NCECA is a not-for-profit educational organization that provides valuable resources and support for individuals, schools and organizations with an abiding interest in the ceramic arts.
NCECA was founded as a non-profit organization in 1966 after several years of affiliation with the Ceramics Education Council of the American Ceramic Society. NCECA’s founding charter was developed by forward-thinking ceramic artists who saw the benefits of a professional organization in its ability to create identity, definition and support for the ceramics teacher and artist, and to promote advancement of the ceramic arts. NCECA President William Perry wrote in the inaugural issue of the NCECA Newsletter:
“There is no question about our opportunity to amplify the effect of what we do separately by the association that this organization represents. However we might spell out our objectives and possible activities, they are but extensions of our most basic gratification in getting together to swap pots and ideas, to show slides, to look and listen to others with similar interests—away from and out of the context of our individual situations. NCECA is therefore primarily an agency using the resources in time and money surrendered by its membership to guarantee this annual event and the communications and preparations incidental to it.”
There were 22 ceramic art educators from 17 colleges at the initial ASC Ceramic Education Council meeting in 1961, and during its first decade, NCECA was a small gathering of a few hundred artists. In the 1980s it grew to more than 1,000 members and today comprises more than 4,000 members. The annual NCECA conference is the world’s largest event held in the field of ceramic arts. NCECA has been a unique artists-run organization since its inception. Dedicated individuals have made NCECA what it is today—a vital, significant, fiscally-solvent organization that is a model of success to other arts organizations.
Since 2001, the NCECA office has been located in Erie, Colorado. The NCECA staff—executive director, conference manager, office manager, projects manager, webmaster and bookkeeper—operates from this home base. A part time publications director works remotely. The staff works with the volunteer Board of Directors to conduct the activities and administer the programs of the Council. The Board of Directors convenes to conduct business at three meetings each year: at the spring conference, in late May in the host city for the coming conference, and in October in the host city for the following year’s conference.
Officers of the Board are elected by the membership at its annual meeting. While historically, board members have primarily come from the ranks of university ceramics programs, others have been full-time studio artists, K-12 educators and business people. Their nominations mark the evolution of the Council to an organization that serves the full spectrum of potters, sculptors, educators, students, businesses and non-profit organizations engaged in the ceramic arts.