The Clay Studio in Philadelphia Announces Major Expansion Plans and Relocation to South Kensington Neighborhood With New State-of-the-Art Facility
Studio Expected to Break Ground on 30,000-Plus-Square-Foot Project in Fall 2018
PHILADELPHIA, February 27, 2018 (Newswire.com) - The Clay Studio today unveiled plans outlining a major move and expansion for the nationally known ceramics organization, with a focal point on the development of a new facility in Philadelphia’s South Kensington neighborhood. The relocation of The Clay Studio, scheduled for completion in fall 2020 with a groundbreaking in fall 2018, will allow the organization to expand by more than 67 percent in terms of both services and space.
“For more than 40 years, The Clay Studio has been a vital center where emerging artists shape their careers and young minds can shape their imaginations, where skilled crafters shape communities of makers and where handmade works of art quite literally take shape,” said Michael Lukasek, chairman, The Clay Studio Board of Directors. “And now, we are shaping a new movement, building upon our rich tradition of service and re-affirming our vision to bring together creativity, community and clay – to ‘ClayTogether’ – and lead as a 21st-century organization.”
For more than 40 years, The Clay Studio has been a vital center where emerging artists shape their careers and young minds can shape their imaginations, where skilled crafters shape communities of makers and where handmade works of art quite literally take shape. And now, we are shaping a new movement, building upon our rich tradition of service and re-affirming our vision to bring together creativity, community and clay - to 'ClayTogether' - and lead as a 21st-century organization.
Michael Lukasek, Chairman, The Clay Studio Board of Directors
The new Clay Studio, located at 1425 North American Street in Kensington, will house the most technologically advanced art-making equipment, larger studio spaces and more income-generating opportunities for the organization. When complete, the studio will serve as a creative space for community members, enhance the cultural landscape of Philadelphia and advance the field of ceramics across the country.
Designed by Philadelphia-based architect firm Digsau, the new studio space will feature an open and streamlined build. Creative mixed-use spaces will enhance workflow, increase energy efficiencies, improve accessibility and reduce operating costs. The completion of The Clay Studio’s new home will signal record growth for the organization, including:
- 27 percent growth in resident artist studio space
- 88 percent more kiln capacity
- 108 percent growth in designated Claymobile studio space
- 193 percent more dedicated classroom space
The new studio will also build on the exciting momentum in South Kensington – an area that is shaping its own significant transformation. “South Kensington and the American Street Corridor are in the midst of a renaissance,” continued Lukasek. “The community has attracted dozens of creative businesses, arts nonprofits and is ripe for future investment. Completion of this project will enhance the cultural landscape of Philadelphia, bolster revitalization, actively engage with the Kensington neighborhood and serve as a national center for ceramic arts.” Serving as a hub for building community and public access, the new Clay Studio will offer:
- Expanded classroom and workshop space for art-making
- Dedicated spaces for youth programs and arts engagement
- Communal workspaces to engage artists of all skill levels
- New dynamic exhibition space to experience art and instillations
- Improved access for school groups, clay campers and after-school programs
- New retail space offering handmade artwork and clay-making supplies
In addition to programmatic improvements, the new studio will feature innovative updates to allow for more streamlined and efficient operations. Improvements to studio operations will include:
- New loading dock area for improved shipping
- Flexible public space for events, meetings, lectures and rentals
- Updated energy-efficient equipment
- Enhanced accessibility features including ADA capabilities
- Updated data and technology features
Empowering The Clay Studio to expand upon their mission to create a unique learning environment to experience ceramic arts, the organization has received three significant grants from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the William Penn Foundation and the Windgate Charitable Foundation. In 2017, The Clay Studio was awarded a project grant from Pew for their “Making Place Matter” program and a Creative Communities Grant from the William Penn Foundation for their “Maker Days Project.” Both projects are specifically aimed at connecting the Kensington neighborhood with their relocation plans. Through “Making Place Matter,” The Clay Studio will engage community members in South Kensington to develop an exhibition plan for an inaugural project in the organization’s new facility. With the “Maker Days Project,” the studio will hold a series of eight community workshops where participants can craft ceramic pieces that will be used at a culminating community dinner in the fall of 2018.
Additionally, in spring 2017, the Windgate Charitable Foundation extended a motivating challenge to The Clay Studio in support of their efforts to advance and expand their services. The foundation, a national organization dedicated to supporting institutions that provide educational programs in the visual arts and fine craft, challenged The Clay Studio to raise $1 million for relocation efforts by Jan.1, 2018 – to which The Clay Studio successfully responded. The Windgate Foundation has now awarded $500,000 to the organization, allowing them to advance their expansion plans.
These generous gifts underscore the studio’s national reputation for cultivating artists, supporting the arts, bolstering the community and shaping youth. Although the grants cement the foundation for the expansion and relocation of The Clay Studio, the organization must secure additional funding for the development of their new facility. The “ClayTogether” capital campaign, currently underway, aims to raise an additional $2.5 million in funding to complete the development of their new home and expand their programming capabilities.
For further information about The Clay Studio’s “ClayTogether” capital campaign, relocation and expansion plans, and current studio initiatives, visit their newly revamped website – theclaystudio.org. Follow The Clay Studio on Facebook: @theclaystudio.phl; Twitter: @TheClayStudio; and Instagram: @theclaystudiophl.
Crystal Hayes Casazza
Source: The Clay Studio