SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield Museums are set to present a groundbreaking exhibition, “A Gathering: Works from Contemporary Black American Ceramic Artists,” starting from September 23.

This event marks the inaugural traveling museum exhibition to spotlight the artistic endeavors of Black ceramic artists presently active in their craft. The exhibition will grace the Starr and Alpert Galleries in the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts and will remain open to the public until March 24, 2024.

Courtesy of Springfield Museums

This extraordinary showcase is inspired by the recent publication, “Contemporary Black American Ceramic Artists,” and has been co-curated by authors Chotsani Elaine Dean and donald a clark. The display aims to underscore the substantial and contemporary contributions of African American ceramicists.

Clark mentioned, “A Gathering at the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts carries that mission further, allowing Springfield-area residents to view the variety of work created by this group of incredible Black creatives working with clay.” This exhibition gathers 38 artists from their book, showcasing an array of ceramic work that touches upon historical and contemporary themes.

These artworks not only manifest a range of techniques but also delve into subjects of historical and present-day importance. Many artists utilize their medium to delve into the role of clay in carrying ancestral and cultural knowledge from Africa to the Americas. This includes exploring themes of enslavement, heritage, identity, and much more.

In this collection, artists respond to calls for social justice, celebrate Black beauty, and convey personal narratives of connection, celebration, and triumph. The exhibition showcases various processes, including wheel throwing to slab building, drawing inspiration from multiple forms of media such as quilting and graffiti. This unique presentation endeavors to broaden conversations about contemporary studio ceramics while emphasizing the presence and excellence of Black makers.

This extraordinary exhibition was orchestrated by the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, reflecting a collaborative effort in bringing this exceptional artistic collection to life.

About the Curators

donald a clark, an influential figure in the American ceramic art movement for over 40 years, has an extensive collection of ceramics. Clark’s collection illuminates the rise of the studio pottery movement and was exhibited at the Springfield Museums in 2018. He has made significant contributions to the ceramic art scene and is known for his writings in leading publications.

Chotsani Elaine Dean, an accomplished artist and assistant professor of ceramics at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, brings a wealth of experience and artistic insight. Her varied background and extensive artistic journey have positioned her as a prominent voice in the ceramics community.

This exhibition promises to be an enriching and thought-provoking experience, allowing the audience to engage with a rich tapestry of art, history, and contemporary narratives.

Local News

WWLP-22News, an NBC affiliate, began broadcasting in March 1953 providing local news, network, syndicated, and local programming to western Massachusetts. Follow 22News on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram