In Service: Engaging and Connecting through Clay

Mar 8 to Apr 28

Curated by Ursula Hargens
Opening reception: Thursday, March 28, 5 – 9 pm

In Service: Engaging and Connecting through Clay will underscore a growing trend in the craft field: creating opportunities for social engagement through the process of making. We’ll highlight artists committed to creating meaningful community dialogues and will include ceramic work made by those sitting at the table as well as those who benefit from this outreach. We’ll pursue a new iteration of the Democratic Cup: Land of 10,000 Stories, in collaboration with Ayumi Horie, during which we’ll host community conversations across the state of Minnesota, led by clay ambassadors. Conversations will be sparked by custom ceramic cups, designed by four Minnesota potters and illustrated with decal prompts that highlight current issues facing Minnesotans. NCC’s own 20+ year history of engaging community through clay under its ClayToGo program will be highlighted, and, specifically, the creative results of our multi-year collaborative outreach with the East African immigrant community in our surrounding neighborhood. Additionally, we’ll celebrate the efforts of an international organization, Potters for Peace, and their implementation of The Water Filter Project in 35 countries. We’ll shine light on our local community, Powderhorn Potters, and their Empty Bowls initiative, which has raised over a quarter million dollars to date. We’ll honor local legend and potter, Warren MacKenzie, and his philosophy of pots for the people. Finally, we’ll bring Jeff Schmuki to the Midwest for an installation of portable hydroponic community gardens, using a recycled ceramic substrate.

Related Events
Visiting Artist Jeff Schmuki will be on site this quarter to install a hydroponic garden and a custom ball mill, which will churn bisqued earthenware into growth medium for gardens. If you are interested in participating as a gardener for the installation and during the run of the exhibition, please contact Jill Foote-Hutton at

Schmuki will present a public lecture about his entire body of work, which includes an amazing array of ceramics, interventions, plants, and robotics. He will also be a guest artist in our special topics class, Botanical Inspiration, for those of you interested in a more in-depth conversation with this affable, mad genius.

At the end of In Service, we will harvest and share the bounty with our community. Stay tuned for details.

Artist Lecture: Thursday, March 7 at 6 pm in NCC's Library

NCC Adult Class: Botanical Inspiration, Wednesdays, January 2 – March 6