub, classrooms from school partnerships, and new organizations such as Juxtaposition Arts, as well as our students from our Teen Wheel program to invite youth from these communities to participate in the event.

This past November, NCC coordinated large school residencies with both Justice Page Middle School and Keewaydin Elementary. Over the 2021 – 2022 school year NCC will spend five hours with each class of 4th and 5th graders at Keewaydin Elementary. This fall, NCC is working with more than 500 middle schoolers at Justice Page, providing five hours of residency with every regular art class and materials support for the arts mural classes.

Bethune Arts Elementary has asked NCC to add more after-school classes in addition to those we already have scheduled, and will continue to work with teaching artist, Susan Obermeyer.

Adoptee Bridge, a mentorship group NCC has worked with since 2018, had a one-time workshop with teaching artist Abigail Cooper where mentors and mentees worked together on a clay project.

The free Holiday Open House Virtual Workshop had 37 people attend the class live on Zoom. Those who didn’t attend live were still able to participate via access to the class recording and complete their artwork.

NCC ran a residency with the full 9th grade class (140 students) at FAIR School in downtown Minneapolis. This residency occurred with visiting exhibitions artist Sharbani Das Gupta and local teaching artist Abigail Cooper. They focused on ecology and environmental impacts/changes that can be wrought by water and humankind. Students observed clay landscapes as water was added to the environments and recorded the process through a stop-motion program to create a time-lapse of the interaction.

We had two workshops with People’s Center Dentistry as a part of their Pediatrics Friday initiatives. Before or after their dentist’s appointment, kids were invited to create a unique project in clay with a teaching artist’s guidance.

Tours have begun again, though under slightly different, and highly structured circumstances. To allow larger groups into the building, NCC requires visitors to observe our education program vaccination protocols. Groups of no more than eight people at a time are moving throughout the building in a given space. The largest group we can accommodate at present is 24 people, in three groups of eight in various locations throughout the building.

NCC hosted Art Educator Weekend workshops with both virtual and in-person opportunities to learn and grow as an arts community. This was the sixth year of these dedicated workshops which have been supported by the Minnesota State Arts Board and Aroha Philanthropies.

Sales Gallery
For the holiday season, the gallery was open seven days a week from 10 am – 5 pm. Visitors were still limited to four at a time, masks were still required at all times, and contact tracing forms were no longer required, except for special events. We will continue to monitor case numbers in the community in hopes that we will not have to limit guests again or close completely.

Our annual Holiday Open House was a success! We had all timed-entry spots fill so we could welcome our safe limit of guests on that day. The MN NICE Graduates held a small ceremony in the space at the end of the event.

We photographed and added over 800 pots onto the website for holiday shopping for our virtual guests.

The sales gallery participated in The Ceramics Congress, a virtual international conference, with even more new pots online and 24-hour access to several staff members for questions throughout the event. Thank you to all who joined the event for valuable lectures and introductions to ceramic artists from around the world!

Several exhibitions were able to accommodate in-person visits by exhibiting artists for lectures and workshops, and all originally-scheduled lectures and panels took place as paid opportunities for the artists either virtually or in person. In addition, all exhibitions were documented through a virtual 3D tour experience and will remain available as entertainment or teaching tools on our website.

The Artist Advisory Committee met virtually to plan the exhibitions cycle for 2022 and 2023.

More artworks were included online for sale to our virtual guests, and sales increased to pre-pandemic levels.

We are reformatting the way that our secondary market sales are presented on the website to help buyers and donors understand what the program is, what it benefits, and how to participate.

We are adding content in artist bios, specifically teaching artists. We created new events calendars using Google Calendars to streamline adding important public dates.