November Letter from our Executive Director

Here’s a cute photo of my kid taken at an open studio event at Clayworks in February. Wes Brown, one of our Resident Artists at the time, demonstrated his unique sculptural process, and my son Luke was so moved by it that he had to get involved and collaborate. Wes was generous and let Luke help texture a slab for one of his monumental sculptures. Luke talked about it for weeks. “I like Wes. I like clay. I want to go to Mommy’s work again.”

It’s the holiday season, also known as “year-end” for people who fundraise for a living. You’re being asked to give a lot right now. “Philanthropy” technically means “love of humanity”, and that can be overwhelming. There are a lot of great causes out there – a lot of humanity to love. Supporting the arts is generally low on peoples’ lists for giving. Even though the arts are integral to literally every aspect of humanity, it is a challenge to tell a linear story about how art changes lives.

I entered public school in first grade reading at a fifth grade level. (My dad was an English teacher.) There were all these words I could comprehend, but they were communicating things I didn’t have the emotional maturity to absorb. Very confusing for a five year-old. The only place I felt remotely safe or normal was the art room. I hid-out in the art-room the whole way through public school, and then college, and then throughout my career. I guess I’m still “hiding-out” in the art room.

When I interviewed for my job at Clayworks, my husband asked how it went. I told him it was like a Thanksgiving dinner. Some really weird, awkward moments, good food. I felt simultaneously judged and accepted. You know, like being at home. Like being in the art room. I’ve only been at Clayworks a year and I don’t want to make assumptions about this huge community, but I hope it feels like home to you too. If it does, great! And if it doesn’t, please tell me what I can do to help.

It’s year-end. We’re fundraising. Profits never meet expenses, that’s why we do this work. I can’t land this letter gracefully without making a blatant ask. If you can, please donate here: Keep Clayworks going strong. Baltimore Clayworks really is #touchinglives. Clayworks has made a safe, creative, wonderful space for me. It’s made the same for my son. Together, let’s make sure it does the same for others.

Sappy Thanksgiving,

Cyndi Wish, Baltimore Clayworks Executive Director

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