Featured Articles

  • The Art League Reopening for Spring Term

    As wintery February draws to a close and the evening light is starting to look like spring, there is reason to be hopeful that the long pandemic of 2020 might be coming to a close.  At The Art League of Alexandria, Virginia, nine months of mostly shuttered doors is giving way to registration for a spring session that just might look normal.  Last autumn we featured The Art League and its Ceramics Chair, Blair Meerfeld, in a story about the effects of closures on art communities.  We spoke to him recently about the challenges of re-opening.
  • Lillstreet Art Center Stands Firm During Pandemic Year

     A city the size of Chicago offers a multitude of venues for the exploration of human creativity, with studios and galleries throughout the metropolitan area and its suburbs, but the city’s artistic nexus can be found at Lillstreet Art Center.  For over four decades, the center has provided a home for artists of all varieties.  Founded in 1975 by current Director Bruce Robbins and Martin Cohen, Lillstreet has stood as the gateway for the human need to interpret the world through art.  As we approach the one-year anniversary of a world pandemic, Director Robbins looks back on a year marked by innovative solutions to unique challenges.
  • Caitlin Wismer and Wyland Elementary School: A Clay Gathering

    When art educator Caitlin Wismer started her first year as a long-term substitute teacher at Wyland Elementary School in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh this past September, the year ahead looked challenging and uncertain.  Wyland is part of the Hampton School District, which made the decision to start the new academic year with a hybrid model, in light of the ubiquitous COVID-19 pandemic.  Students would be instructed through a mix of in-person and virtual learning. 
  • Amy Song: Tea Pots and Wood Firing at River Song Pottery

    With the new year upon us, Ceramic Supply Chicago is pleased to be reviving our Second Saturday Workshops – with a twist.  Like all things these days, the new year’s first workshop will be virtual, online through Instagram Live, and will feature a demonstration by potter Amy Song.  So, shake off that holiday lethargy, tune in, and get those creative juices flowing.
  • Pittsburgh Center for Arts and Media: Executive Director Kyle Houser at the Helm

    With a 75-year history as one of Pittsburgh’s major arts organizations, Pittsburgh Center for Arts and Media (PCA&M) has weathered many changes.  Founded as a conglomeration of individual art groups in 1945 as The Arts and Crafts Center, it grew to become a nexus for art education and exhibition with a unified vision and strong leadership.  When the center’s current Executive Director, Kyle Houser joined the organization in 2013, a decade of uncertainty had left the group in financial difficulty and organizational turmoil.  Houser’s dedication to rebuilding the center’s strengths contributed to a major reorganization in late 2019.  Houser says, “2020 was the year to turn the ship around.  Unfortunately, in March, we hit an iceberg.”
  • Neil Estrick Gallery: Transformation Through Change

    One of 2020s irritating catch words has been pivot.”  Restaurants have pivoted to carry-out, then to outdoor dining. Schools have pivoted to remote instruction.  Arts organizations have pivoted to online concerts and shows.  For Neil Estrick, pivoting has been an integral part of his artistic life, beginning with a realization that Mathematics was a boring college major.  This prominent Chicago-area potter and owner of Neil Estrick Gallery in Grayslake has always employed a practical analytic sense, softened by the nudges of his heart, to make adaptations to his work, never fearful of going in a different direction. 
  • BKLYN CLAY Adapts to Changing Culture

    For every full-time studio artist, there are probably a dozen artists trying to incorporate a creative component into a working life.  For years, artist Jennifer Waverek worked for big New York graphic corporations while raising her two children.  Frustrated by always working on other peoples’ ideas, she envisioned a day when she could be part of a community of artists, sharing ideas and resources, and developing her own creative voice.  Two years ago, her hope became a reality with the opening of her studio, BKLYN CLAY.  In a short time, the group of ceramic artists and students grew into the vibrant community she imagined, a community that has weathered a global pandemic and adapted to address new sensibilities about race and justice.
  • Blair Meerfeld and The Art League School of Alexandria: Community of Inspiration

    When Blair Meerfeld left a solitary Colorado life as a studio potter in 2009 to accept a position at a thriving East Coast art school, he had no idea how radically his life would change.  As the Chair of the Ceramics Department at The Art League in Alexandria, Virginia, Meerfeld oversees over 1,400 students a year in a program that has continued to grow under his stewardship.  In a position that he thought he would keep for a year or two before returning to his independent artist’s life, his days are filled with constant interaction with students, faculty and administration.  Yet it was not until the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all operations at The Art League that Meerfeld was able to reflect on his experience and fully appreciate the importance of human interaction in the creative process.
  • Jill Leary and Railyard Arts Studio: Persistence During a Pandemic

    As the year 2020 got underway, ceramic artist and teacher Jill Leary was looking forward to another year of growth at her Westchester studio and school, Railyard Arts Studio.  Open for about eighteen months, the converted former lumber yard building was humming with activity, with potters busy in the clay studio and a variety of artists painting, print making, and working in stained glass in the big “art room.”  Leary’s dream of creating a warm and welcoming community for artists had become a reality.  By March, that dream was under attack by a micro-organism called COVID-19.
  • Clay Art Center Celebrates at Annual Benefit

    For nearly a lifetime, Clay Art Center in Port Chester, New York has promoted the benefits of art education through the hands-on medium of clay. Each fall, since 2007, students, instructors, administrators, board members, and contributors pause to celebrate the history and accomplishments of this eminent arts organization at its annual benefit. 
  • The Power of Community: Ryan J. Greenheck Brings his Pottery Invitational to Pittsburgh

    Fresh out of graduate school, with his MFA from SUNY Alfred, young potter Ryan J. Greenheck moved to Philadelphia in 2004, looking to set up a studio and get to work.  He thought he might do some teaching in addition to his own creative work.  He couldn’t imagine how his world would expand over the next fifteen years, on a path that introduced him to numerous artists, educators, and promoters - a community that he has been instrumental in forming and that has redefined his idea of what it means to be a practicing artist.
  • Gabe Tetrev a presenter at CSC’s Local Artist Series

    It is a rare but wonderful thing when a young person knows with certainty his vocational path, but even more so when the varied circumstances of li...