Pittsburgh to Host 52nd Annual NCECA Conference

Pittsburgh to Host 52nd Annual NCECA Conference

The 52nd Annual Conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts will take place March 14 – 17, 2018 at Pittsburgh’s David Lawrence Convention Center.  Our city of rivers, bridges, complex immigrant history, gritty perseverance, and reinvention provides the setting for a reflection on the influence of culture on art, teaching and learning with clay.


The 2018 conference theme – Crosscurrents: Clay and Culture – will explore sources of inspiration that influence and impact work in ceramics today.  Lectures, panel discussions, projects, and demonstrations will address the personal, social and aesthetic forces that animate creative work with elemental materials, methods and ideas in the information age.


This year’s Conference Liaisons are Kate Lydon, Director of Exhibitions at the Society for Contemporary Craft and Shoji Satake, Assistant Professor of Ceramics at West Virginia University.  Lydon and Satake share enthusiasm for the impact of arts, culture and community engagement that are integral to NCECA’s model for conference developments, stating, “We are working on behalf of NCECA to integrate experiences with contemporary ceramic art throughout the city’s diverse urban neighborhoods and to the region beyond.  We hope to generate enthusiasm for the broad world of ceramics as artistic expression across county and state lines through an extensive series of exhibitions and programs to meet every interest.”  Institutions acting as hosts for the conference include Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, Slippery Rock University, Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, the Society for Contemporary Craft and West Virginia University.


Surrounding NCECA’s annual conferences are an array of diverse and dynamic ceramic art exhibitions. NCECA is partnering with the Society for Contemporary Craft and artist/ guest curator Winnie Owens-Hart to organize and host Visual Voices: Truth Narratives. This 2018 NCECA Annual exhibition will highlight leading-edge artists and practices in contemporary ceramic art influenced by the griot tradition in contemporary contexts. NCECA’s National Student Juried Exhibition will be hosted at PF/PCA. In all, nearly 100 exhibitions featuring clay as a medium of artistic expression will be sited throughout the Pittsburgh region and promoted concurrently with the conference. Most will be free and open to the public, although some venues may implement general admissions fees for visitor not registered with the conference.


In conjunction with the conference, Standard Ceramic will present several exhibits by noted artists, along with eight university shows in special shipping container exhibition spaces set up in the ClayPlace@Standard gallery parking lot.  Tours of Standard’s production facility will also be offered.


Visit this page often to read feature stories about the exhibiting artists.


The exhibition schedule is as follows:


Exhibition Title: Kyle and Kelly Phelps – Honoring the Blue Collar Working Class

Artists: Kyle Phelps, Kelly Phelps

Exhibition Description:  Commentary on working class culture, education, and politics. This show venue is in the production facility among the equipment used to manufacture prepared moist clay bodies.

Organized by James Turnbull

Exhibition Dates:  Mar 13-17


Exhibition Title: A Life and Language in Clay

Artists: Mary Bowron

Exhibition Description:  Selected works from the life of Mary Bowron, wood fire potter

Curated by:  Maureen Barrett

Exhibition Dates:  Mar 13-17


Exhibition Title: Musings on Place and Land

Artists: Syd Carpenter

Exhibition Description: Current work by Swarthmore Ceramics Professor, Syd Carpenter

Organized by James Turnbull

Exhibition Dates:  Mar 13-17


Exhibition Title: NFL and Potter – Culture and Clay

Artists: Chris Cooley

Exhibition Description: Solo exhibition by former NFL tight end for the Washington Redskins; Chris Cooley will include bottles for spirits and other pottery.

Organized by James Turnbull

Exhibition Dates:  Mar 13-17


Exhibition Title: Unfinished Temple

Artists: Shay Church

Exhibition Description: This on-site instillation is based on Shay Church’s travels in Indonesia, visiting Buddhist and Hindu temples now existing in a predominately Muslim country and Martin Luther King Jr.’s sermon titled, “Unfulfilled Dreams.”

Organized by James Turnbull

Exhibition Dates:  Mar 13-17


Exhibition Title: Conversations: The Combustion of One Thing Becoming Another

Artists: Jack Troy, Kevin Crowe

Exhibition Description: Wood fired pottery by Jack Troy and Kevin Crowe

Organized by James Turnbull

Exhibition Dates:  Mar 13-17.


Exhibition Title: Ten – 5 ceramic artists from the past, 5 ceramic artists currently making

Artists: Peter Voulkos, Betty Woodman, David Shaner, Ruth Duckworth, Akio Takamori, Warren MacKenzie, Kensuke Yamada, Magdalena & Michael Frimkess, and John Balistreri, and Julia Galloway

Exhibition Description: Curated by The Nevica Project (Jayson Lawfer) and Cerbera Gallery (Philipp Eirich) This show will feature a cross between old masters and new artists

Curated by Jayson Lawfer and Philipp Eirich

Exhibition Dates:  Mar 13-17.


Exhibition Title: Eight University Shows in Shipping Containers

Artists: Alfred University, Illinois State University, Indiana University, Ohio University, Penn State University, Syracuse University, Tyler School of Art-Temple University, and West Virginia University

Exhibition Description: Selected invitational showcase of regional universities by current faculty, graduate students, BFA students, and Alum in multiple shipping containers.

Organized by James Turnbull

Exhibition Dates:  Mar 13-17