Kansas City Urban Potters (KCUP) Project Space proposes to build relationships across the region by means of a cooperative exhibition space. This venue will benefit the seven members of the KCUP by providing a more permanent environment to create, educate and engage with the local community and other makers – through exhibitions and programming that will include both regional and national artists. KCUP aims to educate the public by providing opportunities to experience handmade pottery and discover the creative process, such as artist talks, hands-on workshops, and communal food gatherings. These activities will spark dialogue between makers and non-makers about the importance of handmade pottery in daily life.
KCUP signed a 3-year lease in April for a 1,400 sq. ft. space at 4, Westport Road, across from the Drugstore in Kansas City, MO. This building will house a 350 sq. ft. exhibition space, and a 1050 sq. ft. studio space dedicated to artistic production – for individual and communal projects as well as educational workshops. This area of Midtown attracts a diverse cross-section of artists and patrons through a mix of artist spaces, retail venues, and restaurants. KCUP is excited by the potential to partner with area businesses & organizations, understanding the strong potential to build their audience through community connections.
Since the collective formed in 2014, they have participated in educational events at various schools and art fairs including Sunrise Point Elementary, Kansas State University, Maker Faire, Empty Bowls for Arts Tech, and Noon Years Eve at Union Station. Having seen the value of this engagement, they are excited about the possibilities of holding regular educational events within their new space.
Their plan is to host free pop-up workshops where participants will engage with clay and experience firsthand how empowering the act of making can be. These events will be taught by the core members of KCUP as well as invited national artists. Inviting the public to come make objects alongside makers from the field is intended to broaden the understanding and visibility of contemporary studio pottery to local & regional audiences. In order to foster relationships and strengthen connections with the local Kansas City community, members of the collective will be exploring the capacity of beautiful, functional objects to build and sustain social exchange and engagement.
Kansas City Urban Potters is a collective of full-time studio artists making functional pottery with a high standard of craftsmanship. Located in the heart of an already-strong clay community, the collective looks to expand visibility of contemporary studio pottery to local and regional audiences through invitational exhibitions, public lectures and community-based events. Through joining forces and partnering with other local organizations, makers can accomplish far more than what would be individually possible.
Paul Donnelly is a studio potter residing in Kansas City, MO. He is currently an Associate Professor of Ceramics at the Kansas City Art Institute working with students in the vessel concentration. He received his BFA from Edinboro University in 1997 and his MFA from the NYSCC at Alfred University in 2008. He has participated in residency Programs at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, The Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China and Watershed Center in Newcastle, ME. He has exhibited both nationally and internationally and has been published in numerous books & periodicals.
Erica Iman received her BFA in Ceramics and BSE in Art from the University of Missouri Columbia in 2005, and obtained her MFA in Ceramics from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2012. Between earning her degrees she served 2 years in the U.S. Peace Corps in Mongolia and was a selected participant in the International Workshop for Ceramic Arts in Tokoname, Japan. Erica is a studio artist in Kansas City. She was awarded second place in the San Angelo National Ceramic Competition, was selected for the 2013 NCECA Biennial Earth/Energy and is currently enrolled in the Artist, Inc KC program.
Meredith Host was raised in Detroit, Michigan. She received her BFA from Kansas City Art Institute in 2001 and her MFA in Ceramics from The Ohio State University in 2008. Meredith has completed numerous ceramic residencies including The School for American Crafts at RIT in Rochester, NY, Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, ME, and Dresdner Porzellan Manufactory in Dresden, Germany. She was named one of the 2011 Emerging Artists for NCECA and Ceramics Monthly. She is an alumna of Artist Inc, KC. Currently, Meredith lives in Kansas City, MO and is a full time studio potter.
Alex Watson graduated with a BFA in Ceramics from Utah State University in 2005. After graduating, he taught ceramics classes and managed the ceramics department at a small school in the Berkshires. In 2008, Watson moved to Colorado, where he lived and worked until 2013. He was an artist in residence at the Carbondale Clay Center and Studio for Artists Works. In 2010, he was a visiting artist at Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute in China. Upon returning from China, Watson became a full time studio potter. Currently, he lives and works in Kansas City, MO.
Rain Harris is an artist who lives in Kansas City. She received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA from The Ohio State University. Her work has been exhibited in group shows at the US Chamber of Commerce, The Ferrin Gallery in Lenox Massachusetts, the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston and the Garth Clark Gallery in New York. She has had solo shows at the Philadelphia International Airport, The Portland Craft Museum, Sherrie Gallery and the Duane Reed gallery. Her work is in private collections and museums, both national and internationally.
Jana Evans earned her MFA in 2010 from Arizona State University and has been awarded fellowships, grants and residencies continuing her arts practice. Currently, she is the Career Resident Artist at Red Star Studios in Kansas City, Missouri. Her previous residencies include, The Pottery Workshop (2014) in Jingdezhen, China, Pottery Northwest (2013) in Seattle Washington, and The Archie Bray Foundation (2010-2012). Jana is a recent resident of Kansas City also a founding member of Kansas City Urban Potters. She exhibits work in galleries nationwide including The Clay Studio in Pennsylvania, Akar in Iowa, and Crimson Laurel Gallery in North Carolina.
Chandra DeBuse received her BA in Psychology from Nebraska Wesleyan before receiving her MFA from the University of Florida in 2010. Chandra was a resident artist at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts (TN). In 2012, Chandra was recognized as an emerging artist through NCECA and Ceramics Monthly magazine. She has exhibited her functional pottery and has taught classes and workshops across the nation and at the Skopelos Foundation for the Arts, Greece. Since 2012, Chandra has been a full time studio potter in Kansas City, MO. She is an alumna of the Artist, Inc. KC program.