ClayToGo Residency Spotlight

In May and June of this year, four Northern Clay Center teaching artists led unique clay residencies with schools across the metro. NCC was excited to fill the last few weeks of the school year with new partnership opportunities, each of which kept our facility buzzing with students and our teachers zipping around the Twin Cities.  Within four short weeks, NCC teaching artists reached 400 students from first through twelfth grades.

Teaching artist David Swenson led over 90 students in sixth through eighth grades at Franklin Middle School in just three short days. Each student was inspired by Native American and Pre-Columbian ceramics and later created his/her own distinct work of clay art. This program marked the third consecutive semester in which NCC had a clay presence at Franklin Middle School, whose continuous call for ceramics as a part of their art offerings attests to the impact the tangible medium of clay can have on young makers.

Two schools reached out to NCC very close to the academic year’s end with a desire to provide interim clay classes prior to summer vacation. In both cases, students were interested in and requested the opportunity to study ceramics, the facilities for which neither school possessed. Susan Obermeyer led 14 students from Hiawatha Collegiate High School in a 9-day clay journey, all of which took place in NCC’s teaching studios. The students learned to throw on the potter’s wheel during the first week and practiced handbuilding techniques during the second, all the while being surrounded by the talents of NCC’s in-house teaching artists, as well as the myriad examples of ceramic art in our sales and exhibition galleries.

The Academy for Science and Agriculture’s interim clay course was an expansion on and renewal of programming with this long-term partner. During AFSA’s recent course, David Swenson was able to provide 12 hours of clay instruction to 16, sixth through twelfth grade students, who were inspired to build larger sculptural pieces under the tutelage of a working artist.

The last three weeks of the academic year brought clay classes to Jefferson Community School.  Teaching artists Chris Singewald, Elizabeth Coleman, and David Swenson worked with over 280 students at Jefferson. Every first through fourth grader at Jefferson was able to create and decorate a unique work of clay art using handbuilding techniques and engobes.

NCC’s ClayToGo program brings a specialized, hands-on clay experience to every school and organization with which we partner.  As the featured partnerships above attest, our programs can fit into nearly any space, any schedule, and any budget! If you have a school or organization that is interested in a clay session, a tour of NCC’s facilities, or a clay demonstration, please contact Alison Beech, Education and Outreach Coordinator, at 612.339.8007 x313 or alisonbeech@northernclaycenter.org.

Spring 2015: Highland Park Elementary

In Spring of 2015, ClayToGo continued NCC’s 10th year of partnership with Highland Park Elementary School in St. Paul. Teaching artist Angie Renee will lead programming with kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms, bringing a hands-on clay experience to over 400 students.

The programming utilizes age-appropriate handbuilding techniques at Highland Park. The fourth grade classes, however, will travel to NCC for a pottery wheel workshop.

In each year of our partnership, students gain confidence and skills, and explore new construction techniques. Angie works directly with classroom teachers to design programs that connect to classroom curriculum.

Between the planning process and the residency, she has made strong connections to the school that result in meaningful experiences that build on the excitement and learning from the previous years

Fall 2015: John Marshall High School

Every Spring and Fall, NCC hosts workshops for students from Rochester, Minnesota. Between 40 and 50 ceramic students from John Marshall High School spend a half-day at NCC participating in potter’s wheel and handbuilding workshops. Three or four of NCC’s fabulous teaching artists lead the instruction with demonstrations and work time. Projects remain at NCC for bisque firing and students have the opportunity to glaze fire their work back in their ceramic studio at the high school.

2015 marks the 14th year of partnership between NCC and John Marshall High School. Lane Connolly, department chair and ceramics instructor, shares that students look forward to the opportunity at Northern Clay Center and “the experience brings student’s skills to the next level, getting a new perspective and learning new approaches.” When asked why it was important for the students to travel to NCC, students quickly chimed in.

“We learn new things at NCC that we can practice when back at school. We are furthering our education.”—Michael

“It’s a whole day of exposure to new ideas and techniques. It’s a time to go for it! It’s fun to collaborate with other people.”—Nicole

“You can break away from making what you normally make in class. Here we focused on surface texture. It’s a great way to get out of your comfort zone in clay.”—Jon

If you are interested in visiting NCC with your students, or setting up a similar specialized workshop at your school or organization, NCC has multiple formats for one-time workshops or multi-week school residencies. For additional details, please contact NCC outreach manager, Chris Singewald, via email at chrissingewald@northernclaycenter.org or by phone at 612.339.8007 x313.

Summer 2015: Epic Enterprise, Inc.

Epic Enterprise, Inc.

This summer through fall, Northern Clay Center’s ClayToGo program will bring multiple hands-on clay experiences to Epic Enterprise, Inc., a non-profit in Dundas, Minnesota, that provides support to individuals with disabilities, as they pursue opportunities to participate in the broader community. Epic offers a variety of programs throughout the year to create a supportive environment where opportunities, relationships, and community can thrive.

Teaching artist Angie Renee instructed classes at this site during the summer of 2014, and NCC is excited to expand the 2015 program through the summer and into fall. During weekly sessions, Renee will work with small groups of participants to develop construction and decorating techniques, emphasizing texture and surface.

Our ClayToGo program brings a specialized, hands-on clay experience to every school and organization with which we partner. If you have a school or organization that is interested in a clay session, a tour of NCC’s facilities, or a clay demonstration, please contact Chris Singewald, Outreach Manager, at 612.339.8007 x313 or chrissingewald@northernclaycenter.org.

Spring 2016: Lincoln Center Elementary

Lincoln Center Elementary

In April, Northern Clay Center’s ClayToGo program will partner with Lincoln Center Elementary School in South Saint Paul. Two NCC teaching artists will work closely with elementary art educators, Elizabeth Roszak and Sheryl St. John, to bring clay to participants in first and fifth grades. At the completion of the residency, 300 students in 13 classrooms will have had multiple days of clay instruction, allowing them to learn about the entire ceramics process, while making and decorating unique works of clay art.

Class instruction will occur at Lincoln Center Elementary, and content will utilize age-appropriate, handbuilding techniques. Class structure will include demonstrations of construction techniques and decoration, general discussion about the firing process, and individual work time for participants. Students will develop confidence while creating three-dimensional objects, gain understanding of new materials, and have a positive, meaningful experience through a high-quality arts program.

NCC’s ClayToGo program brings a specialized, hands-on clay experience to every school and organization with which we partner. If you have a school or organization that is interested in working with clay, touring NCC’s facilities, or seeing a clay demonstration, please contact Chris Singewald, Outreach Manager, at 612.339.8007 x313 or chrissingewald@northernclaycenter.org.

Fall 2016: Garden City Elementary

<p><strong><em><img alt="" src="/sites/northernclaycenter.org/files/claytogo.jpg" style="float:left; height:250px; margin:5px; width:250px" /></em></strong></p>

<p>This fall, Northern Clay Center’s <em>ClayToGo</em> program will lead a school-wide clay residency at Garden City Elementary School in Brooklyn Center, MN. The residency will reach 300 students in 16 classrooms, ranging from kindergarten to fifth-grade participants.</p>

<p>Classroom teachers will have a training session prior to the residency and NCC teaching artist Susan Obermeyer will lead clay class instruction with assistance from classroom teachers and volunteers. Students will experience handbuilding demonstrations, learn about the firing process, and have time to work on one individual project, based on the demonstrated techniques.</p>

<p>Our <em>ClayToGo</em> program brings a specialized, hands-on clay experience to every school and organization with which we partner. If you have a school or organization that is interested in a clay session, a tour of NCC’s facilities, or a clay demonstration, please contact Chris Singewald, Outreach Manager, at 612.339.8007 x313 or chrissingewald@northernclaycenter.org.</p>

WInter 2017: ClayToGo Subaru Partnership with the Columbia Heights School District

This winter, Northern Clay Center’s ClayToGo program will bring after-school clay programming to North Park Elementary School and Valley View Elementary School in Columbia Heights. Clay sessions will be part of the Targeted Services after-school programming. Participants, from 3rd – 5th grade classrooms, will learn to create and decorate different types of clay projects during the eleven-session partnerships.

Director of Community Education for Columbia Heights School District, and long-time NCC student, Kristen Stuenkel, and NCC staff have worked together for many years under this after-school program. This particular year of partnership is partially subsidized by Subaru of America. Subaru believes in the value of education and supports organizations dedicated to making learning as accessible as possible. Without Subaru’s generous support for clay programs at both elementary schools, Targeted Services would not have been able to collaborate with NCC in 2017.

Northern Clay Center’s ClayToGo program brings a specialized, hands-on clay experience to every school and organization with which we partner. If you represent an organization that is interested in working with clay, having a tour of NCC’s facilities, or seeing a ceramic artist’s demonstration, please contact Chris Singewald, Outreach Manager, at 612.339.8007 x313 or chrissingewald@northernclaycenter.org.

Summer 2017: ClayToGo Subaru Partnership with the Columbia Heights School District

This winter, Northern Clay Center’s ClayToGo program will bring the delights of clay to students at Royal Oaks Elementary in Woodbury, MN. Clay sessions will be part of the students’ regular weekly art classes, and will be taught by NCC teaching artist David Swenson. Second, third, fourth, and fifth grade classrooms will participate and will learn to create and decorate various types of clay projects during the two-week partnership.

Art Specialist Jill Brown, David Swenson, and NCC staff will devise appropriate projects for each classroom. This partnership is unique because Royal Oaks is equipped with kilns at their site, so the school will be responsible for firing their own projects. In most outreach partnerships, NCC transports the in-progress projects back to our building to be fired, glazed, and re-fired. We are excited to bring the hands-on making aspect of ClayToGo program to our new friends in Woodbury to present new ideas, teach best practices while working with clay, and have participants make/decorate their own projects.

Our ClayToGo program brings a specialized, hands-on clay experience to every school and organization with which we partner. If you have a school or organization that is interested in a clay session, a tour of NCC’s facilities, or a clay demonstration, please contact Alison Beech, NCC’s new education and outreach coordinator, at 612.339.8007 x313 or alisonbeech@northernclaycenter.org.