Fertile Ground
Prospectus for 2022 Concurrent Exhibition Proposals

56th ANNUAL NCECA CONFERENCE – Sacramento, California
Wednesday March 16 – Saturday, March 19, 2022

Proposal deadline: April 28th, 2021 11:59PM (EDT)

For questions regarding technical assistance contact kate@nceca.net AND support@nceca.net

Is this the Best Call for My Exhibition Proposal?
NCECA’s Concurrent Exhibitions call is geared to artists and curators from the field at large, hoping to match an exhibition proposal with a venue in the conference region. Curators of venues based in the Sacramento region who are developing exhibition proposals of their own, are advised to participate in the call for Venue Originated Exhibition Proposals, which will open in early 2021 with a deadline of June 23, 2021.

NCECA’s Concurrent Exhibitions  program makes ceramic art visible and accessible throughout our conference host communities. These exhibitions, proposed by artists and curators, provide a platform for diverse participating artists to engage with the global audience of ceramic enthusiasts who attend NCECA’s annual conference 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.

2022 Concurrent Exhibitions Focus – Conference theme Fertile Ground.

Fertile Ground is the conference theme of NCECA’s 56th Annual Conference in Sacramento, California, which references Northern California’s artistic and agricultural abundance. Venues large and small in Sacramento and in surrounding communities will participate in this exciting art conference. Thematically curated sculpture, pottery, and installations are just some of the exhibitions that will be on view. NCECA’s goal is to: convene and engage people who care about ceramic art and education to cultivate learning, leadership, and excellence throughout the field. Building on transformative relationships regionally, nationally, and globally, NCECA will expand awareness of and deepen appreciation for the vitality and vibrancy of ceramic art, teaching and learning within our technologically influenced world.

Northern California is where the rise of modern studio ceramics took hold with the arrival of Marguerite Wildenhain, Antonio Prieto, and Edith Heath in the mid twentieth century. Their presence built upon the efforts of early 20th century potteries; and continued the practice of creative adaptation as applied by multimedia artist, Sargent Johnson, who moved to the area in 1915.

It is also here where Peter Voulkos retooled ceramics from pottery to fine art, attracting many artists to the region like James Melchert, Stephen De Staebler, and Richard Shaw. Transformative University of California, Davis professor, Robert Arneson, along with Viola Frey, Ron Nagle, and Ruth Rippon have always called Northern California home. Nearby Gladding, McBean in Lincoln–with its extensive and still-active clay caches–has been at the forefront of architectural ceramics. California’s Native communities along with the state’s multiculturalism foster a creative dynamism for innovative makers throughout the region forever changing the trajectory of contemporary ceramics.

Sacramento, as the epicenter of the national Farm to Fork Movement, also offers consistently excellent and affordable culinary experiences. Table Celebrations will foster community and friendships with fresh cuisine paired with handmade ceramic ware. In California’s capital city warm weather, blue skies, and great art await you!

NCECA seeks exhibition proposals that incorporate clay as the principal medium of expression. Proposals that bear resonance with the theme of NCECA’s 56th annual conference are strongly encouraged. The conference will take place March 16-19, 2022, though exhibitions are encouraged to run from dates preceding the event and run as late as June 2022.

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.
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 sense of the number 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 15, 2022 and must remain on view until at least 5pm on the closing day of the conference, Saturday, March 19, 2022. Longer exhibition runs are strongly encouraged. 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 buses 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.

Applicants are encouraged to be mindful 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 Sacramento 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 Wednesday, April 28, 2021 11:59pm (EDT).

***IMPORTANT***Although the system that supports this submission form does not currently include an active word counter, NCECA asks all applicants to note and adhere to word count limitations that are identified in open fields.

The best way to do this for most applicants will be to compose responses to these open fields first utilizing the word-processing software on your computer or device and take advantage of the included word-counting tools.

Once composed, proofed, and counted, you can copy your text from your local word processing software into the appropriate fields in the form. Please note that in some instances, special characters copied from word processing platforms may be converted in the form system. For this reason, we caution applicants on the use of special characters where not absolutely necessary.

NCECA reserves the right to exclude applications that disregard word count limits and to edit any and all text submitted for reasons ranging from space allocation to style, fluency of language, and grammatical concerns.

Applicants are strongly advised to prepare the following AND save a copy to your computer BEFORE starting the online submission process. Extended time in the form may cause the form to time out and the system to log you out. Your online submittal form must include the following or it will not be considered: (Only .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .pdx or .jpg files will be accepted as indicated below):

       1. 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.)
  1. Curator/Organizer Resume (PDF or Word document not to exceed 2MB)
  2. Exhibition Title
  3. 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, Fertile Ground. (maximum of 500 words).
  4. A concise description of the exhibition to be used in NCECA promotional materials (maximum of 30 words).
  5. 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).
  6. Indicate why each artist’s work was chosen and how each relates to the overall exhibition concept. (maximum of 350 words).
  7. 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 (maximum of 165 words).

Exhibition Requirements – 

  1. 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.
  2. Indicate whether you (and participating artists) are able to be responsible for the installation.
  3. Indicate whether you are able to provide your own pedestals.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
  6. Include a range of weights and values of proposed work.

Proposal Images – 
Proposals must include a MINIMUM of 10 images with a MAXIMUM of 20 images.
(.jpg ONLY – Each image no larger than 800 KB.) 
For video or audio files include a still image and link to the video or audio file.
Image details required:

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

Review Process and Selection Criteria

  • Review Process and Selection Criteria – A 2022 NCECA conference exhibitions committee including NCECA’s Exhibitions Director Brett Binford, Nancy Servis – Onsite Conference Liaison, as well as author, curator, educator, and ceramic historian, and others will review all 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 late May 2021.

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 2021. All information on exhibitions to be promoted with the 2022 conference must be finalized and verified by the end November 2021.

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 the 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 November 2021. 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 15, 2022 and must remain on view until 5pm on the closing day of the conference, Saturday, March 19, 2022. Please consider withdrawing your proposal if you are not prepared to meet these essential terms.

For questions regarding technical assistance contact kate@nceca.net AND support@nceca.net

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