How soon could Clayworks reopen?

How soon?  If the bankruptcy papers are filed, it is possible that the Clayworks buildings will be sold for other purposes, and that the hope of continuing in our Studio/Classroom Building will be gone forever.

It is also possible that working with the community and our many supporters, we can assemble a new organization to purchases the building(s) out of bankruptcy. Such a venture is costly and poses several complications. If things were to work out favorably, the resumption of programming would be months away. By that time many people involved in the past (staff, teachers, students, etc.) may have moved on to pursue other opportunities and/or may not be immediately available to rejoin the “new” Clayworks.

But what if all this were achievable:

  • Community Arts programs (for Jubilee, Zeta, Tuerk House, other locations) were continued without interruption, coordinated by Herb Massie and with teachers such as Dominique Hellgeth, Sallah Jenkins, Carolyn Phillips and others continuing their work.
  • Education Programs, coordinated by Matt Hyleck, were scheduled for Fall 2017 with 12-week and 6-week programs offered in the September-December time frame in classrooms in the Studio Building.
  • Facilities, Maintenance and Kilns — Sam Wallace is employed to manage the facilities (addressing maintenance and security) and to provide technical services such as kiln firings for students, artists and rental clients.
  • Artist Studios and Exhibitions — Artist studios for resident artists and Springboard are reopened and available beginning in September. Efforts are made to identify, sponsor, install and promote exhibitions (at locations to be determined) for the Fall, Holiday, and Winter seasons.

All of this is possible. The Clayworks Community has proposed a reorganization program that would rescue Baltimore Clayworks, Inc., repay creditors, reopen operations as outlined above, and avoid turning over the assets to a bankruptcy trustee.

While this too involves much financial work, the framework is eminently reasonable and achievable — involving transfer of donor funds beginning immediately to maintain accounts and support reopened operations, and the sale of the Gallery Building/parking lot to bring current the outstanding accounts and to pay bank obligations for lines of credit and building liens as they become due.

The proposed reorganization plan has been reviewed by attorneys and others with specific arts organization management experience, and received their endorsement.

It is now up to the Board of Trustees to make the decision. We believe that the remaining members want to see Baltimore Clayworks survive. The burdens of piloting the organization through this troubled time have cost each of them and all Clayworks supporters dearly. Now we all have the opportunity to reverse the course, and make a new roadmap possible.

It begins with the Board accepting this proposal and allowing the Clayworks Community to reopen the doors on Smith Avenue.

What can you do to help?

  • Contribute to the Community Campaign. We need to build up the fund in order to reopen the doors and restart operations. Here is link to pledge form: —
  • Share this message with your friends, neighbors, and other arts supporters who value Baltimore Clayworks and wish to see it reopen soon. We post our messages on Facebook if you would like to share with your personal network that way. Visit




1 thought on “How soon could Clayworks reopen?

  1. curiousful - August 4, 2017

    Here is the letter I emailed to the board members today. I thought it would be ok to share it here as well:

    Dear Clayworks Board Members;

    I am writing to express my support for the reorganization proposed by the Clayworks Community Campaign. I would like to see Baltimore Clayworks remain in its gorgeous studio building in Mount Washington, for its heritage, for its place among (and benefits to) the larger Mt. Washington community, and its very site specific studio equipment, kilns, etc that would be difficult to move and/or rebuild in a new location.

    Of course, I would like to see the teachers, staff, and the other people and businesses who are owed money get paid what they are owed, and for the Clayworks’ other obligations to be responsibly addressed. That is why I have contributed to the CCC.

    When I look back, I realize that I have a long history with the Clayworks. I’ve taken classes with Deb Bedwell, Joe Vitek, Tina Gebhart, and others. I’ve taken workshops there (a good one with Pete Pinnell.) My children attend the summer camps. Sometimes I bring my family to openings or gallery exhibitions. My house is full of Clayworks pots and I’m drinking coffee from one now.

    Most significantly, I’ve made good friendships there, among people I admire. I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

    I believe recent difficulties can be put to rest, and the Clayworks can move forward again with its mission. I hope you, the board, will do what is right to keep Clayworks home in Mount Washington where it is needed and cherished.

    Christopher M. Rose

Comments are closed.

Scroll to top