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Public Art Program
Public Art Program

Baltimore Clayworks is thrilled to announce a partnership with the Fetzer Institute and the Community Arts Program at Clayworks. The Fetzer Institute, located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering awareness of the power of love and forgiveness in the emerging global community.

In spring of 2012, the Community Arts Program at Baltimore Clayworks was brought to the attention of the Fetzer Institute by renowned ceramic artist, Walter Ostrom, a member of the Fetzer Advisory Council (FAC) on Labor, Trades, and Crafts.  Through his own experience as a visiting ceramic artist at Baltimore Clayworks, he was familiar with the arts programming that the Baltimore Clayworks facilitates with individuals from underserved communities in the Baltimore region and felt that Clayworks was an exemplary case that reflected the mission of the Fetzer Institute. Walter connected Fetzer to Deborah Bedwell, the former Executive Director of Baltimore Clayworks, who was instrumental in establishing the Community Arts program. Community Arts was created in response to the separation, unbalanced access and social and economic disparities of different communities in Baltimore. More than 20 years later the program is thriving. Clayworks serves over 3,300 people through the Community Arts program each year in classes and workshops beyond our doors that are accessible to all.

The Fetzer Advisory Council (FAC) on Labor, Trades and Craft visited Baltimore Clayworks’ main campus in Mt. Washington in January 2012. The dynamic and chemistry between Clayworks staff and Fetzer advisors was strong and immediate. The synergy in the room was palpable and we quickly realized the shared goals and values between the organizations.  In the two-day visit Fetzer advisors toured Clayworks’ three Clay for All! satellite studiosJubilee Arts, Zeta Center and Tuerk House and took in an artist lecture, “Blue Collar”, presented by ceramic artists and brothers, Kyle and Kelly Phelps.

Community Arts Co-Directors Laura Cohen and Herb Massie were asked to present at Fetzer’s Global Gathering:  A Pilgrimage of Love and Forgiveness which took place in September 2012 in Assisi, Italy. Laura and Herb participated in a panel which overviewed and demonstrated different exemplars of the power of love and forgiveness to change the world through the labor, trades and crafts fields across the globe.

The result of the visit in January 2012 where the Fetzer advisors met, spoke with and created clay objects alongside the adults and children at the satellite locations, combined with the charisma and knowledge that Deb, Laura and Herb exemplified in the teaching model of Community Arts – was monumental.  Fetzer was particularly affected by how clay programming brought hope, self-esteem, and many more benefits to the clients of Tuerk House, an addiction recovery center.

 In June 2013, Fetzer engaged Clayworks in a formal partnership for on an ongoing project that includes: a video documentary about the Community Arts program with a focus on the programs at Tuerk House; a curriculum so that our model of working with adults in addiction recovery may be shared; an expansion program at Tuerk House to teach men how to create functional pottery for sale and an e-commerce opportunity for clients of Tuerk House to sell their ceramic wares.

For updates on the collaboration between the Fetzer Institute and Baltimore Clayworks click here.