It's that time of year again...we're packing up and heading to NCECA
NCECA 2018 | Pittsburgh, PA | March 14 - 18
For the past several years, Lillstreet Art Center has participated in the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) Conference. This annual conference visits a different city each year — and in 2018, it's destined for Pittsburgh, PA.
NCECA is a not-for-profit educational organization, and is a significant aspect of the national ceramics community. The NCECA Conference itself is an immersive clay experience including lectures, presentations, panel discussions, demonstrating artists and special exhibitions.
Where do we fit in? Lillstreet Gallery is headed to the Gallery Expo component of the NCECA conference. The Gallery Expo is a juried group of ceramic galleries that travel to the destination and exhibit a booth of ceramic works for sale. This is the fifth year Lillstreet has been juried into the Gallery Expo, previous years including Seattle , Milwaukee , Kansas City  and Portland .
By participating in the conference, we promote the Art Center our Artist in Residence program and the Gallery to a national audience. We always look forward to meeting the artists, teachers and patrons that we have worked with and who have supported the many facets of Lillstreet over the years. This year, we will bring a comprehensive collection of artists ranging from emerging artists to those with multi-decade careers including:
Mark Arnold, Noel Bailey, Nolan Baumgartner, Molly Bishop, Chris Chaney, Nicholas Danielson, Carrie Day, Nick DeVries, Mary Drabik, Christina Erives, Stuart Gair, Lauren Gallaspy, Nancy Gardner, Christina Gola, Chris Gustin, Perry Haas, Margaret Haden, Samantha Hostert, Mitch Iburg, Erica Man, En Iwamura, Doug Jeppesen, Kyle Johns, Joe Kraft, Yoonjee Kwak, Laura Marmash, Didem Mert, Sean O’Connell, Nicole Paulina, Shelley Rosenstein, Numpusch Semachai, Michelle Summers, David Trost, Momoko Usami & Charity White.
The ceramics we choose for the Gallery Expo reflect the collection of artists curated into our own gallery -- including a representation of Lillstreet studio artists, resident artists and highly skilled instructors. In 2018, we've chosen to feature work exhibiting contemporary techniques and surfaces like that of En Iwamura, pictured above.
At NCECA, each gallery has two speaking artists. Our presenters include former Lillstreet artist in residence, Molly Bishop and 2017 Archie Bray long-term resident and Lillstreet Art Center Fellow, Nicholas Danielson.
Another special presenter of the 2018 NCECA Conference is our very own founder and CEO, Bruce Robbins. Bruce has been invited to speak on a panel of industry experts on Friday, March 16 (10:15am in Rooms 403-405). Blended Spaces will focus on discussing and exploring alternative work spaces for artists. For 43 years, Bruce has been a pioneer and advocate in building alternative work spaces for the Lillstreet community. Lillstreet's 40,000 square foot facility includes open studio for students (10am - 10pm), 45 rentable studio spaces supporting independent artists, a strong residency program, creative spaces for community events, and three gallery spaces for exhibitions and shows. Providing spaces for artists has been part of Lillstreet's mission since its inception, and we've proudly grown with artists' needs since 1975. We look forward to the knowledge Bruce will share with the NCECA audience.
It takes many months (and a village) for us to plan for NCECA, but come mid-March, it's a fast-paced experience. Our team will drive from Chicago to Pittsburgh with a huge collection of ceramics in tow. Upon arrival, we collect the remaining work that has been shipped to Pittsburgh in advance. On Tuesday (March 13), we have about 7 hours to set up our booth, and then we host “Collectors Night” later that evening. Wednesday through Friday is our time to shine in the Expo hall. The Expo portion of NCECA ends on Friday (March 16) at 4:30pm. Promptly at 4:31pm we disassemble our booth and begin to pack up all of our work. We will then load our vehicles and hit the road the following day. Returning to Chicago, we unpack, unpack, unpack, inventory, debrief, re-merchandise the space, and it's back to business as usual.
Whew!! It’s always a whirlwind experience, but we've learned to ride the NCECA wave. If you're headed to the conference, be sure to stop in and visit. View the full conference program guide here. We hope to see you in Pittsburgh!