Prospectus For 2018 Concurrent Exhibition Proposals
DEADLINE: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 (EST) (CLOSED)

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52st ANNUAL NCECA CONFERENCE: CrossCurrents: Clay and Culture
Wednesday March 14 – Saturday, March 17, 2018
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The exhibition and expansion of contemporary ceramic practice will include diverse approaches to ideas and senses of materiality involving clay and process. NCECA’s annual conference is enriched by the innovation and vision that emerges from our community to present ceramic art of the highest caliber in the form of Concurrent Exhibitions (CEs). These exhibitions make ceramic art visible and accessible to communities in which the conference is based. Concurrent Exhibitions also provide a platform for participating artists to engage with the global audience of ceramic enthusiasts to expand, challenge, and celebrate critical and aesthetic horizons of art made with clay. NCECA promotes Concurrent Exhibitions through the print conference guide, app, website, Blog and social media. While NCECA makes efforts to cluster the shows within art/ cultural districts to maximize viewer attendance, it is not able to guarantee that all exhibition venues will be included on tour routes.

2018 Exhibitions Focus
NCECA seeks exhibition proposals that incorporate clay as the principal medium of expression and have conceptual resonance with the theme of its 52nd annual conference, CrossCurrents: Clay and Culture. The conference will take place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in March 2018. Cross-currents within Pittsburgh’s three rivers are traversed by 446 bridges. These natural and cultural features are vibrant metaphors for the intersectionality, significance, and experience of different cultural constructs. Traditions and innovations coexist throughout the ceramic medium’s history. Our creative work with ceramic art in the 21st century can be a catalyst to generate dialog and empathy. When art grapples with change through underrepresented ideas, new models of creating, teaching, and learning, it has the capacity to crystalize experiences of diversity and notions of community. Through these exhibitions, NCECA hopes to share and promote innovative approaches to ceramic art that explore and highlight the experiences of diverse cultures within a dynamic society.

Proposals are welcomed from artists at various stages in their careers. Active membership in NCECA is a requirement for the person submitting the exhibition proposal whether as an exhibition organizer whose work is included in the exhibition or as a curator whose work is not included in the exhibition. Other artists included in the proposal are not required to be members of NCECA at the time the proposal is submitted.

NCECA appoints an exhibition committee composed of members of the conference region who have a knowledge of clay as a medium of expression in art and contemporary craft to review and select proposals. The committee will have a list of potential venues and select a cohort of exhibition proposals that it believes can be successfully sited in the conference region. Initial acceptance of a proposal means that NCECA’s Onsite Conference Liaisons will prioritize efforts to situate it with a suitable venue. NCECA’s exhibitions committee reserves the right to provisionally accept exhibition proposals and provide requirements for alterations to organizers and curators. Such alterations may include the exclusion of works or artists described in the initial proposal due to concerns about space/ installation requirements, quality, inconsistent cohesion between the proposal’s organizing concepts.

All selected and successfully placed exhibitions must be fully installed and open to the public beginning Tuesday morning, March 13 and must remain on view at least until 5pm on the closing day of the conference, Saturday, March 17, 2018. When and where-ever possible, NCECA encourages exhibitions to be available to the public for longer runs throughout the conference region prior to and following the conference.

NCECA does not provide direct financial support to individual exhibition proposals. It will make the utmost effort to highlight Concurrent Exhibitions to conference attendees and the general public through NCECA’s website, print exhibition guide, conference app and other communications.  Shuttle and excursion busses may not be able to include stops at all Concurrent Exhibitions. The Onsite Conference Liaisons will work with the transportation provider to develop routes that permit access to a high number of high impact venues within route duration and geographical limits.


Exhibition proposals that are submitted through the Concurrent Exhibition process but not selected may still seek venues in the conference region. If matched with a venue and paperwork is completed on time, these exhibitions may be included in promotional guides as Venue Originated Exhibitions.

Those venues organizing exhibitions independently of NCECA’s exhibition proposal process may choose to pay a promotional fee in order to be listed in NCECA’s promotional materials.

Keep in mind that more modestly scaled exhibitions including work of 10 or fewer artists will be more feasible to realize through this proposal and placement process. Many of the venues available to NCECA in Pittsburgh may be of the alternative space variety and lack the infrastructure typically found in commercial galleries, museums and nonprofits with ongoing exhibitions programs.

All proposals and accompanying support materials must be submitted online by 11:59pm Wednesday, February 1, 2017 (EST). Link provided below.

You will provide the following in the online application:

  • Your role regarding this exhibition. You must select one of the two following options:
    • Curator (You are responsible for the project’s organizing principles, selection of artists and presentation work, and your artwork is NOT included in the exhibition.)
    • Organizer (You are responsible for the project’s organizing principles, selection of artists and presentation work, and you ARE PARTICIPATING AS AN ARTIST in the exhibition.)
  • Curator/Organizer Resume (PDF or Word document not to exceed 2MB)
  • Exhibition Title
  • Exhibition Premise/Concept – Explain the premise of the exhibition and its relevance to the field. Pinpoint particular issues and concepts that the exhibition is exploring. Address the relationship of the exhibition to the conference theme, CrossCurrents: Clay and Culture. (maximum of 3000 characters with spaces).
  • A concise description of the exhibition to be used in NCECA promotional materials (maximum of 180 characters with spaces).
  • List of no more than 10 committed artists; First name, Last name, email address and personal website (For any artist involved in the proposal that does not have a website, indicate NO WEBSITE AVAILABLE).
  • Indicate why each artist’s work was chosen and how each relates to the overall exhibition concept. (maximum of 2000 characters with spaces).
  • Indicate whether or not you have already secured a venue for your proposal. If so, please provide the venue name, venue address, venue phone, venue website, venue contact person and venue contact email and (maximum of 1000 characters with spaces).
  • Exhibition Requirements – Indicate the minimum and maximum square footage your exhibition requires. Indicate if the venue must be able to accommodate wall hanging/ suspended works? If yes, provide a range of weights for these works.
  • Indicate whether you (and participating artists) are able to be responsible for the installation.
  • Indicate whether you are able to provide your own pedestals.
  • Understand that you and your venue are responsible for the security of the artwork in your exhibition. If the venue does not provide insurance are you able to self-insure or display the work at your own risk?
  • If the venue is unable to receive advanced shipment or store works included in the exhibition, are you able to see that the work arrives on the date that it can be installed and pack/remove the work on the exhibition’s closing date.
  • Include a range of weights and values of proposed work.

Proposals must include a minimum of 10 images/maximum 20 images.
(.jpg ONLY – Each image no larger than 800 KB.)
For video or audio files include a still image and link.
Image details required:

    • Artist First Name   Last Name  
    • Date of Piece
    • Title of Piece  
    • Brief Image Description  
    • Size: Height  x Width  x Depth  
    • Clay type
    • Firing/Decoration Method
Review Process and Selection Criteria

A committee including NCECA’s Exhibitions Director Leigh Taylor Mickelson, Onsite Conference Liaisons Shoji Satake of West Virginia University and Kate Lydon of the Society for Contemporary Craft, and independent curator Kilolo Luckett will review and select Concurrent Exhibition proposals.

Criteria for selection will include the following:

  • Quality of work samples and cohesiveness of the exhibition’s rationale will be the primary determining factors in the selection of proposals.
  • Proposals that address the conference theme in meaningful and innovative ways will be highly considered.
  • Solo and group exhibitions will be considered.
  • Exhibitions featuring more than one artist may have the best chance of being selected through this process.
  • Exhibitions with a high number of participants, however, may be challenging to place within potential venues.
  • While individual artists may be included in more than one proposal, NCECA seeks to have a diverse representation of artists included in the exhibitions program.

Stage 1
The NCECA exhibitions review committee will make an initial selection of proposals from this pool. Successful proposals from this stage of the application process will be matched with host organizations. Notification of initial proposal results will be sent to all applicants in early March 2017.

Stage 2
NCECA’s Onsite Conference Liaisons will begin to present potential venues in the conference region with selected exhibition proposals. Host venues working with the Onsite Conference Liaisons, will make final decisions on the placement of accepted Concurrent Exhibitions. NCECA cannot guarantee placement of every proposal approved in the review process.

NCECA will notify applicants of exhibition placement outcomes in summer through fall 2017.

All information on exhibitions to be promoted with the 2018 conference must be finalized and verified by mid-October 2017.

Artists and host venues are responsible to come to agreement on specific details and coordination of exhibitions. NCECA will no longer be directly involved in this process after host organizations begin to negotiate and plan individual shows. These details will be clearly explained in letters sent to the submitters of selected proposals.

On a limited basis, NCECA may be able to allocate space in the conference center or in a leased facility to selected Concurrent Exhibition proposals. In the event that such a space becomes available, participants will be required to waive any rights for claims or liability against NCECA. NCECA reserves the right to exercise a space fee and/or an agreement to a 20% commission on sales resulting from exhibitions in NCECA-provided spaces.

Basic Requirements for Artists and Venues

NCECA expects that all Concurrent Exhibitions will maintain levels of professionalism and be accessible to the public during all hours that are provided to NCECA for publication in the conference app and exhibition guide.

All exhibitions will be required to provide pertinent information on their exhibitions on a timeline that corresponds to NCECA’s app and print promotion deadlines. In general final information will be due for publication prior to the end of December 2017. NCECA may be unable to accommodate changes or additions to published information later than this date.

Signage, labels and price lists (except in instances where works are not available for purchase) are basic requirements of all Concurrent Exhibitions. Exhibitions must be fully installed and open to the public beginning Tuesday morning, March 13 and must remain on view until 5pm on the closing day of the conference, Saturday, March 17, 2018. Please consider withdrawing your proposal if you are not prepared to meet these essential terms.