BOARD OF DIRECTORS
|Primary Contact Information||Committees & Key Roles|
Peter Pinnell earned a BA degree studying music at Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri, a BFA in art at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University (Alfred, NY) and an MFA in Art from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
For the first 12 years of his career Pinnell made his living as a studio potter. During this time, he taught part-time at the Kansas City Art Institute and at Johnson County Community College in Kansas. In 1995 he joined the faculty at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Over the last 20 years, he and his colleagues have built a nationally recognized ceramics program: US News & World Report ranks the UNL graduate ceramics
From 2008 to 2014, he held the honorary college title of Hixson-Lied Professor of Ceramics, in recognition of his exhibition record. Pinnell’s record as a teacher extends beyond the university. During the course of
At the University of Nebraska, Pinnell served as chair of the Department of Art & Art History from 2011 to 2016. During that time, he led the department through the reaccreditation process, spearheaded the
Pinnell enjoys researching the history and aesthetics of ceramics, which informs both his creative work as well as his teaching. He has spoken on these topics at a number of major ceramics conferences, including
|Steward of the Board 2020-2022
Merrie Wright received a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, and an MFA from Louisiana State University. She currently lives in East Texas and is Professor and Department Chair of Art & Art History at the University of Texas at Tyler.
Wright exhibits her work nationally, has received numerous exhibition awards for her work, and has been cited in several publications, including Ceramics Monthly. She is currently serving as Steward of the Board for
Studio art residencies have become a central part of Wright’s studio practice. She was awarded an International Residency through a partnership with NCECA and The Banff Centre in 2014 (six-weeks), a short-term residency at Red Lodge Clay Center during the winter of 2016-2017 (3-weeks), and she was the host artist for a Artist Invites-Artists group residency at the Red Lodge Clay Center in May 2019 (11 days). Her most recent residency was a return to the Banff Centre to complete her fourth residency, as a Banff Artist in Residence, for the 2020 Winter Residency program (six-weeks). To learn more about her visit www.merriewright.com.
Rhonda Willers is a visual artist, writer, researcher, and author of the book,
Terra Sigillata: Contemporary Techniques. Focusing on fragility, space, and subtle strength, she works with repetitive forms and markings to elicit thoughts of memories, spiritual spaces, and rituals. Her diverse art practice includes ceramics, mixed media, drawing, painting, and time-based interactive installations and experiences. Rhonda earned her BFA degree from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls (ceramics & photography), completed post-baccalaureate studies at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, and earned her MFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her writing and work can be found in: Pottery Making Illustrated, Ceramics Monthly, and Ceramics Technical. She leads workshops focused on the making and using of terra sigillata. Rhonda was a senior lecturer of art for 11 years before becoming a full-time studio artist and writer. She
actively engages in the ceramics community through her service as a volunteer working board member for NCECA. Rhonda lives and works in Rural Elk Mound, Wisconsin, with her husband, three children, and two old cats, Bob and Edna. Visit: www.rhondawillers.com to learn more.
Reena Kashyap had a corporate career before she entered the field of ceramics. She apprenticed at the Filmeridis studio in Bahrain and then studied ceramics with Judith Weber of New Rochelle before setting up her own studio in 1989, making functional porcelain and stoneware pottery. Over more than twenty years, she has participated in several regional juried craft shows and group exhibitions. She was invited in 2000 to participate as a Resident at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, in Maine. Her work was featured in “500 Cups” published by Lark Books in April 2005, Prior leadership roles as the founding Executive Director of the Clay Art Center in Port Chester (New York) through 2012, a term as Director at Large on the board of NCECA, as well as service on the boards of the Arts Westchester & The Volunteer Center of the United Way. Reena is now back in the studio making pots and deeply immersed in developing a new body of work.
|Chair Finance Committee
Alex Hibbitt is currently the Graduate Chair of the Ohio University School of Art. She has exhibited widely in Europe and the US, including The Soap Factory, Minneapolis, The Witte Voet Gallery, Amsterdam, The Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague. Awards include a McKnight Foundation residency award, An Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and an emerging artist award from the Netherlands Foundation for Fine Arts, Design and Architecture.
|Chair – Curatorial Task Force
|Governance, Advocacy, Policy Director 2021-2024
MaPó Kinnord grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. She received her first training in ceramics through Cleveland’s Quaker-founded alternative high school, the School on Magnolia. She apprenticed with several production potters before receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Art in 1984. She received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Ohio State University in 1994. Arriving in New Orleans in 1995, she now serves as an Associate Professor of Art at Xavier University. A well-respected educator, Kinnord has taught workshops at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine and the Penland School of Craft in North Carolina, as well as the Kambe no Sato Arts Center in Matsue, Japan. She has researched the traditional and contemporary art of Ghana and has produced video documentation of the traditional pottery, kiln building and ceramic architecture of Northern Ghana, West Africa.
|Collaboration and Engagement Director 2021-2024
Heidi McKenzie is a Toronto-based ceramic artist. In 2009, Heidi left a 20-year career in arts management and production to apprentice in her father’s ancestral home with India’s foremost studio potter, Mini Singh (a student of Bernard Leach). Heidi returned to Canada and completed her Diploma at Sheridan College in 2012 and subsequently her MFA in Curatorial Practice and Art Criticism at OCADU in 2014. In 2011 Heidi received the Emerging Artist Award at Toronto Artists Project, and in 2012 exhibited at the Toronto International Art Fair. In 2013, Heidi was funded by the Ontario Arts Council to create in Jingdezhen, China and in Bali, Indonesia. In 2014 Heidi completed a residency at Guldagergaard International Centre for Ceramic Research. In 2017 Heidi received OAC funding to work in Sydney Australia, to apprentice with Master Mitsuo Shoji. Heidi has exhibited nationally and internationally, including biennales and Romania, Hungary, Australia and at NCECA (Milwaukee, Portland,Cincinnati). Her work is currently touring Europe and Scandinavia as part of the “best of” exhibitions with Cluj Biennial and Guldagergaard. She is the recipient of a 2017 and 2019 Craft Ontario Awards, Best in Show Ontario Artists Association Biennial Award in 2017, Canada Council Explore and Create Visual Artist Grant, and Toronto Arts Council Grant to Mid-Career Artists. In 2020, she was an inaugural recipient of the NCECA Helene Zucker Seeman Curatorial, Research, and Critical Writing Fellowship for Women.
Heidi’s work, Postmarked, on growing up at the margins in the Maritimes, was recently acquired by Global Affairs Canada to be placed in embassies internationally. Heidi curated/exhibited/moderated on ‘Decolonizing Clay’ at the Australian Ceramics Triennale in 2019, and recently presented at the World Indian Diaspora Congress in Trinidad August 2020. Heidi’s work seeks to reinvigorate modernism through abstraction and engages issues of race, identity, belonging, as well as body and healing. She is an advocate for BIPOC and marginalized artists, an active arts journalist and ceramic arts reviewer.
|Exhibitions Director 2020-2023
Eutectic Gallery Portland, Oregon
Brett Binford is an artist and entrepreneur residing in Portland, Oregon. He is the co-owner of Mudshark Studios, Eutectic Gallery, Kept Goods, and Clay Street. Brett is currently Mudshark Studios’ CEO as well as Eutectic Gallery’s and the Gallery Director. Brett first served on NCECA’s board as an Onsite Conference Liaison for the 51st annual conference held in Portland, Oregon in 2017 and is currently serving as the Exhibitions Director.
In addition to his board service for NCECA, Brett serves as the Board President for the Portland Art Dealers Association as an advisor to Township10 and Programs Director for the LH Project.
Exhibitions Committee (per conference)
|Communications Director 2020-2023
Edith Garcia is actively engaged in critical research on the convergence of contemporary art, technologies, education, and design with curatorial projects, publishing, and the realization of creative productions. Garcia received her BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, MFA from the California College of the Arts, and a research degree MPhil at the Royal College of Art in London. She has authored and been an editor for numerous articles for publication on visual and design culture, including and VJ: Audio-Visual Art and VJ Culture with D-Fuse (Laurence King Publishing) and Ceramics and the Human Figure, A&C Black (Bloomsbury Publishing).
Garcia has long embraced unconventional and experimental projects, within her research and creative productions she addresses the ideas of transience, the status of the object in contemporary art theory, and the consciousness of our contemporaneity as a society. Her projects have been exhibited throughout North America, Mexico, and Europe and have been the recipient of national and international awards, artists in residencies, and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at the California College of the Arts. Garcia academic affiliates include the Department of Art Practice at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Fine Arts and Humanities and Science Programs at the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA. Website: edithgarciastudio.com
|Communications Task Force
|Director at Large 2019-2022
Tyler School of Art and Architecture
Lauren Sandler is a ceramic artist and educator whose work deconstructs mythologies and investigates narratives of power and perspective. Her practice amplifies interdependence, highlights stories obfuscated or erased, and implicates our assumptions of normal and worth. Sandler exhibits nationally, as well as lectures and publishes concerning contemporary and historic issues in ceramics. She holds an MFA in Ceramics from Penn State University, and undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and Ceramics from Ithaca College and SUNY New Paltz. She is Assistant Professor and Program Head of Ceramics at Tyler School of Art and Architecture and currently serves on the Board of The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts as Director at Large
Diversity Task Force
|Director at Large 2020-2023
Simon Levin has been working in clay since 1990, when an elective ceramics course in collegelead to an M.A. and an M.F.A from the University of Iowa. He is a full time studio potter working exclusively with wood firing. His work is exhibited and published internationally. Simon is a writer for many ceramic journals, though he dislikes writing about himself in the third person. In2013 he was a Senior Fulbright Scholar researching local materials. Simon has built wood firedkilns for both US colleges and universities as well as schools in Taiwan and China. Between2004 and 2019 his apprenticeship program has trained and influenced 21 potters. A resident ofWisconsin for 18 years, Simon has recently moved to Pawnee Illinois where he is currently re-establishing his pottery.
|Student Director at Large
Florida State University
Awards Solicitation Assistant
Student Critique Mentor
Solicitation/Student Sign-up Student
|2022 Onsite Liaison – Sacramento, CA 2020-2022
Nancy M. Servis, Sacramento, California, is a recognized author, curator, educator, and ceramic historian specializing in Northern California ceramics. She has been an active member of the greater San Francisco Bay Area ceramics community for nearly thirty years where she curated insightful exhibitions for galleries and museums and devised college curriculum on the topic of California clay. As a frequent guest lecturer, Nancy has shared her seasoned perspective nationally speaking at the Harvard Ceramics Program, Greenwich House Pottery in New York and select NCECA conferences. Her writing is featured in periodicals like Ceramics: Art + Perception, Neue Keramik, Studio Potter, and the NCECA Journal. She also is the author of several artist biographies and exhibition catalogues. In 2014 Nancy was the Jentel Critic/Writer in Residence at the Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts in Helena, Montana, and was recently inducted into the International Academy of Ceramics located in Geneva, Switzerland. Presently, Nancy is completing her book on the history of Northern California ceramics. In addition to her commitment to preserving, documenting, and exhibiting the work of Northern California ceramics artists, Nancy is a passionate dog lover and regularly fosters Weimaraners. For more information visit her website www.servisarts.com.
|Programs Director (2021-2024)
Chanda Zea is an artist, teacher, and maker with a deep love for building community through clay, and the Programs Director at Pottery Northwest in Seattle WA. She is active in the national field of ceramics through various teaching appointments, residencies and non-profit board service. In addition to maintaining a thriving studio practice, Chanda remains involved with Gather:Make:Shelter, a collaborative art project engaging and benefitting houseless members of the Portland com munity. Her diverse studio practice ranges from large installations to utilitarian ceramics, and is inspired by the processes of making as well as objects of industrial and mid- century modern design. Her work can be found at Eutectic Gallery, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and Pottery Northwest. To learn more visit her website chandazea.com, or follow her on social media @chandazea.
|Board Liaison to Green Task Force
|Director at Large 2021-2024|