Charlotte Street Foundation identifies the needs and fuels the evolution of an ever-changing multidisciplinary arts ecosystem, acting as its primary provocateur. We cultivate the contemporary, the exceptional, and the unexpected in the practice of artists working in and engaging with the Kansas City Art Community

NCECA – The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts

The 52nd Annual Conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts took place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this year. I just returned late last night from our week-long trip out East where we curated an exhibition, met up with old and new friends and saw some amazing ceramic works, installations, cup shows, demonstrations, panel and gallery talks.

My husband and I own Cerbera Gallery here in the Crossroads in Kansas City, Missouri, and together with our gallery partner from The Nevica Project in Chicago, we curated the exhibition “10”, with 5 living and 5 descended artists. The exhibition was hosted by an incredible clay manufacturing company, called Standard Clay in Carnegie, Pennsylvania:

Two curators from different mid-west cities will collaborate together on an exciting group exhibition of noted ceramic artists during NCECA. Jayson Lawfer of Chicago’s The Nevica Project and Philipp Eirich of Kansas City’s Cerbera Gallery have put together a show of works by living and deceased artists that they consider notable and of interest to the NCECA audience and worthy of the designation, “10″.

Lawfer, the Director of The Nevica Project in Chicago, says that he and Eirich simply chose the artists based on what they, as curators, personally like. The group, he says, was to be a “a mixture of five artists currently making and five artists that have passed away. Unfortunately, Betty Woodman just left us and we were not expecting her passing. But we feel it is an excellent grouping to host at the NCECA conference, so visitors can see an array of clay- craft and contemporary, pottery and sculpture, new and historic.”

The Nevica Project is a contemporary fine art gallery representing artwork from the primary and secondary markets, providing a range of services for artists, collectors and institutions. As Director, Lawfer brings a history of experience in both artistic and administrative skills to The Nevica Project. He earned a degree in fine arts from the University of Montana before completing an artist residency in Denmark at Guldagergard in 2002. He also was in residence at The Archie Bray Foundation in 2004, at A.I.R. Vallauris in France in 2006, and at Lillstreet Art Center in 2007, where he was later appointed to the position of Executive Director of the nonprofit sector of Lillstreet’s nonprofit sector, ArtReach. He held executive positions at The Clay Studio of Missoula and is active in working with Chicago’s city government on public art and community outreach.

Cerbera Gallery is a contemporary fine art gallery located at the heart of Kansas City’s Crossroads Art District, featuring an array of works by both renowned and emerging artists and primarily focusing in the fields of ceramics, limited editions, painting and photography. Cerbera Gallery has its origins in the 2016 NCECA conference in Kansas City. Eirich set up a space intended as a pop-up gallery for the conference. He gathered works from ceramicists throughout the United States, combining them with contemporary visual art works. The venture was a success, with a complete sell-out. Eirich chose to keep the space open and it has grown, due in part to Eirich’s unconventional curatorial style displaying well-known next to emerging artists at price levels attracting both; the serious collector and occasional art buyer all displayed in a contemporary salon-type setting.

Lawfer and Eirich selected works for this year’s NCECA show from a variety of sources. Some of the artists are represented by The Nevica Project or Cerbera; other works are being selected from important art collections.

The artists represented are:

Peter Voulkos, 1924 – 2002, an American artist of Greek descent. He is known for his abstract expressionist ceramic sculptures and a leader in contemporary ceramics.

Betty Woodman, 1930 – 2018, acclaimed ceramicist and sculptor who broke ground for women in the art world.

David Shaner, 1934 – 2002, sculptor and studio potter, director of the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena, Montana (1964 – 1970).

Ruth Duckworth, 1919 – 2009, modernist sculptor who specialized in ceramics, best known for porcelain abstract sculptures.

Akio Takamori, 1950 – 2017, a Japanese-American sculptor, printmaker, and painter who explored human relationships: interpersonal, archetypal, social and historical.

Kensuke Yamada, b. 1979, sculptor born in Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan, previously a visiting artist at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and currently Visiting Assistant Professor at Centre College, Danville, Kentucky.

Magdalena Suarez, b. 1929, Venezuela, and Michael Frimkess, b. 1937, Los Angeles, a fifty-year collaboration begun in 1963, that constitutes a compelling body of work that snags itself on many genres.

Warren MacKenzie, b. 1924, is widely regarded as the most important contemporary American potter with strong influences from Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada

John Balistreri, b.1962, American ceramic artist best known for his large-scale sculpture, currently an associate Professor of Art and the head of the ceramic art program at Bowling Green State University.

Julia Galloway, b. 1966, potter known for utilitarian work, professor at the University of Montana-Missoula.

Learn more about The Nevica Project at

Learn more about Cerbera Gallery at

More on NCECA:

MISSION: The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts advances creation, teaching and learning through clay in the contemporary world through welcoming and innovative experiences, discourse, and resources. Engaging body and mind in imaginative inquiry, clay connects us to authentic tactile and cognitive experiences. Ceramic art shapes our interactions with one another while connecting us to cultural traditions, knowledge, and innovations.

VISION: NCECA will convene and engage people who care about ceramic art and education to cultivate learning, leadership, and excellence throughout the field. Building on transformative relationships regionally, nationally, and globally, NCECA will expand awareness of and deepen appreciation for the vitality and vibrancy of ceramic art, teaching and learning within our technologically influenced world.

NCECA promotes and improves the ceramic arts through education, community-building, research and creative inspiration, offering programs, events and publications to support  the field and communities in which we work. NCECA’s broad interests are shaped by artists, students, individual and corporate patrons, gallery owners, museum curators, and providers of ceramic arts-related products and services. As a dynamic, member-driven organization, NCECA is flexible in its program development, international in its perspective and responsive to the changing needs of its constituency.


About Melanie Sherman

Melanie Sherman is a ceramic artist, born in Germany and currently residing and working in Kansas City, Missouri. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in ceramics from the Kansas City Art Institute. Her background is in graphic design, where she developed an eye for pattern and decoration. In her ceramics she combines her love for ornamentation and her fascination with the history of ceramics, referencing 18th century European porcelain.

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This entry was posted on March 19, 2018 by in Uncategorized.

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