NCECA 2009 Regional Student Juried Exhibition

Bent tray, 23 in. (58 cm) in length, by David Eichelberger, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Orb Cluster, 15 in. (38 cm) in height, by Amanda Pless, Arizona State University.

Childbearing Hips, 18 in. (46 cm) in height, by Shenny Cruces, San Francisco State University.

Set of Shells 1, each approximately 2 in. (5 cm) in diameter, by Duncan Tweed, Northern Arizona University.

Binary in Nature, 36 in. (91 cm) in height, by Jason Harper, Kansas State University; NCECA Undergraduate Award for Student Excellence.

Mezcal Cantaro and Reliquary, 11 in. (28 cm) in height, by Trevor Dunn, Utah State University.

Square flower brick, 5½ in. (14 cm) in height, by Lauren Clay, Wichita State University.

Self Portrait, 15 in. (38 cm) in height, by Darien Johnson, Arizona State University.

Lidded jar, 9 in. (23 cm) in height, by Seth Green, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Patterns #3, 15 in. (38 cm) in length, by Suching Chen, Arizona State University.

Untitled, by Lee Mattingly, Wichita State University.

Cup and saucer, 4 in. (10 cm) in height, by Autumn Cipala, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Contraposto, 17 in. (43 cm) in height, by Joel Schroeder, Utah State University.

Clover Dishes, to 10 in. (25 cm) in width, by Joe Singewald, Southern Utah University.

Jessica Orlowski, Student Director at Large

The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) “Regional Student Juried Exhibition” (RSJE) is often cited as one of the best shows the council’s national conference has to offer. The 2009 RSJE, hosted by the Tempe Center for the Arts, continued this tradition. But do not let the S mislead you. These are not works hesitantly emerging from the classroom, but bold representations of the next generation of ceramics. Unencumbered by the expectations of the ceramic world, students are free to explore and grow in a way that is enviable. Without the pressures of post-graduation gallery representation, making a living, etc., they are simply motivated by the love of clay. The RSJE then selects the best of the young talent available to create a dynamic and inspiring show.

With the accessibility of the Internet, it is becoming imperative for young artists to have a web presence. When Googled, does this artist have their own web page? Exhibition listings? However, no matter how well constructed, a web presence cannot be the only link between their art and the world. Just as the impact of an impasto style painting is lost in digital replications, so is much of the depth of color and texture that can be achieved in ceramic work. (Though tempting, especially for fellow ceramic artists visiting the RSJE, touching was prohibited.) This exhibition and those like it are therefore essential, not only offering students the professional opportunity to interact with galleries outside their school, but also to allow their work the close examination it needs and deserves.

Though historically a successful exhibition, the RSJE is in the midst of undertaking exciting self-improvements. At the 2010 conference in Philadelphia, the student juried exhibition will fully embrace its democratic potential by going national. This already inspiring showcase of young talent will become an even greater opportunity for emerging artists to introduce their work to the clay world. Much like the students it represents, the exhibition is taking risks to engage participants and viewers alike. The “2010 NCECA National Student Juried Exhibition” is the next step in this evolution-and it won’t stop there.

For information on how to submit your work to the “2010 NCECA National Student Juried Exhibition” (regardless of your state of residence), see


This article was published in Ceramics Monthly magazine’s September 2009 issue. To get great content like this delivered right to your door, subscribe today!


Michaelene Walsh, Juror

An exciting aspect of teaching and attending NCECA every year is seeing how students are responding to the material in refreshing ways. Growth from year to year is exponential due to the variety of resources available to artists; sharing images, ideas and information has never been easier. Given this level of exchange, I was happy to find amidst the juried work a respect for the traditions of utility, figurative work, and-in particular this year-wood firing. The variety of work to choose from seemed a sure sign that the spectrum of ceramic expression is healthy and well. I have always appreciated that both new approaches and traditional forms of expression can co-exist and thrive simultaneously at NCECA. It’s as if the material were an analog for democracy itself.

Michaelene Walsh
Associate Professor of Art
Louisiana State University

Geoffrey Wheeler, Juror

I was honored and delighted when asked to co-jury the 2009 NCECA Regional Student Exhibition. I have been attending NCECA for many years and the annual student show is always one of my favorite exhibitions at the conference. It is this exhibition that reflects today’s ceramics education and points to the future of the ceramics arts. It inevitably has some of the best work shown at the conference.
Looking through the submitted work for the first time, I was impressed with the variety of approaches and the high quality of the majority of the work. I have never participated in jurying an exhibition of this scope. I had worried that it would be impossible to compare and decide between work as diverse as a wood-fired functional pot, and a conceptually driven installation piece. However, while certainly there were difficult decisions to make, it came down to clarity of intention, quality of execution and whether there was a distinctive personal voice in the piece. As jurors we wanted to assemble an exhibition that reflected the vast array of possibilities of expression within the field of ceramic art, yet nothing was selected solely for the purpose of filling a niche.

I would like to applaud each and every student who submitted work to this exhibition. Jumping through the hoops required for entering an exhibition like this is a learning experience in itself. Working with Michaelene Walsh to search through the 300 or so submissions to select the final pieces was a pleasure. Ultimately, we were unanimous in our choices, and I feel we had a very strong exhibition. Congratulations to those of you selected. And to those of you who were not, please understand that a juried exhibition is always, to some extent, a reflection of the jurors’ tastes and biases.

Geoffrey Wheeler
Associate Professor, Ceramics
University of Wisconsin-Stout

To see all pieces in the 2009 NCECA Regional Student Juried Exhibition, check out the Tempe Art Center’s online presentation.


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