Clay Culture: Minneapolis–St. Paul City Guide

It doesn’t matter if you are local and are looking to rent studio space or are planning on visiting and seeing shows, the Twin Cities have a lot to offer to ceramic artists.

Galleries and Museums

1 Northern Clay Center
2424 Franklin Ave East, Minneapolis, MN 55406
• Gallery and sales room of contemporary and professional ceramics. Year-round community classes and events, artist demonstrations, workshops, and public outreach. Re-granting organization for fellowships and grants for local, national, and international ceramic artists.
• MN NICE (Minnesota New Institute for Ceramic Education)
Advanced certificate program providing personalized instruction for artists who are serious about taking the next step in their ceramic education.

2 Minneapolis Institute of Art
2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404
• Collection of 20th-century fine craft on permanent display, including West Coast Abstract Expressionist ceramics. Extensive collection of historical Chinese, Korean, and Japanese ceramics on permanent display.

3 Weisman Art Museum
University of Minnesota Campus, East Bank
333 E River Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55455
• Collection of 20th-century ceramics from both national and local artists, extensive collection of Mimbres pottery.

4 Stillwater, MN/Hudson, WI
• Tourist destination about 45 minutes east of the Twin Cities metro area. These two quaint towns on the St. Croix River located directly across from each other, connected by a historic lift-bridge, are known for their galleries featuring handmade craft objects.

1 Mike Helke’s animal bowl, 14 in. (36 cm) in length, low-fired earthenware. Helke is a ceramic artist based in Stillwater, Minnesota.

2 Exterior view of the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.


5 Phipps Center for the Arts
109 Locust St., Hudson, WI 54016
• Frequently has exhibitions and events featuring local and statewide ceramic artists.

6 Minnetonka Center for the Arts
2240 North Shore Dr., Wayzata, MN 55391
• Offers year-round ceramic classes from beginning to advanced levels. Well-equipped ceramic studio with cone-10 reduction and atmospheric firings available. Large gallery space with several exhibitions yearly, sales gallery featuring ceramics.

7 Clay Squared to Infinity
34 13th Avenue NE, Suite 109, Minneapolis, MN 55413
• Handmade tile by local and national contemporary tile artists.

8 Gallery 360
3011 West 50th St., Minneapolis, MN 55410

9 Grand Hand Gallery
St. Paul, 619 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55102

3 Richard Hensley’s work on display at Richard Vincent’s studio during the annual St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour in 2017.


Ceramic Arts Neighborhoods

There are two Arts Districts in the Twin Cities. Here you can find ceramic artists and potters mixed in with painters, photographers, and sculptors. Below are buildings listed where you’re sure to find ceramic studios and galleries, as well as a list of each neighborhood’s annual events.

1 Northeast Minneapolis Arts District managed by Northeast Minneapolis Art Associate,
Northrup King Building, Arts District First Thursdays, Fall Fine Arts Show, Art a Whirl

2 Lower Town Arts District, St. Paul managed by St. Paul Art Collective,
Schmidt Artist Loft, St. Paul Art Crawl (Fall and Spring), Lowertown First Fridays

Artist Funding

There are four sources for support for artists (including ceramic artists) in the region. Some of these are state-wide as well. Annual grants, informational seminars and webinars, and professional services are offered (public/non-profit).
• Minnesota State Arts Board,
• Metropolitan Regional Arts Council,
• Jerome Foundation,
• McKnight Foundation,

4 Installation view of the exhibition “Now Where Were We?” through December 15, 2017, Minneapolis Institute of Art. Photo: Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Post-Secondary Ceramics Programs

1 University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
MFA program for ceramics and sculpture. BFA ceramics courses from beginning to advanced taught by Tom Lane, Tetsuya Yamada, and 8 ceramic lecturers.

2 St. Olaf College
BA in studio art, classes in ceramics. Home to the Ron Gallas Cup Library. Ceramics classes taught by Paul Briggs and Kate Fisher.

3 Carleton College
Undergraduate majors in studio art. Courses in ceramics taught by Kelly Connole, Juliane Shibata, and Mike Helke.

4 University of Wisconsin-River Falls
BFA program in studio art/ceramics. Courses from beginning to advanced. The program is led by Rhonda Willers.

Organizational Resources

• The American Craft Council, St. Paul
Offers education resources, conferences, public lectures, student programing, and national awards.

• Springboard for the Arts,
Offers career planning and informational services for art organizations.

• Minnesota Artists,
Website for artists looking for local, statewide, national, and international opportunities.

5 Northern Clay Center’s sales gallery represents over 50 regional ceramic artists. Photo: Erica Loeks.


Area Clay and Raw Materials Suppliers

1 Minnesota Clay Co.
2960 Niagara Ln N., Plymouth, MN 55447

2 Continental Clay
1101 Stinson Blvd NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

Special Events and Exhibitions

• American Craft Show, St. Paul organized by the American Craft Council
A juried, fine-craft exhibition that features over 225 artists.

• Uptown Art Fair
Art sale and festivities that attract over 400,000 visitors annually.

• Stone Arch Bridge Festival
Minneapolis riverfront arts festival that takes place over Father’s Day weekend.

• Edina Art Fair
Art fair featuring over 280 artists from the US and Canada.

6 Exterior of Northern Clay Center’s building.

7 Regis Center for the Art-East at the University of Minnesota.


Pottery Tours

• St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour (45 minutes north of Twin Cities)
Now in its 25th year, an annual pottery tour with 7 hosts on the   tour and close to 50 participating potters.
• Cannon River Clay Tour, Northfield MN (45 minutes south of Twin Cities)
New pottery tour hosted by 10 artists from the Cannon Clay community.

the author Nicolas Darcourt is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Art and Art History Department at Gustavus Adolphus College and is living and making ceramic work in the southwest metro area of the Twin Cities, Minnesota. Learn more at


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