VisArts Celebrates New Chapter for Its Clay Program with a Fun, Fall Event

October 04, 2018 News

The Visual Arts Center of Richmond will host its fifth annual Art Junction Chili Throwdown on Friday, October 5. This clay-centric fundraiser comes at a good time; VisArts recently expanded its ceramics program, adding a third clay studio named for the late Jim Valentine, a longtime ceramics teacher.

Adult admission to the Oct. 5 Chili Throwdown includes a handmade ceramic bowl—made by a VisArts clay artist. VisArts Clay Studio Manager Jeff Vick and intern Kathleen O’Connor have been busy coordinating the throwing, glazing and firing of over 500 ceramic bowls and mugs for the event.

Vick and O’Connor hosted two “throw-a-thons” in the months leading up to Chili Throwdown, inviting clay artists of all ages and skill levels to help create ceramic vessels for this fun, fall affair.

A VCUarts graduate, O’Connor has a Master of Fine Arts in ceramics and personally created over 100 of the bowls and mugs for the event. Her handmade pinch pots will be on display alongside hundreds of wheel-thrown bowls and mugs.

O’Connor says she’s enjoyed her time interning in the clay studios at VisArts. She appreciated working alongside the community of teachers and students who hone their craft together on a regular basis at the center.

“I think that’s why people gravitate to clay,” she said. “There’s this community that exists because the equipment is expensive to have on your own and you need people, feedback, information and knowledge.”

VisArts welcomes clay students of all backgrounds and experience levels. The new Jim Valentine Clay Studio, which is located in a studio formerly occupied by the center’s letterpress studio, will help VisArts meet the high demand for ceramics classes. The center plans to increase its clay offerings by 50 percent as a result of taking the new space online. Browse VisArts’ upcoming clay classes.

It’s not too late to buy tickets to the Art Junction Chili Throwdown! Admission is $20 for VisArts members and $25 for the general public. Kids under age 12 eat for $5 and kids under age 3 eat free.