Artists are at the center of artistic and educational programming for Baltimore Clayworks; Baltimore Clayworks was in fact, founded in 1978 by a collective of nine working ceramic artists.
The residency program, up to a five-year commitment, attracts emerging ceramic artists, many of whom are recent MFA graduates from the country’s best academic studio programs and apprenticeships. Residency is peer-juried and is highly competitive. In recent years, there have been far more applicants than available positions. Our residents are nurtured through connections to resources in the community, a collective environment in which to create, space to exhibit and sell their work, paid teaching for Clayworks’ adult’s and children’s classes.
Residents have 24- hour key access to highly specialized facilities and equipment including 14 specialized electric, gas, and soda fired kilns, 40 potters’ wheels, extruders, spray booth, ball mill, clay mixers and a fully outfitted glaze lab. Baltimore Clayworks also houses the region’s only public access wood-firing kiln, a two-chambered Noborigama rebuilt in 2014.
Baltimore Clayworks provides opportunities for residents to teach off site as well in the studios on campus; former residents are now heading most community college ceramics departments, and teach at local four year academic departments at Coppin State, Morgan State, and Towson University. Residency also provides a network for artists to teach in numerous private schools, in Clayworks’ supported community arts programs, and to compete for and receive commissioned artworks.
Clayworks maintains a cohort of former residents and juried local ceramic artists, “associates”, and it is also in the fourth year of offering collaborative non-juried studio space called Springboard for artists of all levels that are looking to expand their studio practice.
Artists are central to decision-making at Baltimore Clayworks; they serve on the board of trustees, participate on board committees, assist in grant generation and implementation, and maintain close ties to our national association in the field, NCECA. Deborah Bedwell, one of our founding artists, formerly served as NCECA’s president; former resident Mary K. Cloonan is currentlyNCECA’s program director. Many of Clayworks’ artists participate in exhibitions at the NCECA Conference, and many propose and present panels and lectures.
Baltimore Clayworks is known for attracting the most talented national and international ceramic artists not only to the campus in Mt. Washington, but also to community partners’ sites in under-resourced neighborhoods.