We’ve been in Kansas City this week for the annual conference of NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts). This town is all-in for the conference, starting with ceramic welcome signs at the hotel front desk. Like Anderson Ranch, NCECA celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, so it was cause for both organizations to celebrate.
Needless to say, the Ranch did so in style. In our huge display area featuring 175 works, we hosted a reception with a toast and cake-cutting for a crowd of 350-400 people. Organized by Doug Casebeer and Genoa Faber, the Ranch exhibition was alive with faculty, students, residents, contributors, collectors and friends of Anderson Ranch from all four corners of the U.S. and beyond. It was a love-fest, as Doug, former Executive Director Brad Miller and I looked out over the crowd while making our remarks. We stood on chairs, as otherwise no one would have been able to see us. From the high view, I saw our legacy past, present and future. I saw the old hands and seasoned “Ranchers,” those who are just starting to become involved, and the new students who will grow to carry us forward for the next 50 years. It was so fulfilling to share with all!
Our NCECA exhibition, “Anderson Ranch Legacy: Mentoring Artistic Excellence,” contains works by 72 ceramic artists connected to the Ranch, including works from founder Paul Soldner to interns working at the Ranch today. It’s incredible! And the works are selling like hotcakes! I extend profuse thanks from all of us to all of you whose work is included, to those who packed and drove the U-Haul truck to Kansas City and will drive it back, and to those who spent long hours setting up the marvelous display. Thank you!
To all who came to our event, it was great to see you. I have found that wherever I go in KC, people approach me to share their experiences at the Ranch. Yesterday while gallery hopping in the Crossroads Art & Design District, today in the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, at breakfast, at lunch…wherever I go, I learn about what a pillar we have in Anderson Ranch’s ceramics program and how many lives have been deeply touched by the work of Doug Casebeer and all of the faculty members who teach at the Ranch. It is rewarding! And to those who say, “I read your newsletter,” thanks so much. I write it just for you. No, I don’t plan to change the photo because you seem to recognize me!
While here, I visited a most exciting place, the Belger Crane Yard Studios, with galleries and the Red Star residency program. Also, Kansas City Art Institute where I met with The Nerman Family President Tony Jones and his associates, with Sharon and John Hoffman. It’s been a whirlwind trip, and quite worthwhile.
Here is a quote that I love from Peter Voulkos, found in a display of his work at Leedy-Voulkos Art Center:
“I am not a conceptual artist. I can’t just sit there and think of an idea. Most of it comes out of my hands…I have always used whatever comes to hand, or into my head, that makes sense in my own work, that I can get some energy from.”
Thanks, Peter. We felt that energy here this week!
Please join us for a ceramics or other creative workshop this summer. I look forward to welcoming you here!
P.S. We’ll help you lead a fuller, richer life!