Prior to 2016, Clay Art Center’s exhibition program hosted shows with both functional and sculptural ceramics featuring emerging, mid-career, and established artists. While every show held its own conceptual merit, the long-time audience for the gallery did not necessarily follow a narrative between exhibitions, and there was little connection between our exhibitions and educational programming. Being a non-profit institution, we questioned what the educational component of the gallery was and how we could sustain interest with our long-standing patrons. In came the idea of having an ‘umbrella’ theme – a point of focus where we would have enough room to maneuver between sculpture and function as well as solo and group shows but have a guiding thread that connected everything together.
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