Current Artist Grant Recipients

Jerome Ceramic Artist Project Grant

Northern Clay Center is pleased to announce the names of three Minnesota artists who each received 2016 Jerome Ceramic Artist Project Grants. $6,000 was awarded to each of the following artists:

  • Bianka Groves, Minneapolis
  • Brady McLearen, Minneapolis
  • Elizabeth Pechacek, Minneapolis

This grant program, sponsored by the Jerome Foundation, Saint Paul, MN, reflects the Foundation’s mission in seeking to contribute to a dynamic and evolving culture by supporting the creation, development, and production of new works by emerging artists. 2016 marks the 26th year of support for this program from the Jerome Foundation. Work by each artist will be featured in an exhibition at Northern Clay Center in January 2017, which will also later tour to two sites around Minnesota.

Kelly Connole, sculptor and assistant professor of art at Carleton College; visiting artist Molly Hatch, artist, designer, and author of New Ceramic Surface Design (2015); and visiting artist Tim Rowan, whose wood-fired work was included in the exhibition Influenced and Evolved at NCC. We wish to thank each of them for a day of thoughtful deliberations. Their valuable feedback is available to the grant recipients and applicants as a form of professional development.

Bianka Groves will travel to Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Germany to research the northern European influences on the aesthetic choices of her pottery. She will specifically look at the work of Gertrude Vasegaard, Lucie Rie, Mies van der Rohe, the Bauhaus school, and the collections of the Grimmerhus Museum, before making work in her studio reflecting this experience.

Brady McLearen will fulfill an invitation to the Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center in Skaelskor, Denmark, for a six-week residency. He will pursue this experience to gain valuable insight and relationships outside of his Minnesota training, and to use the impressive variety of equipment available in the residency studio. In addition, he will purchase equipment for his own studio.

Elizabeth Pechacek will expand her practice beyond functional pottery to include work that combines ceramics and metal. Drawing upon her background as a potter and ironworker, she will create a new series of work that expands on the graphic motifs of her pottery, using metal to mirror a clay form and embellish the surface.

Future grant rounds will depend on continued Jerome Foundation funding. Information about future grants should be available from Northern Clay Center by Fall 2016. 

2016 marks the 26th year of the Ceramic Artists Project Grant program, funded by the Jerome Foundation. The program supports emerging professional artists who are the principal creators of new work and:

  • who take risks and embrace challenges;
  • whose developing voices reveal significant potential;
  • who are rigorous in their approach to creation and production;
  • who have some evidence of professional achievement, but not a substantial record of accomplishment; and
  • who are not recognized as established artists by other artists.

NCC’s 2016 Jerome Ceramic Artist Project Grant program deadline was Friday, February 19, 2016, by 5 pm.

McKnight Artist Fellowship for Ceramic Artists

The 2016 McKnight Artist Fellowships have been awarded to Nicolas Darcourt (Minnetonka) and Sheryl McRoberts (Minneapolis). Each McKnight Artist Fellow will receive a $25,000 cash stipend, and will be featured in an exhibition in July of 2017. Stay tuned for a free demonstration and lecture by the artists in January of 2017. ​

Three individuals comprised the 2016 selection panel: 

  • Linda Arbuckle, studio potter and former professor at the University of Florida
  • Garth Clark, writer, gallerist, and Editor-in-Chief of CFile
  • Catherine Futter, Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The McKnight awards are designed to recognize ceramic artists whose work demonstrates exceptional artistic merit, who have already proven their abilities, and are at a career stage that is beyond emerging, i.e. “mid-career.” Both the fellowship and the residency awards strengthen Minnesota’s artistic community by supporting artists and by promoting the exchange of ideas and knowledge in our communities. They are funded by The McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The deadline for the 2017 McKnight Artist Fellowships and Residencies for Ceramic Artists will be published on our website in autumn of 2016.

McKnight Artist Residency for Ceramic Artists

Two awards were made for the 2016 McKnight Artist Residencies, for artists to be in residence in 2017 or 2018. We will be excited to welcome Kosmas Ballis (Ft. Meyers, FL) and Anthony Stellaccio (Crownsville, MD). An additional artist will be invited through a nominative process, and, Forrest Lesch-Middelton will join us in the summer of 2016; he was a 2014 awardee. The McKnight Artist Residents will join us in NCC’s studio for a three-month period, as well as present a free lecture to the public during their time here. Residencies are awarded only to artists from outside of Minnesota. 

Three individuals comprised the 2016 selection panel: 

  • Linda Arbuckle, studio potter and former professor at the University of Florida
  • Garth Clark, writer, gallerist, and Editor-in-Chief of CFile
  • Catherine Futter, Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The McKnight awards are designed to recognize ceramic artists whose work demonstrates exceptional artistic merit, who have already proven their abilities, and are at a career stage that is beyond emerging, i.e. “mid-career.” Both the fellowship and the residency awards strengthen Minnesota’s artistic community by supporting artists and by promoting the exchange of ideas and knowledge in our communities. They are funded by The McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The deadline for the 2017 McKnight Artist Fellowships and Residencies for Ceramic Artists will be published on our website in autumn of 2016.

Emerging Artist Residency Awards

The Emerging Artist Residency (EAR) awards provide a furnished studio space for one year, plus a materials/firing stipend, a group exhibition in January and February 2018, employment opportunities, features in our Sales Gallery, and other benefits. The 2016 Anonymous Artist Studio Fellowships were awarded to Lily Fein (Syracuse, NY) and Valerie Ling (Valley Stream, NY). Under the Fogelberg Studio Fellowship program, we will welcome Gillan Doty (Portland, ME) and Gregory Palombo (Alfred, NY). We are grateful to a variety of institutional and individual donors, including secondary market sales through NCC’s sales gallery, for their support of these programs.

Ellie Bryan (Minneapolis, MN) will join our studio as the first recipient of the Jerome Ceramic Artist of Color Residency program, funded by the Jerome Foundation. In addition to her studio and honorarium, Bryan will also accompany NCC to the NCECA Conference in Portland, OR, in March of 2017.

These resident artists are always an exciting addition to our community, as they develop their own work, and exchange ideas and knowledge with other artists, often across generations, materials, backgrounds, and approaches. All artists will begin their residencies on September 1, 2016.

This year's selection panels consisted of: 

EAR Awards:

  • Todd Shanafelt, sculptor and Assistant Professor of Art at Minnesota State University–Mankato
  • Linda Sikora, potter, professor, and division head at New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University

Jerome Ceramic Artist of Color Residency:

  • Lung-Chieh Lin, sculptor living and working in Taiwan, and NCC Spring McKnight Resident Artist
  • Kate Maury, potter and professor at the University of Wisconsin–Stout
  • Paul Wandless, ceramic sculptor, printmaker, and writer from Chicago, where he also teaches at Harold Washington College
Red Wing Collectors Society Foundation Awardee

David Swenson (Minneapolis, MN) is the 2016 recipient of the Red Wing Collectors Society Foundation Award. Swenson received a BFA from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and was a ceramic intern with David Fredrickson in 2008. He relocated to the Twin Cities when he received a 2009 Fogelberg Studio Fellowship at Northern Clay Center, and elected to stay on in the area, where he continues to be a teaching artist and gallery artist, both through NCC. Swenson is also a 2014 recipient of a Jerome Ceramic Artist Project Grant. Swenson makes pottery constructed from thrown, handbuilt, slipcast, and press-molded parts.  His work is meant for daily use, special occasion, and divine decoration. 

This 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, for the general public and maintains the Red Wing Pottery Museum in Red Wing, Minnesota.  This is the eighth year in which the Clay Center has awarded the grant.

Warren MacKenzie Advancement Award

Launched in 2014, the Warren MacKenzie Advancement Award honors the educational legacy of Warren MacKenzie. Recipients of the award can research a new technique or process, study with a mentor or in an apprenticeship setting, visit other ceramic art centers or institutions for classes and workshops, collaborate with artists of other media, and travel. The grant period is 12 consecutive months from June 2016 to May 2017. Two awards were made in 2016:

Patrick Kingshill (Lincoln, NE) will work with Takeshi Yasuda in Jingdezhen, China. He is currently enrolled in the MFA program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Candice Methe (Santa Fe, NM) will work through Sirigu Woman’s Organization for Pottery and Art in the village of Sirigu, Ghana, where she will take classes on traditional arts and learn about their clays, pigments, and firing methods. She is a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota. 

This program is made possible through the generous support of many individual and institutional donors. Watch NCC’s blog (northernclaycenter.blogspot.com) for updates from each of the WMAA recipients throughout the year. If you are interested in supporting this award, please contact us at nccinfo@northernclaycenter.org.

This year's selection panel consisted of: 

  • Mary Barringer, potter, writer, and Editor Emerita of Studio Potter magazine
  • Joan Bruneau, potter and instructor at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and visiting artist in conjunction with NCC’s exhibition Florilegium
  • Mark Shapiro, potter, curator, and apprenticeship leader 

The deadline to apply for the 2017 Warren MacKenzie Advancement Award will be announced in late fall of 2016.