ClayToGo Checking in to 2022

The fall of 2021 brought about a marked return of NCC’s outreach programming in the community! We were not quite back to full force, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect the reality of when, where, and how we engaged with clay learners. Some school and other partnership settings were back to a version of normal, with plenty of extra safety precautions including masks and social distancing.

Students from FAIR School working in their courtyard with a teacher.

In senior living and other congregate living situations, smaller groups gathered for classes with occasional interruptions to the schedule if a building needed to quarantine due to a positive test. A majority of these partnerships have been able to resume at this point. There are still some adult day settings that do not have programming back to normal, or for whom the pandemic forced a more permanent closure. However, we are excited to begin our 2022 year working with partners like Lyngblomsten in St. Paul, Opportunity Partners in Minnetonka, multiple Ebenezer locations in Minneapolis and Burnsville, and Mount Olivet Adult Day in Minneapolis!

School programming is going swimmingly! In the fall of 2021, we were able to work with after-school arts enrichment programming and with three schools for in-class residencies. Read about two of these experiences below.

FAIR School for the Arts
In October of 2021, Sharbani Das Gupta, exhibiting artist in Passages From India, and NCC teaching artist Abigail Cooper, worked with every 9th grader at the Downtown Minneapolis FAIR school campus alongside classroom science teachers. Students worked in groups to create clay environments documenting a rapid water event. Groups utilized iPads and stop-motion animation to create short videos of the environmental changes they observed. This clay experience was designed by Das Gupta and brought about questions and conversations about humanity’s impact on ecology, environmental change, sea level rise, and the scientific inquiry process.

“We had such a wonderful experience. We loved working with Sharbani”

–Emily Heuschele, Arts TOSA

Justice Page Middle School
We returned to Justice Page Middle School in Minneapolis for a fall residency with almost every student taking part! This year we created combination clay creatures, with magical spider cats, penguin pigs, uni-frogs, duck sheep, and many other mysterious creatures wearing hats and turtlenecks. The joy of being hands-on again after a year of virtual art classes was evident. Teaching artists Susan Obermeyer and Elizabeth Coleman have enjoyed working with art educators Steven Schmidt and Elissa Cedarleaf Dahl at Justice Page since 2018.

“My daughter had a great experience”

–Sarah O’Malia, parent of participating Justice Page student.

“I love teaching the NCC residency at Justice Page Middle School. The art teachers are great about encouraging and challenging the students to use their imaginations. The project is as much about thinking and problem solving as it is about learning fine-motor skills and craft execution.”

–Elizabeth Coleman, NCC teaching artist

Through positive experiences with high-quality arts programming, students are offered a deeper understanding of materials and handmade objects. NCC’s ClayToGo program brings a specialized, hands-on clay experience to every school and organization with which we partner. We love to create unique experiences with our partner organizations and relish the opportunity to work cross-curriculum with STEM subjects as well.

If you work with a school or other organization that is interested in having a clay experience, touring NCC’s facilities, or seeing a clay demonstration, please contact Alison Beech, Community Engagement Manager, at 612.339.8007 x313 or