NCC’s new health care plan went into effect for staff members who elected to participate. NCC has not had a group health care offering in recent memory. We hope the plan will provide employees with meaningful benefits, and that it helps NCC remain competitive in the employment market.
Annual audit preparations and onsite field work by the auditors went smoothly. Two auditors were onsite for three days to complete the work necessary for the thorough review of NCC’s FY21 fiscal activity and documentation.
The newly-installed security system has been functioning well for both intrusion and access control purposes.
Staff will be leading a spring cleanup day to tidy the interior and exterior of our building and the grounds surrounding it.
The first professional development opportunity of the year for studio artists was hosted in a hybrid format by McKnight Resident Artist Lynne Hobaica. This event provided both individual critique and community building.
The Blaauw kiln was temporarily out of service due to damage caused during a studio artist-led firing. To help prevent this situation in the future, we will be adding guidance to the door of the kiln.
Applications for the Emerging Artist Residencies (Fogelberg, Anonymous Artist, and new-this-year BIPOC Studio Fellowships) and the Warren Mackenzie Advancement Award closed on March 28. NCC will award six to seven awards to emerging artists this season.
The MN NICE priority application deadline was moved to April 1 to align with the application period for residency programs. The final deadline will remain June 1 for a September start.
The MN NICE 2021-2022 cohort has started their second block. Some upcoming experiences for this group include field trips to Linda Christianson’s studio, and to the Weisman Museum; and further investigation into materials with Joel Froehle.
Kip O’Krongly joined us in the studios for a full-day workshop sharing her techniques while simultaneously streaming live online to 13 attendees all over the nation. O’Krongly demonstrated her stencil resist, latex resist, and underglaze techniques.
For the spring term, 15 students received half-tuition financial aid or full-tuition BIPOC scholarships for adult education. To promote the continued involvement of scholarship recipients, we have begun a Studio Monitor Mentorship Program, which allows current or past Education Access Scholarship recipients to train and become studio monitors, serve as a resource in the community, and continue their clay journey by taking classes at a discounted rate.
Summer Clay Camps are on the horizon and we are looking forward to bustling studios with a total of 372 registrations thus far in 43 unique camps that will be filled with lots of fun, creativity and learning. We have granted a total of eight, 50% scholarships for youth participating in summer camps thus far.
We welcomed Metropolitan State University back to NCC for a 12-week introduction to ceramics, taught by Ursula Hargens.
We received feedback that our classes fill up so quickly that it creates a barrier to access for those who have limited internet access or who cannot take time on a weekday morning to register. To help lessen this frustration, broaden access to our classes, and include new students in the community, we opened registration several days early to those on the waitlist who were not able to get into a class. We plan to continue with this initiative in an effort to increase accessibility with our class registrations.
School residencies scheduled in the spring include: Braham Area Elementary School (Braham); new partner school Friendly Hills Middle School (Mendota Heights); and a ceramics support residency with Patrick Henry High School (Minneapolis). Our school residency with 4th and 5th graders at Keewaydin Elementary School (Minneapolis) began in January and will be completed in May.
In addition, NCC is providing after-school arts learning classes for youth at eight locations weekly, including at Bethune Community School (Minneapolis) and Richard R. Green Central Park Elementary School (Minneapolis). NCC has also been working with People Serving People (Minneapolis), supported by a DiscoveryArts Grant through E. A. Michelson Philanthropies, to deliver after-school programming.
Long-time partner, Ebenezer Senior Living, was awarded grant funding to enable programming with 11 of their communities. As in past years, NCC worked with Ebenezer Ridges (Burnsville) to support their annual Empty Bowls fundraiser. NCC collected bowls made and donated by Chili Bowl Workshop participants to the event.
This winter and spring we also brought ceramic programming to senior groups at Aurora on France Senior Living (Edina), Central Towers (St. Paul), Cerenity Senior Care (St. Paul), Ebenezer Loren on Park (Minneapolis), Ebenezer Martin Luther (Bloomington), Ebenezer Ridges (Burnsville), Founders Ridge (Bloomington), Lyngblomsten Senior Living (St. Paul), Mount Olivet Adult Day Services (Minneapolis), Open Circle Adult Day (multiple locations), and Partnership Resources, Inc (St. Louis Park).
The gallery is 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.
Our NCECA hybrid event was a great success! Thanks go to the artists, NCC staff helping with photo-editing, and everyone who attended lectures and purchased work! Our staff photographed, edited and uploaded nearly 600 pieces of work to our website for the event, including work by each of our Emerging Artist Grant Recipients.
The gallery is currently working on several new initiatives to increase accessibility and equity in the space. We are designing a set of guiding principles to evaluate cultural appropriation with works in the gallery. We are also working with the artists represented in the gallery to share artist bios that place value on diversity in all of its forms as well as myriad paths to a career in clay such as apprenticeships, community education, and self-instruction. In addition, we are evaluating names and titles of works to ensure we use language that is clear, simple, and welcoming. We value the input of others and will be formally asking our community for thoughts and ideas to incorporate into any new guidelines so they are truly representative of a full range of perspectives. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be a part of this process!
The gallery internship positions (American Pottery Festival and Galleries Intern) were revived, and a simple application is available on our website.
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. More artworks were included online for sale to our virtual guests, and sales continue to grow to pre-pandemic levels.
Marisa Finos visited NCC in conjunction with the exhibition, Memento Mori, to build a site-specific, large scale sculpture. This site-specific piece, with a performative element, was presented during a small, private event on the first evening of the exhibition. This gathering provided an opportunity for members of our community, and students from Bethel University, to connect with Finos and take part in a guided tour of Memento Mori led by exhibition curator, Heather Nameth Bren.
The Traveling McKnight Exhibition went to Gustavus Adolphus College and Bemidji State University.
The Artist Advisory Committee met virtually to consider exhibition proposals and plan the exhibitions cycle for 2024 and 2025.