25th Anniversary Interview: Jennifer Tatsuda, NCC Business Manager

What is your relationship with NCC?
I am the Business Manager at NCC. I am also a donor, a supporter of ceramic artists through purchases, and have taken a few classes, although it has been awhile since I was a student.

Why did you get involved initially?
The first experiences involved taking my children to the gallery when NCC was located on University Avenue in St. Paul. After NCC moved to Minneapolis, my children were old enough to take summer clay camps. Then, a good friend, Monica Rudquist, told me about a job opportunity that she thought would be a good fit, so I applied for the position at NCC.

What was the most surprising thing that happened during your work with NCC?
It has really opened my eyes to a whole new world from both the business and arts perspective. In the beginning, I learned more about the structure of a non-profit organization and its unique sources of revenue, and my responsibilities as Business Manager. I was also exposed to the clay community, locally and nationally. Over the years, I have learned about clay process, raw materials, artists, history, and of the variety of uses of clay. I loved the RAW exhibition of unfired clay. There is always something new to discover.

What was the most gratifying thing that happened? What pleased you the most?
I feel good about where I started and where I am now. I have a level of comfort with my involvement and a confidence about my contributions to NCC. It has been great to witness the strengths of the organization, the many ways it connects people to ceramics, and to see the commitment to the greater ceramics community. I have enjoyed seeing people get introduced to clay and just get swept into exploring it further. There are so many ways people can get involved at the Clay Center and learn so much because the community is so welcoming. It is wonderful to see it happen time and time again.

What do you think might be different in ten years?
There is so much change in the way people get information and new technology is always being introduced. The possibilities for artists are huge. Even with constant change, I hope the physical connection between people and the medium remains strong. It is important to see the work, seek out the maker if possible, ask questions, and to enjoy using the ceramic work. Part of my appreciation comes from understanding the process to get to the end result. An individual can only get so much information from an image; they too have to see the work.

In ten years, I hope the field is still focused on the people and the process of using clay to make ceramic work; and NCC will continue to bring them together.

Any funny stories to share?
During NCC’s 20th Anniversary, I had been on staff for 5+ years. Before the opening reception, I had volunteered to give several artists a ride from the MIA to their hotel and all of the sudden, I was in a car with Val Cushing, Ron Meyers and his wife, Hester Meyers, and Patti Warashina. After hearing about these Regis Master artists and admiring their work, there I was! The ride was spent with the artists reminiscing, telling stories, poking fun at each other, and it was a little rambunctious, so it was a fun moment to be a part of. I guess I get to live vicariously when surrounded by these and other great ceramic artists.

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