2021 NCECA Virtual Conference March 17-21, 2021

NCECA 2021 will be presented as an online event filled with rich and varied content including lectures, panels, demonstrations, networking opportunities, student critiques, and virtual exhibition halls for exhibitions, vendors, schools and organizations. The 2021 NCECA Annual at the Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery, the 2021 NCECA Juried Student Exhibition at DAAP Galleries of the University of Cincinnati, and the 2021 Multicultural Fellowship Exhibition will move forward with installations in Cincinnati. The venues will be accessible to visitors in accordance with local guidelines, and NCECA is working with them to share the exhibitions virtually.

NCECA 2021 will be realized a virtual conference platform. The environment will appeal to many attendees of the place-based annual event, while also being accessible to those who have been unable to participate in the past.

NCECA 2021 Conference Theme- Rivers, Reflections, Reinventions Waterways, natural and constructed, are key features of the Cincinnati region. Poet Langston Hughes captured an essential metaphor for the ways in which water courses through time and territory to mirror the experience of our inner lives. “My soul has grown deep like the rivers,” tells us that our lives are forever changing, our life spans occupying but a fraction of the events that occur throughout the natural and crafted world over time. Knowledge and experience change us, our personal courses moved. The Seneca gave us the name Ohio meaning great river. Rivers are essential to ceramic art’s natural and cultural histories. Clays, minerals, stories, ideas, and aspirations of those who create are all transported through rivers’ currents, figurative and literal. Like clay hardened in fire, rivers far outlast us.

NCECA 2021 would not be possible without years of work and relationship building on the ground in Cincinnati. Although the live event cannot be safely held there this year, NCECA is already working with key planners there to produce a future conference at a time when travel and gathering are safer for a broad spectrum of our communities.

NCECA 2021 Conference Keynotes

The programming schedule for the 2021 Virtual Conference is structured around daily themes and keynote speakers to engage with topical concerns, reflect, and inspire action through ceramic art, teaching and learning. Wednesday’s theme will be Advocacy & Activism; Thursday’s, Global Community; Friday’s, Education; and Saturday’s, Responsive Practice. Each day’s keynote speaker will offer vital perspectives on current issues in contemporary culture.

For Freedoms, left to right, Michelle Woo, Eric Gottesman, Jun Mabuchi, Claudia Peña, Manushka Magloire

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 | Advocacy & Activism

Advocacy & Activism presentations will question established canons and discuss ways through which engagement with change takes place. Can we leverage our sensibilities for clay’s plasticity to engender change in the world around us?

 For Freedoms and The Infinite Playbook with Eric Gottesman, Michelle Woo, Claudia Peña, Manushka Magloire, and Jun Mabuchi will discuss healing, justice, and the power of listening in a conversation. For Freedoms’ exhibitions, installations, and public programs have used art to deepen public discussion on civic issues and core values, and to advocate for equality, dialogue, and civic participation.

Thursday, March 18, 2021 | Global Community

Global Community presentations will address international concerns and the impact of intercultural exchange and explore ways of creating communities of opportunity. In this time of a global pandemic, perhaps we have never been more connected despite the physical distances that separate us.

Kwame Akoto-Bamfo is a versatile Ghanaian artist known for his work Nkyinkyim Installation/Museum, cultural activism, and contributions to Ghanaian tertiary institutions and traditional communities. His outdoor sculpture on display at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama  dedicated to the memory of victims of the Transatlantic slave trade,  is connected to a larger installation in Ghana of the same name made up of over 1,500 portraits of Africans in the Diaspora.

Friday, March 19, 2021 | Education

Education presentations will investigate innovations and reinventions of teaching modalities, resources, and models to create equitable and accessible learning environments and opportunities. Critical responses to current circumstances will address anti-racist approaches in education and generate discussion on resources for school and community contexts.

Dr. Ahna Skop is a geneticist, artist, science communicator, and champion for the underrepresented in science. Her lab studies how cells divide, through processes dependent on visual data, which dovetails perfectly with her passions for art. Skop has several scientific art installations on the UW-Madison campus. She has also curated and created several traveling science art exhibitions. She majored in biology and minored in ceramics at Syracuse University, obtained her Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology at UW-Madison, and her postdoctoral work at UC-Berkeley. Ahna Skop is a Professor in the Laboratory of Genetics and an affiliate faculty member in Life Sciences Communication and the Division of the Arts at the UW-Madison.

Saturday, March 20, 2021 | Responsive Practice

Responsive Practice presentations will provide a platform to share, and consider new ways to integrate theories and methods to build resilient, adaptive, and inclusive practices and opportunities in the ceramic arts.

Ronald Rael draws, builds, writes, 3-D prints, and teaches about architecture and craft as a cultural endeavor deeply influenced by a unique upbringing in a desolate alpine valley in southern Colorado. As the San Francisco Chronicle writes, “[Rael’s] imagination is audacious. He speculates on the implications of the border wall, building with mud, and using 3-D printers to create buildings — as seen in his books Borderwall as Architecture, Earth Architecture, and Printing Architecture. Rael is a professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and is a founding partner of the Oakland-based Make-Tank, Emerging Objects. You can see his drawings, models, and objects in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Sunday, March 21, 2021 | Closing Keynote

Myths, Stories and the Truth “Clay is the common denominator for thousands of NCECA members. The paths that led every one of us to become this NCECA statistic have their own personal journey to share. This is the story of my journey”. Winnie Owens-Hart, is an educator, artist, filmmaker, author, and critical thinker in matters of clay, art, and culture. She has taught at Howard University for more than 37 years and has conducted research, exhibited, and presented lectures internationally. She has worked with women in a pottery village in Ghana for more than a decade. As both a published author and curator, Owens-Hart has curated exhibitions primarily focused on contemporary African American artists and has also produced documentary films, including Style & Technique-Four Pottery Villages and The Traditional Potters of Ghana-The Women of Kuli. Over more than four decades, her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally with work in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, The John Michael Kohler Art Museum, universities, and private collections.

Kensuke Yamada
Syd Carpenter
Suze Lindsay
Richard Zane Smith

NCECA 2021 Demonstrating Artists are highlighted throughout the conference. During sessions on Wednesday and Friday, March 17 and 19, Syd Carpenter will present Places of Our Own: Portraits of African American Farms. Using a collage approach, Syd will work on one or two sculptures based on maps of African American farms and gardens using prefabricated leather hard components. Also on these days, Kensuke Yamada will present Figuring Out sharing hand-building techniques to construct heads and a full sized figure. On Thursday, March 18 and Saturday, March 20, Suze Lindsay’s Going Vertical will focus on pottery forms constructed from thrown and hand-built elements incorporating altered, combined, and stacked feet and exaggerated necks. Wyandot artist Richard Zane Smith’s Awakenings will investigate coil building methods while sharing thoughts, stories, life experiences, about reviving ancient arts, and reawakening techniques of his own ancestors while helping to revitalize pottery techniques for other indigenous peoples.

CLICK HERE for 2021 Registration Types & Pricing