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Join Us on the Road to 2019

Dear Clayworks Community,

It has been a truly phenomenal year at Baltimore Clayworks. As you probably know, in July of 2017, Clayworks closed its doors, displacing artists, art, students, children, and the spirit of this 38 year-old organization.

But Clayworks proved its resilience by reopening the doors in October of 2017. Over this past year, with immeasurable gratitude to the donors, foundations, civic leaders, volunteers, and visionaries that make up the Clayworks community, we paid off debts, reorganized leadership, and put out the numerous “fires” that led to the closing. Clayworks is back to stay with a full program of classes, workshops, exhibits, and events.

In addition to continuing to present superb classes and exhibitions with renowned ceramic artists, Clayworks plans to extend its community-wide programming through partnerships with Man Alive, The House of Ruth, Make Studio, and other social service agencies. Clayworks is also growing the youth programs utilizing clay to offer job training skills to children and young adults with cognitive disabilities. Our forthcoming purchase of a 3D printer will support STEM curriculum in programs to serve Baltimore’s public school students.

If you have ever been through a traumatic crisis; in your business, or personal life, or family, if you have ever had to call on all of your resources to fix a really big problem, then you know how the aftermath feels. Clayworks is finally in a position where it can take a deep breath and start thinking strategically about the future. As you can see, we have some exciting plans, and we need your help!

Please consider Baltimore Clayworks in your year-end giving. It’s been a tumultuous few years, during which the organization has proven its service to the community, and the community has proven its commitment to the organization. Your generous contribution will help Clayworks continue to stabilize as we move into the next 38 years.

The graphic below shows the impact of contribution levels; please know that your gift of any size is crucial to the sustainability of the organization, and we are so grateful for all gifts, large and small. You may donate online at our new and improved website, or, if you prefer to mail in your contribution, our address is listed below. Please note that Baltimore Clayworks is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Your gift is tax deductible and must be postmarked by Dec. 31 to qualify as a tax deduction for the present year.

We invite you to come visit us at any time to see the exhibits, meet the new resident artists, or just say hello. You would hardly know that the doors were closed a year ago – Clayworks is alive with joyous creative energy!

Thank you again!

Sincerely,

Susan Patz, Board President

Cyndi Wish, Executive Director

PS – Baltimore Clayworks participates in Maryland’s Community Investment Tax Credit program. Your donation of $500 or greater will be met by a 50% tax credit on your Maryland taxes. These tax credits are in addition to the deductions on both Federal and State taxes as a result of the charitable contribution. This opportunity is limited and will not be available in 2019. For questions and to obtain appropriate forms contact Mary Jo Kirschman – info@baltimoreclayworks.org.

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One Year Later and Looking Forward With Confidence: Message from Board President Susan Patz, October 15, 2018

Greetings from Clayworks Way!

The ceremony celebrating our street renaming was a highlight of the October 10 Global Day of Clay. Please visit soon and proudly post a selfie at our new street sign. Join us in spreading the good news — that Baltimore Clayworks is indeed on the map and here to stay.

For those of you who missed the festivities, please visit the recently-refreshed BaltimoreClayworks.org website. Along with photos and recaps of the wonderful celebrations, you will see citations and letters from civic leaders on this landmark occasion, as well as letters from children who participated. It’s a joyous record of the continuing impact of our organization, our community, and our many friends.

Inherent in understanding the accomplishment of Clayworks’ renewal is that we build on a strong 38-year legacy: bringing together and supporting the best in ceramics — people, arts, and education — to expand opportunities for all to experience the joy of clay.

True Friends of Baltimore Clayworks

Delegate Bilal Ali summed up what has happened, saying,

 “Last October you took over the reins and worked tirelessly to put everything back on track. And now look where we are! Bills are paid, buildings are refinanced, programs are restarted, adults and kids from all over the city and state are sharing the joy of clay once again. I thank you for saving Baltimore Clayworks, and for letting me join you in this noble effort. The good folks prevailed!”

Special thanks to Councilman “Yitzy” Schliefer and his colleagues on the Baltimore City Council for the Clayworks Way renaming. Their strong support throughout the 2017 campaign continues visibly. Baltimore Clayworks was recently awarded an important grant from the Baltimore Children and Youth Fund, to initiate an innovative ceramics and technology internship program for teenage and young adult Baltimoreans. We look forward to continuing this productive and supportive relationship with the leadership of our City.

Likewise, many Maryland state legislators and leaders continue to bring meaningful support for our mission. They were instrumental in obtaining funding for Baltimore Clayworks from the Maryland State Arts Council at a critical time in our reopening, making possible the restart of our exhibitions and other important arts programs.

Once again we would also like to salute the grantors, foundations, and major donors who expressed confidence in the renewed organization with generous funding over the past several months, and pledges for the future. Your endorsement is an inspiration for many individual donors whose contributions to our non-profit are also invaluable.

As we enter the final quarter of 2018, Baltimore Clayworks will once again seek contributions and donations from many of you. For those whose generosity enables them to contribute $500 or more, we are pleased to offer Maryland Community Investment Tax Credits, and thank the State for this program once again. Please contact Mary Jo Kirschman via info@baltimoreclayworks.org for the appropriate forms. And be on the lookout for our fundraising messages to come!

How will Baltimore Clayworks put your contributions to work?

We announced at the ceremony that Cyndi Wish will join Baltimore Clayworks as Executive Director, effective this week. Cyndi’s background in education and nonprofit arts administration includes work in Massachusetts, Chicago, San Francisco, and most recently at the Jamestown Fine Arts Association in North Dakota. We are excited to have recruited Cyndi and look forward to her leadership as we move forward.

Nicole Fall, who stepped in to direct staff operations in the interim, will be staying on to facilitate the programs made possible by the Baltimore City grant. We are pleased that this fine artist and arts community leader will continue to represent Baltimore Clayworks. Nicole’s good work in attracting this grant, as well as the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ organizational mentorship, will pay dividends for our organization and enhance our impact for years to come.

Behind the scenes, your Board of Trustees has worked diligently to restore Baltimore Clayworks to stable financial footing. Over $1 million in obligations inherited in 2017 have been paid and resolved. Most importantly, our restarted education and exhibition programs and successful development initiatives achieved visible results. This enabled us to project a model for financial stability and sustainability. With the help of our legal and financial counselors, Baltimore Clayworks has entered new agreements with Columbia Bank for short-term and long-term financing. Ownership of our buildings and facilities is no longer endangered.

No words can express the depth of our eternal thanks to the artists, staff members, volunteers, vendors, participants and partners who made it possible to get the ball rolling once the Agreement was signed and keys turned over to us one year ago. You are Baltimore Clayworks, and everything we accomplish will be built on the momentum you began.

To the students who enrolled in classes and workshops, the parents who sent kids to summer camps, the collectors and visitors who patronized our Gallery exhibitions and shops, the artists who applied and those who were selected as Resident Artists … your confidence and excitement will never be forgotten. We look forward to sharing many happy times and beautiful arts together in the years ahead.

With help from our Advisory Group, Charrette participants, and many of you, we have begun identifying priorities and a Strategic Plan for the future. In coming months we will announce additional initiatives and programs that the Staff, Board, Committees and Partners have worked on as well. In the interest of brevity, I will not detail them here. Look for more information at our next open Community Meeting on Saturday, Nov. 17 from 3-5pm and in email messages and web announcements to come. Here’s just a taste:

  • An all-new Membership Program.
  • Expansion of our Youth and Family Programs to include after-school sessions and regular field-trips that introduce Baltimore Clayworks to young audiences and provide valuable education and inspiration.
  • Increases of our Community Arts Programs in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.
  • Interaction and involvement programs for Resident Artists, Associate Artists, students and donors to connect, communicate and grow.
  • Improved Baltimoreclayworks.org website, social media pages, email newsletters and public relations visibility — part of a strategic marketing and communication program.

I hope you are inspired to continue to participate at Clayworks. Take a class or workshop … make a donation … browse and shop in our Gallery and in neighboring Mt. Washington Village … tell your family and friends about our (always free) Exhibitions … share photos on social media … volunteer for a Committee or to help with an Event. The work of Baltimore Clayworks is and always will be a collaborative, team effort to share the joy of clay in meaningful ways.

Join in! And thank you.

Sue Patz, Board President, Baltimore Clayworks Inc.

(Drawing by Voelker Schoenfliess and Photos by Matthew Paul D’Agostino.)

 

 

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Message from Board President Sue Patz

SAVE THE DATE: Wed. October 10, from 4-7pm.  Official Dedication Ceremonies 4:30pm.

Anniversary Party and Dedication of Clayworks Way!  Community and civic leaders gather to celebrate this milestone and success.  Open House Tours, Student/Camper/Artist Exhibitions. Culmination of Global Day of Clay at Baltimore Clayworks.

News:

  • By mid-September, all Resident Artists will be working at their Clayworks studios. Don’t miss the evening of SEPTEMBER 15, when these artists are introduced to the community and offer talks coinciding with the opening of Welcome to Our Clayborhood, the new exhibition that includes their work. Learn why we are so excited to have these emerging artists in our studios and in Baltimore.
  • Resident Artists Hannah Pierce, Wes Brown and Kourtney Stone have been busy in their studios this summer. They have also taught classes and worked in our community programs. Jeremy Wallace, wood and soda kiln firing artist, continues to awe students and ceramicists.
  • This summer, Baltimore Clayworks’ Board chose the next bank that will refinance our commercial mortgage and put to bed the $750,000 balloon payment inherited from previous leadership. This transfer will occur within days, culminating a year of hard work to put our organization on stable financial footing.
  • The Search Committee for the permanent Executive Director has been active since May. After narrowing down the field to 3 finalists, we expect to welcome Clayworks’ new Executive Director imminently.
  • Nicole Fall, our interim Executive Director, will work to orient the new ED. As she moves out of her Executive role, she leaves behind a trail of accomplishments. One recent achievement is the awarding of a large grant from Baltimore City Children and Youth Fund. Under this grant, Clayworks will link maker technology and ceramics to give young Baltimoreans valuable job skills. Kudos to our grant writing team and innovative thinkers- Nicole Fall, Mary Cloonan and Candace Mitchell, and thanks to the continued support of the City of Baltimore.
  • We have received another prestigious and large grant that cannot be announced yet. We look forward to going public with this good news soon.
  • Summer camp is ending on a high note with excellent enrollment and treasured artwork out of the kilns and adorning campers’ family shelves.
  • Fall classes begin mid and late September. Sign up now before your class of choice fills! Bring friends and family to enjoy a “Date Night” or “Try -It,” or take a 4, 10, or 12-week class.

Come on Down!  There is great art in the studio, joy in the classrooms, gallery exhibits are superb and the Gallery shop awaits your purchase. Come in and introduce yourself to staff, artists, and others.

From the entire Board and Staff, it is a pleasure for us to be able to report the events highlighted above. The dedicated and hard work that the community invested in Clayworks over the past year is coming together wonderfully.

Thank you all,

Sue Patz

Board of Trustees (President)

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July/August Exhibitions

Baltimore Clayworks is thrilled to have our Gallery Building filled with invigorating exhibitions of contemplative figures and winsome creatures that will occupy our space and your imagination. Shows will run this summer from July 14th – September 1st, 2018. An Opening Reception will be held on Saturday, July 14th from 6 – 8pm. The reception is free and open to the public.

Follow these links to read more about each show and see photos!

Of Mind and Memory: Sara E. Morales-Morgan

Riding Long Dead Horses: Trisha Kyner

Aberrant Beings: Brad Blair

Recent Sculptures: David Aaron Friedheim

In addition to these wonderful shows inside, we are proud to share the marvelous metal sculpture Chameleon, by Grendel’s Mother (David Aaron Friedheim and Trisha Kyner) on our front lawn.

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Letter from the President May 2018

Letter from the President May 2018

Hello Clayworks Community,

It is exciting to be approaching a one-year milestone this fall celebrating the ReOPENING of Baltimore Clayworks. “Seven months in” the leadership team is already proud to acknowledge the successful relaunch of all four program areas: education, community arts, exhibitions, and artist residencies. Very soon we will share some wonderful details about our new Resident Artists.

Not as obvious, but as important, we have accomplished many “behind the scenes” infrastructure challenges and continue to transition to new and updated digital technology. The organization has completed a large portion of debt repayment due to you, our strong and generous community and the critical long-term government and foundation support that values the importance of Clayworks in serving Baltimore and Maryland communities.

Of course my letters will always acknowledge Clayworks’ volunteers and a very patient, dedicated and professional staff. In addition, your tireless Board logged in over 3,000 volunteer hours of their time- and this was just in the first 3 months of Clayworks’ reopening. (October 1-December 31, 2017).

I am pleased to announce that all of our Board Minutes and the 2018 Board meeting schedule are posted online. We have spent a good deal of time at Board meetings discussing and conducting research about the posting of minutes online to accomplish our primary goals of transparency and building/ rebuilding trust with the Clayworks Community. It’s taken longer than we intended, but the request to post Minutes is now taking place.

The minutes from October 2017- April 2018 are official, recording decisions made by the Board and details of topics discussed. Executive sessions are used for legal or personnel matters and as such are not public. Financial reports have always been public and can be found in 990’s online, in the Annual Reports, or are available upon request.

Our commitment as a Board is that we ARE our community and we share the deep interest in making the best decisions for Clayworks with you. We want and will always seek community in-put through the website, open communication (we welcome informal conversations), committees and community meetings.

I’m looking forward to seeing you JUNE 1st at Spice It Up and the Seconds Sale that extends into the weekend. Bring friends and family. And join us in a Summer Class or by sending your children or grandchildren, or your friends and neighbors’ children to Clayworks Summer Camp.

Sincerely,
Sue Patz

Susan Patz
Board of Trustees

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Letter from the Interim Executive Director

Hello Clayworks Community,

Thank you for attending the quarterly Community Meeting a couple of weeks ago. We have heard your request for access to our board minutes and financial information. We are currently preparing the minutes of the past 7 months.

Below is the link to our 2016 990. (990s are essentially taxes for non-profit organizations.) Our 2017 990 should be completed soon.

We do want to maintain open communication as you have been so forthright with us and SO helpful in bringing Clayworks back.

The next Community Meetings meetings will be on Sundays, September 9th and December 9th, from 3 - 5 pm.

Please feel free to contact me anytime; Nicole.Fall@baltimoreclayworks.org

We look forward to seeing you at Spice It Up! on Friday, June 1 and at the Seconds Sale June 1-3.

Thank you,

Nicole Fall

Interim Executive Director

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