CrossCurrents: Clay and Culture
52nd Annual conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania March 14 – 17, 2018

Deadline JUNE 28, 2017 (11:59PM EDT)
(All calls will be temporarily closed through July 31 for website maintenance)

Any questions pertaining to the call should be directed via email to NCECA Projects Manager Kate Vorhaus kate@nceca.net

If you encounter problems and require technical assistance with submission contact candice@nceca.net or kate@nceca.net

NCECA seeks Projects Space proposals that have conceptual resonance with the theme of its 52nd Annual Conference, CrossCurrents: Clay and Culture, which takes place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania March 14 – 17, 2018. A city of rivers, bridges, complex immigrant history, gritty perseverance, and reinvention, Pittsburgh is a place in which clay people can gather to share knowledge, celebrate and critique our work in arts, culture, teaching and learning.

  • What are the sources of inspiration that influence and impact our work today?
  • How are we grappling with issues to keep clay vital in classrooms, museums, and community settings?
  • How are our ideas about and practices of making changing?
  • How are we learning from and adapting to the interplay of cultures in the contemporary world? 
  • What is at stake as we work to sustain cultural legacies in a shifting present and unknown future?
  • How can we deepen appreciation and expand engagement with clay for individuals and communities? 
  • What do we hope to achieve through these deepened and expanded experiences?

Projects Space is a platform for ceramic artists to create and present works during the annual conference that incorporate clay as medium in time-based, performative, relational, or site responsive work. 3-5 projects will be selected to take place in spaces created in a publicly accessible area of the David L Lawrence Convention Center. Artists will create their works on-site interacting with visitors from Tuesday evening through Friday afternoon of the conference.

Successful proposals will be those that engage with the concept of CrossCurrents: Clay and Culture using the medium of clay as a central focus, and also with materials, processes, and audience in unique and unconventional ways. Artists should keep in mind that Projects Space is staged at the heart of the NCECA Conference, and works are meant to occur, grow and change throughout the duration of the conference.

NCECA reviews and selects programming from proposals submitted from the field as an important component of conference planning. Additionally, NCECA reserves the right to curate and develop programming that strengthens the quality and range of experiences related to the conference theme, sense of place, and other strategic objectives.

NCECA’s annual conference has earned a reputation worldwide as a premier event for ceramic art drawing thousands each year. CrossCurrents: Clay and Culture will join ceramic art’s historic engagement with empirical research and discovery to today’s evolving creative commons.

View full prospectus (pdf)

Criteria for the Application Process

Everyone is eligible EXCEPT for those who participated in the program in Portland, OR during NCECA 2017.  Applications are welcomed from artists working with ceramic materials/processes as a significant component of their work.
Invited artists will work within an assigned space (approximately 10’ x 20’) to create their works. Artists will have from 9am to 4:30pm Tuesday, March 13th to install their materials and begin their piece and will be featured guests at a reception Tuesday evening. Artists will continue to interact with their materials and piece throughout the conference Wednesday through Friday, March 14-17, 2018. Artists will de-install and clean their spaces from 4:30-9pm Friday evening.
All proposals must be submitted using NCECA’s Online Submittal process (a link to the form is provided below). Proposals related to the Conference theme of CrossCurrents: Clay and Culture will receive preference. Your ONLINE submittal form must include the following or it will not be considered. (Only .doc, .docx, .JPEG or .PDF files will be accepted):

  • Proposer Contact information
  • Short Bio (Limit 300 characters with spacing)
  • Head shot (upload as jpg, 100dpi 2”x3”)
    If your proposal is accepted the abstract, short bio/s, and headshot/s will be used for website and print publications.
  • Project Title
  • Artist statement/project description – explaining the artistic vision as it relates to the proposed work for Project Space (Limit 3,000 characters with spacing)
  • Supplies/equipment – A detailed list of ALL supplies and equipment that will be used, including amount and types of clay. A note on how much electricity is required (Limit 1000 characters with spacing)
  • Installation Process – A detailed account of the installation process that identifies the artist(s)’ abilities to professionally and successfully ship, install, and create the work in the allotted amount of time, follow appropriate, logical and practical building and safety codes (Limit 1000 characters with spacing)
  • Program Guide Abstract  – An abstract of the intended project that if selected will be included in the 2018 NCECA Program Guide (Limit 300 characters with spacing)

Images – Exactly 10 images (Only images that directly reference the actual proposal)
(.jpg ONLY. Each image no larger than 800 KB) (Image Submission Guidelines)

Required information for each image:

  • Image Title
  • Image date
  • Relevance to project – (Limit 300 characters with spacing)
  • Brief Image description – to include clay type, firing method, date, dimensions
    (H, W, D), and photo credit if applicable. (Limit 300 characters with spacing)
The selection committee includes the NCECA Exhibitions Director, Leigh Taylor Mickelson and the Projects Space Coordinator, TBD.  Successful proposals will be those that engage with the concept of CrossCurrents: Clay and Culture using the medium of clay as a central focus, and also with materials, processes, and audience in unique and unconventional ways.
  • Selected artists will receive a 2018 conference registration, NCECA membership for the 2018 calendar year, and an honorarium. The amount of the honorarium will be in the range of $300- $500 to be determined through NCECA’s budgeting process in summer 2017. This fee will be all-inclusive and meant to aid in the purchasing of materials for the work, and in shipping work and materials to and from the conference site. No additional payments or reimbursements will be available through NCECA to support travel, lodging, food or other expenses.
  • Artists will be responsible for providing their own tools and equipment required for the production of their works. NCECA will not be held responsible for any loss or damage of tools or equipment that artists bring into the space.
  • Artists will be responsible for all shipping costs and ensuring all their materials are available for the installation to begin at 9am on Tuesday, March 13th. Artists shipping directly to and from the David L Lawrence Convention Center will make arrangements with NCECA staff, and may incur an additional fee in the event that conference center staff are required to sign for materials received prior to artists’ arrival.
  • Artists’ honoraria will be paid following the conference. Payment will be dependent on spaces being left in clean condition, without debris, or leftover materials of any kind.  There should be no evidence of the piece remaining in any form.  Plastic sheeting will be available for the floor, and the spaces will be clearly delineated.
  • All proposals should follow all rules and regulations set forth by the David L Lawrence Convention Center included at the end of this call
  • Electricity will be available for those who arrange for it with the NCECA Projects Space Coordinator beforehand at an additional cost to the artist.
  • A small team of volunteers (4-6) will be on hand to assist artists with install, de-install, and throughout the week; however, artists are responsible for arranging their own assistants to ensure the timely installation and de-installation of their own works.
  • All installation arrangements and protocols are subject to approval by Projects Space: CrossCurrents: Clay and Culture coordinators to insure no building or safety codes are in violation.  This is for everyone’s security and is to help everyone make sure nothing is being overlooked that might cause potential problems.  Please consider this a safety step and not content scrutiny as once your proposal is accepted, the content is supported as you have outlined and is not in question.
  • Projects Space will be open to the public Tuesday evening for the reception followed by regular hours of 9am-6pm Wednesday/Thursday and Friday 8:30am-4:30pm.  All proposals should consider that the artists are asked to be in their spaces during these times, either working on the creation of their works, the changing of their works, or the performing of their works.


PARKING: Parking on the loading dock or inside the Center (except for loading or unloading) is prohibited; violators will be ticketed and/or towed at owner’s expense.

CHILDREN: No one under 16 is permitted in the hall or on the dock during the move-in/out.

SMOKING: There is no smoking inside the facility.

FIRE MARSHAL: All exits, hallways and aisles must be kept clear and unobstructed at all times. Materials used in exhibits must be flame-retardant and are subject to inspection by the Portland Fire Marshal (The Fire Marshal may request that certification accompany items). All straw, hay or live evergreen trees are prohibited.

PROHIBITED: compressed flammable gases, flammable or combustible liquids, and hazardous chemicals and materials (acetylene, hydrogen, propane, butane, pesticides, herbicides, poisons, gasoline, kerosene, cleaning solvents, and other petroleum-based materials). Adhesive-backed decals and stickers are not allowed inside the building.

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

After you complete your online submission form for this opportunity, please hit SUBMIT only one time. The form data could take several minutes to submit particularly with multiple images.

A confirmation message will be generated through NCECA’s website to let you know that your application has been successfully transmitted and received. Please save this message.

If you do not receive this confirmation message within an hour after the time that you submitted your proposal, please email kate@nceca.net to alert NCECA of a possible problem with your submission.