Emerging Artist Grant Recipients

JANUARY 14 – FEBRUARY 19, 2023
Main Gallery
Artist talks: Friday, January 13, 4 pm (virtual)

Join us in celebrating the achievements of our 2021-22 Emerging Artist Grant Recipients. Northern Clay Center administers several grant programs designed to support artists in the early stages of their careers through residencies, grants, and education. This exhibition features the work of Z Kaplan, Andrew Rivera, Persis Wade, Jason Wang, and Joel Willson.

Emerging Artist Residencies
Northern Clay Center’s Emerging Artist Residency programs—the Anonymous Artist Studio Fellowship and the Fogelberg Studio Fellowship, and the BISQUE Residency Award—are designed to provide emerging ceramic artists an opportunity to be in residence for one year at NCC. Between September 1, 2021 and July 31, 2022 the residents had the opportunity to develop their work while exchanging ideas and knowledge with a dynamic network of ceramic artists. Among national clay art centers, NCC offers an urban experience within a diverse and supportive community.

BISQUE Residency Award
BISQUE stands for Believe, Include, Sustain, Question, Understand, and Evolve. BISQUE is also a metaphor for makers in the early stages of development. NCC is proud to announce the second recipient of this experimental residency program, which is inspired by our desire to cultivate new voices in the field. As a community-based ceramic art center, we are in a unique position to have access to pre-emergent talent and the BISQUE Residency will offer time, space, and professional development resources, plus participation in a group exhibition in January and February 2023. The future of this program will be dependent upon funding.

Pottery Museum of Red Wing Award
The Pottery Museum of Red Wing Award is presented to one maker in the local ceramics community as selected through a nominative process. Supporting their development and highlighting their achievements, this award aims to elevate the recognition of each recipient within the ceramics community.

The Pottery Museum of Red Wing Award is made possible by the Red Wing Collectors Society Foundation, and is presented by Northern Clay Center to a deserving individual pursuing a career in pottery, or studying or researching the historical aspects of the pottery industry. The Foundation endeavors to broaden appreciation of pottery—past and present—or the general public and maintains the Red Wing Pottery Museum in Red Wing, Minnesota. Northern Clay Center has awarded this grant on behalf of the Foundation since 2004.

About the Artists

Z Kaplan, BISQUE Residency Award
Z Kaplan is a queer, Jewish, gender-liberated ceramic artist from Chicago. Working with clay began as a childhood pastime, taking neighborhood park-district classes, but has since transformed into a means of expression and community, a mode of accessibility, and reparations. Since becoming Northern Clay Center’s BISQUE Resident, they have been using their resources to explore a new relationship with clay and the firing process to form creations that are kinetic and dynamic. Kaplan incorporates their values of doikayt—or “hereness”—to invoke pieces that connect to Kaplan’s roots, and others, in ways that explore desires for grounding in a reality that is deeply diasporic. They believe ceramics should serve as a spark of play in the mundane, allowing the piece to shine and mold to its surroundings.

Andrew Rivera, Pottery Museum of Red Wing Award
Andrew Rivera received his BFA in ceramics and sculpture from the University of Minnesota Duluth and completed the Minnesota New Institute for Ceramic Education (MN NICE) program at Northern Clay Center (Minneapolis, Minnesota). Most recently, he completed a long-term residency at the Clay Studio of Missoula, Montana. He is currently a studio potter at Clay Coyote in Hutchinson, MN. Inspired by function, history, design, and culture, his wares reflect on personal identity and his Mexican heritage. Rivera currently resides in Hutchinson.

Persis Wade, Anonymous Artist Studio Fellowship
Persis Wade received her BFA from Indiana University Bloomington in 2021. When working through each series of work, Wade is motivated by the process rather than the product. Her handbuilt sculptures are created in a repetitive and meditative state—utilizing myriad processes at each stage of every piece. Encouraged by spontaneity and impulse, Wade’s decisions are driven by a tactile energy. She is attracted to finger-pinching textures and the immense and intense world of glaze characteristics and color variations. Recently, Wade completed a large-scale installation for her thesis show The Potter’s Field, composed of eleven large tombstones. In contemplation of morality, she created a vibrant polychromatic cemetery to honor the dead and give reverence to life.

Jason Wang, Anonymous Artist Studio Fellowship
Jason Wang is a ceramic artist currently living in Athens, OH and holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute. He intends his vessels and sculptures to invoke a strong emotional response in order to further the dialogue about identity, mental health, and mindfulness in contemporary America. He was awarded a scholarship to partake in a workshop at Anderson Ranch Art Center in Snowmass Village, CO and has exhibited in group exhibitions at Leedy-Voulkos Art Center in Kansas City, MO.

Joel Willson, Fogelberg Studio Fellowship
Joel Willson grew up in Pakistan and Germany, moved to Minnesota in 2008, and discovered clay during his freshman year of college. Since earning a BA in Studio Art in 2014, Willson has completed apprenticeships with S.C. Rolf (River Falls, WI) and Michael Kline (Bakersville, NC), and has taught classes and worked as a studio technician at the Dahl Arts Center (Rapid City, SD) and Northern Clay Center (Minneapolis, MN). His work has been exhibited nationally in such venues as Charlie Cummings Gallery (Gainesville, FL), Companion Gallery (Humboldt, TN), Saltstone Ceramics (Seattle, WA) and Baltimore Clayworks (Baltimore, MD).

Related Events

Emerging Artist Presentations
Friday, January 13, 4 pm, FREE

Join us for a marathon of presentations by these eight emerging artists. A detailed schedule of talks will be available nearer to the date.


Tour of Emerging Artists Grant Recipients and Hands-on Workshop
Monday January 30, 3 – 5 pm, FREE

Join an NCC docent for a guided tour of Emerging Artist Grant Recipients, featuring sculpture and pottery from emerging artists who were in residence at NCC in 2021 – 2022. Following the guided tour, enjoy a free handbuilding workshop to create your own ceramic creation under the guidance of a current emerging artist in residence.
Limit 12 participants.

Virtual Tour