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History of Community Work Highlights

A Few Highlights of Our Work in Baltimore City Over the Past 40 Years

Since its founding, Baltimore Clayworks has shown dedication to inclusivity and equity, both within the organization, and throughout the city it calls home. Only two years after its opening in 1980, Clayworks developed a partnership with Wendell Philips and the Heritage Baptist Church in Baltimore City to give workshops and to connect with local young people through art. Clayworks was chosen by the National Endowment for the Arts as Maryland’s most impactful, innovative organization in artistic community involvement in 2000, awarding the organization its “Millenium Organization” designation. Clayworks has expanded its community investment and growth over the years through some of the following initiatives:

  • Baltimore Clayworks has organized the creation of murals and public artworks, connecting nationally renowned artists with citizens in Baltimore City. Philadelphia artist Leroy Johnson directed the mural project “And Still I Rise” with community members and the Oblate nuns related to St. Frances Academy Community Center. The mural can be viewed from the Maryland State Penitentiary and illustrates the themes of the Maya Angelou poem by the same name.
  • Clayworks organized the residencies of Samuel Wallace, a Jamaican folk potter, resulting in “From The Ground Up”, a program that related traditional Jamaican culture and art to Maryland’s most rural areas.
  • Angelica Pozo worked with Latino youth in East Baltimore as Clayworks mounted a Puerto Rican ceramics exhibit at the Baltimore School For The Arts. Pozo also created a 350 sq. ft. outdoor mural with senior adults at the Waxter Center in center city Baltimore.
  • Herb Massie (previous Director of Community Engagement at Baltimore Clayworks) directed a three-part mosaic installation at Dunbar Middle School depicting the history of Baltimore.
  • Clayworks operated a ceramics studio in Mondawmin Mall in the late 1990s, equipped with specialized equipment, teachers, workshops, exhibitions, and receptions. Enrolled attendants grew from an initial enrollment of 18 people to 340 weekly attendees within three and a half years.
  • As part of the NEA Millennium Award, Clayworks engaged painter and activist Mike Alewitz to create 6 large murals statewide entitled “The Dreams of Harriet Tubman”. Photos of the artwork are published in a book by Paul Buhle titled” Insurgent Images”. A companion project, “Harriet To Go,” featured community participant murals created from earthenware quilt tiles of patterns from the Underground Railroad. This artistic endeavor illustrated Maryland native Harriet Tubman’s contribution to American history and culture.
  • Organized the “Contemporary Taiwanese Ceramic Exhibition” with resident artist Ching-Yuan Chang in 1993; Clayworks toured the exhibit among six institutions, giving workshops directed towards Asian and Asian-American youth.
  • Partnered with the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) to create “Tour De Clay” and “Tour De Clay Afrique” within the Baltimore area, including producing 210 concurrent exhibitions locally. “Tour De Clay Afrique” consisted of 40 sites in which work by artists of color was highlighted, some with accompanying workshops.
  • Acknowledged and awarded funding by Open Society Institute and Family League of Baltimore for outstandingly “wide and diverse work with youth.”
  • Supported a 6 month residency for Jacqueline Clipsham, a sculptor, ceramic artist, disability-rights activist, and educator with achondroplasia (dwarfism), who worked to improve disability inclusion and accessibility within Clayworks and other local organizations.
  • Created narrative murals at the Good Shepherd Center with Pittsburgh artist Laura Jean Mclaughlin to bring recovering and incarcerated young women in touch with their creative potential.