2001-2007 Ceramics Myers School of Art, History of Ceramics Program, Myers School of Art Akron

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The biggest change in the ceramic program during the years 2001 to 2007 was the introduction of technology.  In spring 2002 the University published class lists with email addresses along with telephone numbers.  In subsequent semester the telephone number has been eliminated.  In spring of 2003 Donna was provided with her first laptop computer by the University.  Very soon after that the whole campus was wireless.  Our slide library is now the Image Resource Center.  In 2005 Jim Crowe began to scan images to digital files and he has maintained a steady pace of scanning our slide collection.  Faculty routinely scan their own images and create power-points.  This allows lectures to be tailored more quickly to available images.  Discussion can be focused on websites and other information available on line.  The Myers School of Art website has become a main way to communicate with potential students.  Donna and Joe created a website in 2006.
Partly as a result of the web students are becoming more sophisticated about the art world.  They are also more informed abut the workings of academic departments.  In spring 2001 the Myers School of art interviewed candidates for a new metals professor and a contemporary art historian.  In 2005 and again in 2006 the Myers School of Art interviewed candidates for the position of director of the school.  Students were invited to listen to candidates presentations and to meet with them to ask questions.  Student input was valued and students gained  insight into how academic positions are attained.
Students also considered the potential for making money in the arts.  Thirty two students worked to design a public art project.  Eleven students actually made the 8500 porcelain tiles and installed them on the 200ft exterior wall of Robinson Academy.  Each student earned $1000.00 for their contribution and the ceramics studio at the Myers School of Art was reimbursed for use of the studio for making and firing the tiles $3000.00 worth of kiln shelves.  Students sold elephant ear sponges at the NCECA conference.  They provided a useful tool for the potters there and each of them paid for their trip and for the books and ceramic tools they purchased at the conference.  The sale of student art works known as the Holiday Sale has become more sophisticated.   In 2006 ceramic students worked with Corporate Identity students in John Morrison and Chris Hoots class to create an identity for Akron Artisans Fine Art Sale.  Matt Graber developed the chosen idea.  Each ceramics and metals student developed a display area to compliment their own work.
Finally students became more aware of the way history functions in contemporary art.  Laura Gelfand organized the (In)Forming Contemporary Art symposium which included ceramic artist Leopold Foulem.  Students spent the day with Leopold and saw his work in exhibition.  In addition Donna and Laura team taught History of Craft which was the first time most of the students had the opportunity to focus on the history of all the objects usually left out of other art history classes.

FALL 2001

Class lists have student telephone numbers not email
Advanced ceramics:  Ami Chevali, Jenise Corron, Moncheri Davenport, Lance Freeman, Brian Hedges, Nichola Kinch, David Komito, Paul R. Miller, Dane Nighswander, Nicole Novinec, Carol Ohl, Daniel Steiner, Jack Valentine, Angela White, and Jennifer Young. Ind. Study and Nichola Kinch.
Text for Advanced Ceramics:  The Craft and Art of Clay by Susan Peterson.
Assignments included goblet making and mold making.
Ptah (Arthur Webb) taught Ceramics II.  Ptah is an alum of the University of Akron who got his MFA from San Francisco State University.  On September 12, 2001 Ptah was eating his lunch at Akron City Hospital.  The hospital was in a heightened state of security after the September 11 attacks.  Though he is Afro American, his exotic almost Middle Eastern looks caused security guards there to over react and have Ptah arrested for stealing food.  A jury found Ptah innocent and a second jury awarded him $10,500 for his false accusations by the Akron City Hospital security guards.  In the months between the day he was arrested during class and taken away in handcuffs and the final resolution Ptah spent a month in jail over the Christmas Holidays.
In September students visited William Morris Glass Installations:  Myth, Object and the Animal at the Akron Art Museum
James Yood spoke to students about the William Morris exhibition.
Field trip to the Cleveland Museum to choose an object to write a paper about.
Andrea LeBlond’s last day as studio technical assistant was Friday September 24, 2001 Andrea left her position in our clay studio to complete her education degree.  Her careful preparations of plans for our new glaze room were realized in 2003.

Cheryl Shepherd’s first day was October 27, 2001.   Her position was as 3-D Technician, metals and ceramics.  Her work in ceramics included Acquisition of Materials, Maintenance of tools and equipment, instructional support and supervision of student assistants and work-study.
Jack Valentine drove his pick-up truck up the curb and into the side of the ceramics studio.  He hit the Ceramic History Mural on the front of the ceramic studio and did some damage.
Jack and Dane Nighswander were caught partying in the ceramic studio.  As a result they were not allowed to take classes in the school of art again.  Dane went over to Kent to finish up his BFA.  He then applied to the MFA Program at Antioch.  He did his internship with Eva Kwong at Kent and graduated with his MFA from Antioch in 2004.  Jack Valentine continued to do his ceramics in his studio on Champlain which he rented from Joe and Donna.  He completed his senior show requirement by having an exhibition, Endeavor 2 Persevere at the Topiary Home Décor on Furnace Street in April of 2004.  He had very good “Gourmet cuisine by Chainsaw”.

On Tuesday Sept 11 Jennifer Brownlow was late for class and when she came in she reported to her classmates that a plane had flown into the world Trade Center in New York.  We had a hard time understanding what she was saying.

Field trip to SOFA with the metals and sculpture students in October.

Nichola Kinch had her Senior Exhibition at the Church on South St. on November 30, 2001.  It consisted of five video pieces.


Class lists have a new, non social security number for the student number.  The phone number plus an email address is given on the class list for the first time.
Advanced Ceramics:  Ami Chevali, Jonathan Conrad, Jenise Corron, MonCheri Davenport, Brian Hedges, David Komito, Nicole, Novinec, Carol Ohl, Jessica Schleifer, Stephen Teeters, Jack Valentine, Jennifer Young, Diana Cook, Mike Natko, Angela White (1 cr. Independent Study) and  Daniel Steiner.
Min Choi taught ceramics II this semester
Nichola Kinch entered the MFA Program at Tyler.
Matt Nolen was artist in residence from February 5 thru February 17 and April 9-12.   Cheryl helping out with his sinks.  Students helped paint some of the tiles.  He painted sinks and back splashes for the bathrooms near the gallery.  The theme of the bathrooms was the meaning of being human.  Each of the four sinks was glazed with images of the mental, spiritual, emotional or intellectual.
In February Jim Connell lectured on “Historical Precedents and the Modern Ceramic Artist”.
March 2002; we drove a van to Kansas City.  Seven students went:   Carol Ohl, Steve Teeters, Dave Komito, Daniel Steiner, Jenise Corron, Angela White and Toni Billick.  Donna purchased elephant ear sponges from a dealer in Florida.  She sold the sponges to the students for $2.00 each.  The students sold the sponges for from 5.00 to $20.00 each to NCECA members.  The sponges were very beautiful.  They were in the shape of funnel and many could be worn as hats which the students did.  NCECA members sought them out and all the sponges were merrily sold.  The students all made enough money to pay their expenses and to buy tools and books from the vendors at the conference.
We heard John Waters who spoke on Celebration of Creative Arts.  We also saw Dave Alban a part time faculty at the Myers School of Art presenting as a “Kiln Doctor”.  We danced to the music of the Bel Airs
We visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum of art.  Dave Komito attended the conference as James Bond.
Our text in advanced ceramics was Postmodern Ceramics by Mark Del Vecchio.  We discussed Postmodernism, pattern and Decoration, the Image and the vessel.  History culture and Time, Organic Abstraction and The figure.
Matt Nolen lectured on his work.

In April the Emily Davis Gallery showed Private Figures:  Figurative Art from Private Collections.   Curated by Mark Soppeland  the exhibition included a number of ceramic figures along with hundreds in other media.

Robinson Academy is an inner city elementary school with a 200 foot retaining wall that needed repair. The Academy at Robinson was opened in 1912.  It was decommissioned in 1979 and reopened in 1980 as a result of a federal court suit filed by parents.  It is named for Henry Robinson who was a pioneer manufacturer of clay products, civic leader and one of the original benefactors of Akron city Hospital.
Jesse Reid, the principal of The Academy at Robinson, located at 1158 Fourth Avenue, asked John George, the Akron Public School architect for help.  He called upon Donna Webb to make a proposal for the wall.  This resulted in a class project entitled, “Robinson in the World”. Thirty two students in the ceramics program from the beginning through the advanced classes made design proposals.  Student’s also made ceramic models of the wall.  Two designs were chosen as the most exciting and doable.  Donna presented them to Jesse Reid and her faculty and students.  The design that depicted the Robinson Academy building on the curve of the earth along with the greatest architectural monuments.  Extending beyond the earth were the other planets and the sun.  Thus Robinson is seen at the center of the universe. The idea of Robinson in the World and Beyond”  was created by Pam Wagner.  The final drawing for the idea was done by Joseph Blue Sky, University of Akron Alum and Donna Webb’s husband.

“The universe is a place of endless possibilities.  Elementary school is a place of endless possibilities.  It is in elementary school that students first realize their strengths and weaknesses.  It is in elementary school that students take up lifelong interests.  It is elementary school where future astronauts and artists dream of being firemen and doctors, only to change their plans a hundred times before they grow up.  There is a huge world outside of classrooms.  Unfortunately, when we are young we often do not realize it.
It is my intention with this piece to open up the greater world to the children of Robinson.  The piece is about them and the piece is for them.  “Robinson in the World and Beyond” is about endless opportunity and the hope for the future.  When children pass by the piece they may take a closer look at their school, their city, their planet, or even their universe.  It is my hope that when students view this piece they will realize that the world is more than just recess and homework, lunch breaks and math tests, and that the possibilities for their futures are limitless.”  Pam Wager, from her Proposal for Robinson in the World

The old stone capping the wall was removed cleaned and replaced.   Donna applied for a summer research grant to fund the project.  This proposal was not funded. With the financial help of two foundations and the sale of engraved bricks that also became part of the wall, the school raised over $10,000 to support the university student’ implementation of the  Robinson in the World design.  Robinson Academy students aided by Myers School of Art ceramic students carved their names on 489 porcelain stars which were then strewn across the space between the planets in the final installation.
Neighbors supported the college students with refreshments as they labored through the long, hot summer.
The students were each paid $1000.00 for their work on the project and the ceramic studio received $3000.00 to buy 30 new kiln shelves.

Fred Wilson lectured on the “Silent Message of the Museum at the Akron Art Museum.

School Director, Christina DePaul left the Myers School of Art to be Director of the Corcoran School of Art.  All of us were well aware of her contributions to the school.  We wished that she would stay but we also wished her well.


June 9- July11 2002 Arthur Gonzalez, Artist in Residence during the Cross Cultural Ceramics class.  Arthur demonstrated printmaking techniques using clay.  He also had a farewell exhibition of his work in the visiting artists’ studio across from the Image Resource Center.

FALL 2002

Richman Haire became Director of the Myers School of Art.

In September Jim Klein and Dave Reid were the featured alumni artists in the Emily Davis Gallery exhibition “Ten Year Retrospective.
Their exhibition opened the school year.  Jim and Dave lectured on their work that week.  Several students had critiques with them.

Class list includes email addresses instead of telephone numbers
Advanced ceramics:  Toni Billick, Ami Chevali, Diana Cook, Kelley Eggert, Nicole Novinec, January Tournoux, Emily Wilson, and Jennifer Young.

Donna taught Ceramics II There were 13 people in this class and the quality of work was very high.
Mark Rothko—“If a thing is worth doing once, it is worth doing over and over again—exploring it, probing it, demanding by this repetition that the public look at it.”
The Wall at the Academy at Robinson was awarded the Take Pride in Akron 2002 Award at Mayor Don Plusquellic’s press conference on October 23, 2002.  The Robinson Wall was the top award winner out of eighteen nominees.

The focus of the semester was ceramic history.
We installed the Water Wall Project, Much Enduring at the University of Akron, Student Union.1  A team of alumni Angie White, Marianne Dias and students helped over a period of two weeks to install the piece.
Ceramics II was taught at the same time as the advanced ceramics class.
Ceramic II and advanced students attended slide lectures on Neolithic pottery,  Islamic tiles, Japanese Oribe Etruscan, Chinese and Italian commemorative sculpture, mold made forms form Europe and Pre Columbian Peru., Greek, Mayan and Mimbres story telling pots , contemporary vessels and contemporary sculpture. Students saw demonstrations of throwing bowls, covered jars, and plates

Students created a kiln firing in memory of September 11.  Flowers and special forms were fired ceremoniously in Alpine II.

Introduction to Ceramics students took a field trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Ceramics at the CMA recommended by Donna Webb
These are just my very favorites.  You will undoubtedly find your own favorites.  Assignments:  Add at least one new great object to the list.  Include its room number artist or culture and date.
1.  Rm 104 Jar, Earthenware, Native American, New Mexico, Joni Pueblo, late 19th c. ht 26” .Gift of the Smithsonian Institution.
2.  Rm. 106 Lidded bowl, modeled with Iguana, Costa Rica
3.  Rm 106 Jar, Jaguar Effigy, Panama
4.  Rm. 108 Vessel with crested heads, W. Mexico
5.  Rm. 108 Vessel with Occulate Being, Peru
6.  Rm. 114 Jar, Ganzu Province Neolithic China
7.  Rm. 121, Storage vessel, Flame Style, Japan Jomon period
8.  Rm. 121. Funeral Sculpture in the form of an archer, Haniwa
9.  Rm. 121, Three large storage Jars, Japanese (in large cases against the walls)
10.  Rm 122 Brush Washer in the form of a lotus leaf, Quing Dynasty China
11. Rm 201 Large figure, Ceramic, redwood and painted wood, 1986, Myth of the Western Man by Robert Arneson
12 Rm 206 Wall tiles, star shaped, Islamic
13. Rm. 209 Dinos (wine mixing bowl) with a battle scene of the Trojan War and ships on the inside rim.
14.  R. 219 Italian Majolica
15.  Rm. 220 a head of Proserpine, terracotta, by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, Italian, Rome
16.  Rm 220 a Two Angels and Cherubs Blessing an Icon of Christ, terracotta by Peietro Naldini
17.  Rm. 222 Della Robia Workshop (choose one)
18.  Rm. 233 Vase of the Titans by Auguste Rodin’
19. Rm. 234 Vase des Binelles, by Hector Guimard at Sevres, l903
20. Rm. 235 A Arts and Crafts (choose one)
21. R. 239 Jazz Bowl by Viktor Schreckengost

At the holiday sale  Jen had leaves, Nicole, mugs and lidded jars, Brian had plates and goblets, Ami Chevali small tiles and books, Carol Ohl had stacking and nesting bowls, Daniels Steiner , salt glazed functional ware with a local slip glaze, Dave Komito, humorous cups and a Mr. T Teapot, Cheryl Shepherd’s pastel purple, olive green bright yellow and electric blue glazes were striking. Jenise, small shrines and altarpieces.  Mon Cheri, monacals and tic-tac toe games.

“Daniel Steiner serenaded the shoppers with frequent serenades on one of his ceramic didgeridoos.  Daniel verged on making performance pieces, as the low bellowing sound drew in anyone and everyone.  Adorning the long hollow tubes are simple shapes and patterns with varying finishes resulting from the salt firing.”  David Komito.

Nichola Kinch started graduate school in the sculpture program at Tyler School of Art.
Bob Wrights last day as the 3-D Technical Assistant was August 2, 2002
October 2002 Jim Klein and Dave Reid were on Martha Stewart Living.


Donna taught History of Crafts with Laura Gelfand. Donna spent two weeks at Sholes Library at Alfred University preparing lessons for the class.
Heath Patten lectured on Greek pots for the class.  Susan Mckiernan on Victorian Crafts,  Sherry Simms on Art Deco metals, Heather White on Contemporary metals, Sean Mercer on contemporary glass,  Jim Williams on contemporary wood working and Virginia Gunn on 19th C coverlets.  Donna and Laura divided up the other topics.  Laura gave a great lecture on European Medieval Crafts and Donna lectured on Islamic and Pre-Columbian crafts.  It was a fabulous experience.  It was a chance to look at all the nooks and crannies of craft that are not usually seen in art history classes.  The students each chose a piece from the Cleveland museum to write a paper on.
Angie White had an opening of her work at the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art.
Penny Rakoff was the chairman of Akron Public Art, Donna served as the secretary.
The Water Wall, Much Enduring was officially opened on April 23.

Much Enduring, Tile Installation by Donna Webb and Joseph Blue Sky, Student Union, University of Akron.

Jon Hill took an independent study.
Was this the semester we had the symposium Education in the Ceramic Arts?  The panel included Ron White, Beth Lindenberger and Kevin Tunstall.  Ceramics and Art Education students got together to strategize about how best to teach ceramics to children.

Summer 2003

Yolanta  Kvastche from Lithuania was artist in residence for Cross Cultural Ceramics taught by Megan Sweeney.
Professor Wang from China who was demonstrating pottery at the Great Lakes Science Center came to the Myers School of Art to fire his pots.
Angie White and Carol Ohl worked for Donna to develop glazes for the floor: As Above so below

FALL 2003

This was the first semester that we were able to use our new clay mixing room and our glaze room.  They were reconfigured and provided with ventilation.  Much of the design work and overseeing of the process was done by studio technician Andrea LeBlond. Cheryl Shepherd shepherded the project through the torturous days when systems and counters were being installed  and paint was being chosen (“any color as long as it’s white’).  For the first time, NO RECLAIM CLAY IS ALLOWED IN THE CLAY ROOM!

Introduction to Ceramics students did a collaborative project with Matthew Kolodziej’s Introduction to painting classes.  They demonstrated the ways in which ceramics and painting are similar and how they are different.  Students in ceramics and painting responded to each others work and installed the collaborative work together in the Myers School of Art.

We did a ritual kiln firing of flowers and tribute pieces for 9-ll.

Peter Schjedahl, critic and writer for the New Yorker lectured to students and faculty at the Myers School of Art on “What Art is for Now”.  His lecture was funded by the Katherine Campbell lecture Fund.
Saturday November 8, a group of artists including ceramic artist Leopold Foulem participated in the symposium, (in) forming contemporary art in the Firestone Auditorium in the Summa Building on East Market.  The symposium was organized by Laura Gelfand and funded by a Myers Grant.
We took a large van and took Leopold Foulem to Columbus, OH to see 21st Century Ceramics in the United States and Canada at the Columbus college of Art and Design.
Jon Hill took an independent study.
We had a holiday sale.
Donna worked for Penny Rakoff to fire photographic decals on tiles for her public art project.


Who was in advanced ceramics?
3-D: Devilish, Decadent, Delicious:  An Invitational Exhibition curated by Kate Budd, Sherry Simms and Donna Webb showed ceramic work by Justin Novak,  Sergei Isupov and Mark Burns as well as sculptors in other media.

April,  James Yood critic, viewed the exhibition and spoke on “Contemporary Art & The Neo-Grotesque:  The End(s) of Shock”

Summer 2004

Cross Cultural Ceramics was taught by Meghan Sweeney.  The class focused on the tradition of the Chinese Ysing Teapot.

FALL 2004

Donna Webb on Sabbatical


Donna Webb on sabbatical.  She designed and implemented a public art competition called Painting the Town.

Summer 2005

Cheryl Shepherd taught a ceramic class for school teachers.
Donna and Joe traveled to Istanbul to study floors.  The trip was partially funded by a Summer Faculty Research Grant.
Beth Lindenberger and Jack McWhorter’s exhibition Direction and Discovery was held at the Summit Art Space Beth lectured about Ceramic Signs and Sculpture.

FALL 2005

Advanced ceramics:  Bob Barrett, Bernadette Houk, Kirsten Spilka, Russ Tinker, Sara Woodruff, Eric Cowan and Toni Billick.
The focus this semester was on safety and on two historical influences on ceramics:  the Arts and Crafts Movement and Modernity.
Field trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art to see The Arts and Crafts Movement in Europe and America 1880-1920.
In October advanced students Patrick Reilly, Austin Miller, Bob Barrett, Wendy ?, Katie Mitchell and Sean LeMasters participated in a weekend firing the Naboragama Kiln at Carol Ohl’s studio in Big Prairie, Ohio.  Alum Bob Yost helped to load the large kiln.
Cer II was taught at the same time as advanced ceramics
Amy Chevali was accepted into the MA program is Transpersonal counseling, Psychology, with a concentration in Art Therapy at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.
We did not have a holiday sale this year.


Advanced students:  Jennifer Allshouse, Betsy Beverlin, Jason DeSantis, Allison Elia, Bernadette Houk, Wendy Huntsman, Cinda Johnson, Sean LeMasters, Austin Miller, Kathryn Mitchell, Kirsten Spilka, Russell Tinker, and Eric Cowan.
Cer II was taught at the same time as the advanced class.
The theme for the semester was Art and Science.  We focused on the development of ideas.  Where do they come from?  How do you know if your idea is worth pursuing?  How do you describe it verbally and in writing to others.  How does the physical process and time constraints affect the outcome?  Everyone’s work had to be entered in an exhibition.  Most chose the Juried student exhibition or the Scholarship exhibition. The students were required to take their artists statements to the University writing lab for consultations  Kirsten Spilka did a piece about reading tea leaves.  Rebecca Benner a local expert on tea leaves came to the crit to tell our fortunes.
Students read the Logic of Laughter from Arthur Koestler’s Act of Creation.
Katie and Sean saw Janis Wunderlichh’s ceramic work at the Sir Real Show  at the Kent State University Gallery, curated by Kirk Mangus.
We took a field trip to Part Object Part Sculpture at the Wexner Center and visited the Ohio State ceramics department.  Paul Simon gave us a tour.
Austin Miller went to the Functional Ceramics Workshop in Wooster Ohio in April.
Donna’s article Terracotta and the London Natural History Museum was published in Ceramics Technical.

Summer 2006

Cheryl Shepherd taught Back to Basics a class for public school teachers.
Donna, Eric Cowan and Bernadette Houk traveled to Istanbul, Turkey to the 4th Student Triennial at Marmara University.  Eric and Bernadette participated in an exhibition there and Donna presented a paper on the Local/Global.
Beth Lindenberger was chosen as the artist for Arts Lift.  Working with 10 students from Akron-area high schools to create large-scale, permanent ceramic sculpture installations for the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center in Peninsula
Katie Mitchell and Sean LeMasters did an internship at Stan Hywet.

FALL 2006

Advanced students:  Katie Mitchell (LeMasters), Austin Miller, Bob Barrett, Patrick Reilly, Frances Nichols, Bernadette Houk, Austin Miller,  Sean LeMasters, and Eric Cowan.  Karyn Ludlam took an independent study to prepare for her junior review.
Eric Cowan broke his hip early in the semester and was not able to attend class for the rest of the semester.  He did make a heroic effort and attended a critique of his work by Michael Mercil.

Del Rey Loven became chair of the Myers School of Art.

Alum Carol Ohl fired her Naboragama for the 9th time.  The firing went well.  Alum Bob Yost took his usual place as the person to bend himself double and to load the kiln.  Donna, Cheryl and student Bob Barrett helped fire the kiln and were able to each have pieces fired.

Kate Budd working with sculpture students on Michael Mercil’s mold.

Beth Lindenberger taught ceramics II and became co-curator of the All the Difference exhibition.
Students worked with installation artist Michael Mercil on his project, Ghosts and Shadows.  Michael had three nearly 2000 pound sculptures that he had carved in Sweden shipped to the Myers School of Art.  Michael and his mold making specialist, Candace Black worked with students, faculty and staff from the 3-D areas to create molds of each of the three stone sculptures.1  The three pieces were then cast in plaster.  The six pieces, three stone and three plaster, were then shipped to Cincinnati where they were exhibited at the Aronoff Center for the Arts.
Students in advanced ceramics worked with metals students in a collaborative production class.  Each production class member paired with a graphic designer from John Morrison and Chris Hoots classes.  The graphic designers created business cards and identities for each of the metals and ceramics students. John Morrison’s student Matt Graber designed a logo for the event that had formerly been called the Holiday Sale.  The new identity was Akron Artisans Fine Art Sale.  Kevin Concannon, our contemporary art historian shared his research for the exhibition:  Production:  Artists Multiples on view in the Emily Davis Gallery.  The Production class installed an exhibition called Our Work featuring work done in a production mode using a number of different techniques.
Students designed their display and planned and promoted the Akron Artisans Fine Art Sale, learned new technologies and made new work.


Alum Ron White participated in the Holiday Sale.

Austin Miller had his ceramic sculpture, Thirst accepted in the Ohio Undergraduate Ceramics Exhibition at the University of Toledo.

Karyn Ludlam and Austin Miller took the Artist as Entrepreneur Institute sponsored by Community Partnership and reported their findings at a noon lecture/discussion.

In the 13th SOFA Chicago 2006 wrap-up report it was reported that “new clients, younger collectors respond to growing mix of media, both two and three-dimensional”.  At every level it seems that the barriers between old distinct disciplines are breaking down.
Clevelander, Viktor Schreckengost,  aged 100 received the National Medal of the Arts in a ceremony at the White House.  Celebrated as the most versatile American ceramic artist of the 20th century, Schreckengost has produced everything from traditional-sized ceramic vessels to monumental sculptures for the Cleveland Zoo and Lakewood High School.  They weigh more than 30 tones each and might be the largest ceramic sculptures ever made.

Spring 2007

Advanced ceramic students participated in a class project:  Sivic Service.  The goal of the project was to give as many businesspeople and city and county officials a good experience with working with an artist.
Students also made pots and sculpture for the wall display of the exhibition, All the Difference:  works in clay.

Traci Yost Schar began teaching children’s ceramic classes at the Wayne Center for the Arts in Wooster.

Fall 2007

Over 100 students and Alumni participated in the Exhibition, All the Difference:  works in clay.  A semester long series of lectures and events culminated in a luncheon and symposia in December. 1 2
Events included:
“Curator Talk” with Rod Bengston & Beth Lindenberger
“Floors” by Donna Webb
“All the Choices: Studios” Alumni Panel with Jim Klein and David Reid, Emily Ulm, Woodrow Nash and Warren Harrison moderated by Beth Lindenberger.
“Scary Stories” by Donna Webb
“Decisions” Lecture by Bill Busta
“Changes in the Craft World” Panel with Dorothy Shinn, Bruce Metcalf and Graham McLaren moderated by Donna Webb

All the Difference, downstairs gallery.

Post script

In the last ten years, the ceramic department became more integrated with the metals and sculpture areas.  The work included much more mixed media work.  Students with undergraduate degrees in ceramics from the Myers School of Art often went on to graduate school in sculpture. In l992 Ptah graduated with an MFA in sculpture from San Francisco State.  In 1993 Charles Pillietiere graduated with an MFA in sculpture from Ohio University followed by Nichola Kinch, MFA sculpture Tyler 2004 and Angela White, MFA sculpture Virginia Commonwealth in 2009.    Students exhibit more frequently while still in school and have access to an endowment provided by Mary Myers that encourages them to apply for travel scholarships.   More students apply to graduate school and subsequently live and work elsewhere.  More professional support systems are helpful to these students.   Though they have to be every bit as persevering as the earlier groups they tend to see themselves as professionals earlier and find and create support systems.  Cities and other governments are beginning to

All the Difference Luncheon, Sharon Wagner, Beth Lindenberger, Carol Ohl, Ingebor Wegner.

realize that the arts have an economic impact.  In 2001 the Craft Organization Directors Association Economic Impact Survey estimates that there are 127,000 crafts people in the United States.  According to the CODA publication the craft movement has become an invisible industry in the past twenty five years and crafts-both traditional and contemporary have become a major contributor to the mainstream of the American economy.  The estimated contribution of the crafts is 14 billion dollars in 2001 and growing every year since.  Ceramic artists make up about 19% of those contributing craftspeople.  This economic environment allows students and the society to take ceramic artists more seriously than they did in earlier years.

The exhibition, All the Difference:  works in clay was a success with more than 100 participating artists.  Many of these were alumni from the Myers School of Art.  All had contributed to the program in some way.
My hope is that the friends and experiences you have had at the Myers School of Art will continue to enrich your lives and that you will keep in touch.

Donna Webb


Thanks to all who helped support this project.  They are too numerous to count but they include:
Paulene Franks
Dean Jim Lynn
Del Loven
Rod Bengston
Tracy Graham
The gallery staff
Beth Lindenberger
Dominic Falcione
Chris Hoot





This article was written by: Donna Webb

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