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 program as the 9th best in the country. In addition to his teaching, he continues to exhibit widely, and his artwork is found in a number of notable collections, including the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the Sheldon Art Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska.
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 career, he has taught professional workshops at Anderson Ranch, Arrowmont, Penland, the Archie Bray Foundation, over 20 colleges and universities, and at numerous community art centers.
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 creation of an expanded design program, created a new department digital lab and oversaw the creation of two new undergraduate programs. He has also been active in art accreditation, serving on several occasions as a site visitor for the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
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 NCECA and Utilitarian Clay. Over the last 25 years, his writing and his work have appeared in Ceramics Monthly, Studio Potter, Clay Times and Ceramics Art & Perception.
|Past President 2020-2021
Florida State University
Holly Hanessian is a Professor of Art and the Area Head of Ceramics at Florida State University. She was the Exhibitions Director for NCECA from 2005-2008.Her current artwork explores food justice, social inequities, the digital versus the analogue experience of touch and sensory immersive moments through creating socially engaged artworks. Her work can be seen at the 2019 NCECA conference at the exhibitions, “Ferment” that is within walking distance and at “OIKOS Systems” at the St. Paul Academy in the Drake Gallery adjacent to St. Catherine’s University.She is a member of the Socially Engaged Craft Collective and artaxis.org. Her work can be found at www.hollyhanessian.com and at https://sociallyengagedcraftcollective.org/www.Artaxis.org and www.accessCeramics.org
|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 the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. Past NCECA service includes her time as one of the 2013 Conference Liaisons for the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, and service as an NCECA board member from 2012-2013. Conference presentations include, ‘Clouds: Capturing Ephemeral Imagery in Enduring Materials,’ which was presented at the 2014 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts conference.
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
|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)
|Programs Director 2015-2021
Mary K. Cloonan
Mary K. Cloonan was born and raised in Western New York State, receiving a BS in education from Nazareth College in Rochester, NY. She then went East to earn her MFA in ceramics from Syracuse University. She has since headed South to become the Exhibitions Director, resident artist and teacher at Baltimore Clayworks in Maryland and is also a ceramics professor at Towson University in Maryland. National and international art journals have published articles she has written, as well as those written about her own work. In addition to giving workshops to various art centers around the country, she has participated in an artist residency in Taiwan at Tainan University for the Arts. Her work has been exhibited around the country and is in many private collections. Most artists have a touchstone of artistic epiphany, she blames that salty Play-Doh.
|Board Liaison to Green Task Force
Executive Committee Finance Committee
K-12 Programming selection Process Room
|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.
|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 2018-2021
University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, Indiana
Zach works at the University of Notre Dame as a research associate for the Ceramics Department and is been the Executive Director of Goshen Youth Arts -a non-profit organization serving youth ages 9-19. He received his B.F.A. in ceramics from Missouri State University his M.F.A.
from Texas Tech University.
|NCECA Clay Conversations|
|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 2019-2021|
Arizona State University