MULTIVALENT: Clay, Mindfulness and Memory
54th Annual conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts
Richmond, Virginia March 25-28, 2020

NCECA’s 54th annual conference in Richmond will explore ways that ceramic artists are charting new pathways from the complex meanings of our interwoven histories. NCECA is particularly interested in presenting programming that enriches the theme of this conference, MULTIVALENT: Clay, Mindfulness and Memory. Ceramic art’s diversity of expression and continuous invention generates affinities that extend human imagination. NCECA’s 54th annual conference will explore ways that ceramic artists are charting new pathways from the complex meanings of our interwoven histories.


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NCECA’s Emerging Artists program seeks to identify under-recognized artists doing extraordinary work in ceramic art and highlight them to an international audience during NCECA’s Annual Conference. Curator Sequoia Miller and artist Kevin Snipes will join NCECA Director at Large Julia Galloway as the panel to select Emerging Artists through a review of statements, images, and support documents submitted for consideration. Each of the six Emerging Artists will receive a $3,300 honorarium. One female-identifying individual selected as an Emerging Artist will receive an additional $2,000 stipend in honor of the late Helene Zucker Seeman, curator and ceramic art enthusiast. All Emerging Artists will provide articles to be published in the NCECA Journal, exhibit their work, and make presentations during the 2020 NCECA conference in Richmond. Additional opportunities for promotion may occur through NCECA’s blog and other special programming. Exposure during the conference also includes participation in informal talks and special events.

NCECA believes that those creating work offering new/exciting/thoughtful perspectives on the ceramic medium, expanding upon genres of creative production and inquiry are qualified as candidates for its Emerging Artist awards.  An Emerging Artist may be at the early stages of receiving recognition for his/her work but is currently underrepresented through exhibitions or publications that might otherwise bring the work to wide attention. The intent of the award is to recognize, cultivate and amplify vital, new voices of creative endeavor in ceramics. The award enables these artists to reach broader national and international audiences and impact discourse in the field.

Because the concept of emergence in the arts does not invariably correlate with a specific age, or other quantifiable terms, NCECA requires applicants to briefly describe why they perceive themselves to be at an emergent point in their careers and how they anticipate the award will impact the trajectory of their endeavors. The review committee, at their discretion, may eliminate candidates that are considered to be beyond “emerging.”

Contact Julia Galloway, NCECA Director at Large,
gallowaynceca@gmail.com for questions about the Emerging Artists program and exhibition

Applications are welcomed from artists working with ceramic materials/processes as a significant component of their work.  A current NCECA Membership, at the time of application, is required to be eligible to apply for NCECA’s Emerging Artists. Applicants may not be students.

Membership in NCECA is paid on an annual basis and is not included in conference registration. NCECA membership runs 12 months from the date of joining or renewal. If you are unsure of your Membership status, please LOGIN to your NCECA Profile which contains your membership expiration date or contact kate@nceca.net.  To renew or become a member of NCECA, go to:www.nceca.net/membership/

All proposals must be submitted using NCECA’s Online Submittal process. If you encounter problems and require technical assistance with submission contact:
kate@nceca.net and candice@nceca.net

***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 BEFORE starting the online submission process. Your online submittal form MUST include the following or it will not be considered (Only .doc, .docx, .pdf files will be accepted):

  • Name/contact information will auto-populate once you log in to the NCECA database.
  • Resume (2-page limit, upload as .doc, .docx or .pdf, not to exceed 2MB) Emphasize pertinent professional experience; exhibitions; teaching, residencies, collection, publications.
  • Short Bio (Limit of 50 words)
  • Head shot (upload as jpg, 100dpi 2”x3”)
  • Artist Statement – Describe your work, work process, and artistic goals. (Limit of 250 words)
  • Emerging Statement – Articulate why you believe you are at an “emerging” point in your career, and how this award will benefit your studio practice. (Limit of 300 words)
  • Program Guide description – (Limit of 50 words)
  • Images – EXACTLY 10 images (Only images that directly reference the actual proposal) Note: Panelists will review these images as well as your website or social media related to your artwork. (jpg ONLY. Each image no larger than 800 KB – Image Submission Guidelines)

Image details to include: 
• Image Title
• Relevance to presentation – (Limit of 50 words)
• Brief Image description – to include Artist name, title, date of piece, type of clay, firing, dimensions (H x W x D), photo credit if applicable. (Limit of 50 words)

Applicants are also required to provide letters of support from two figures in the field who are familiar with their work and drive to create. Letters should provide the selection committee with a sense of confirmation of the candidates’ seriousness of commitment and potential for continued development.

If your proposal is accepted the Program Guide description, short bio, images of Artwork and headshot may be be used for website and print publications.

Recommenders’ information:

  • Include: Name, best phone, email, and relation to applicant. Applicants are required to provide essays of support from two figures in the field who are familiar with their work and drive to create and should provide the selection committee with a sense of the candidates’ seriousness of commitment and potential for continued development.
  • All Essays of Recommendation are to be submitted confidentially by the Recommender to emergingartists@nceca.net. Be proactive and do not wait until the deadline is about to expire. It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide the two questions below early enough to enable Recommenders to complete and email responses prior to the October 2, 2019 (11:59pm EDT) deadline.
  • For ease of communication with your recommenders, please copy and send these instructions to your recommenders.
  • Email responses to the questions below are due no later than the October 2, 2019 (11:59pm EDT) deadline to emergingartists@nceca.net
  • Confidential email subject line to be formatted as Applicant Last name_First name_2020 EA
     Document may be attached as .doc, .docx, or pdf ONLY.

***Recommender document to include:

Recommender name, best phone, email, and relation to applicant.

Question 1: Please provide the jurors with a sense of the candidates’ seriousness of commitment and potential for continued development. (Suggested limit of 450 words)

Question 2: How does this artist offer new/exciting/thoughtful perspectives on the ceramic medium, expanding upon genres of creative production and inquiry? What qualifies them to be candidates for the Emerging Artist awards? (Suggested limit of 450 words)

NCECA recommends using Google Chrome or Firefox when using forms on this site. Some forms do not respond well to Internet Explorer or Safari.

The 2020 NCECA Emerging Artists selection panel will identify six (6) artists for the 2020 conference. Selected artists will receive a monetary award, complimentary registration for NCECA’s 54th Annual Conference in Richmond, VA (March 25-28, 2020), and an additional year’s NCECA membership. Applicants will be notified as soon as selections have been made.

Those selected for this award will receive a monetary honorarium in return for completing all responsibilities associated with the award. A detailed agreement including terms, conditions, and deadlines  associated with this honor will be sent to the selected artists following completion of identification process. Failure to meet deadlines and requirements may result in withholding of the award and its benefits.

The selected artists will be required to attend the 54th Annual NCECA Conference in Richmond, VA (March 25-28, 2020) at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, participate in special “meet and greet” events with collectors, present gallery talks (Wednesday March 25), serve on a NCECA Clay Conversations panel session (Wednesday, March 25), prepare remarks, and make presentations (approximately 10 minutes in duration) during NCECA’s 54th Annual Conference.

Artists selected as 2020 Emerging Artists must provide a written summary of their presentation for the NCECA Annual Conference for publication in the NCECA Journal by December 17, 2019. This summary must be accompanied by five (5) 300 dpi images appropriate for print publication. Also required by this date is a 50-word abstract of this submission to be included in the 2020 NCECA Conference Program Guide.

Selected artists’ images and application materials will be retained by NCECA and will be held in the NCECA archives. Images may be used to promote NCECA’s Emerging Artists program and may be posted on NCECA’s website and contributed to a new NCECA image community being developed in cooperation with AccessCeramics. Emerging Artists will be considered conference presenters and will therefore be ineligible for a presenter role or honorarium in the year following the award.

Emerging Artists will also be eligible for a $300.00 shipping reimbursement to transport work for a featured exhibition at the conference center from Tuesday – Friday, March 24-27, 2020. Artists are required to help install/de-install their work, be present periodically during the course of the Emerging Artists Exhibition.  Emerging Artists will also be required to participate in individual interviews to be posted to blog.nceca.net and possibly be disseminated via other blogs/ websites.

NCECA requires each award recipient to provide a reflection on the impact of their award on the development of their work, life, and career. This statement must be sent to josh@nceca.net by August 30, 2020 so that comments can be incorporated into an annual report.

NCECA invites awarded Emerging Artists to provide blog posts to NCECA throughout the year of the award. These posts may link to the artists’ own websites or blogs.


Online Submittal deadline:  October 2, 2019 11:59pm (EDT)
Acceptance notification:  Late October 2019
Journal copy and Program Guide copy due by: December 17, 2019
Exhibition Inventory sheet due by: February 1, 2020

Conference dates: March 25-28, 2020
Emerging Artists Exhibition dates: March 24-27, 2020
Emerging Artists Exhibition set up: March 24, 2020 8am-4:30pm
Gallery Expo, Emerging Artists Exhibition, and Projects Space reception: March 24, 2020 6-8pm (6-6:60pm Private, 6:30-8p open to the public)

Shipping Reimbursement request deadline: May 1, 2020
Reflective statement due to josh@nceca.net : August 30, 2020

If you encounter problems and require technical assistance with submission contact kate@nceca.net and candice@nceca.net prior to the submission deadline.