The Diversity of Contemporary Ceramics is Celebrated at Greenwich House Pottery’s Ceramics Now

Long before gaining its contemporary status as a medium for art and personal expression, pottery was considered an artisanal skill. This is how the legacy of Greenwich House Pottery, an ancillary of Greenwich House, was founded. In 1909 the settlement house expanded its immigrant assistance programs with the addition of pottery classes in the spirit of the Arts and Crafts Movement (a reaction to the period of heavy industrialism in the early 20th century) which emphasized handcrafted goods, in the hopes of providing struggling individuals with a marketable skill. Since its inception, The Pottery has provided the Greenwich Village community an entryway into the arts, coming to represent the cross section of artisanal craft and creative expression for potters of all levels.

Further expansion of the Pottery’s programs came in 1970 when then-director Jane Hartsook founded The Jane Hartsook Gallery in the hopes of cultivating an open space for emerging artists to share their work with the greater community. Today, the Hartsook Gallery is known for exhibiting a range of talents, from student work to well-known names like Keith Haring, Ken Price, and Cindy Sherman, in the hopes of challenging the preconceptions of the medium. Because of its commitment to exploring the modern application of clay, the gallery has garnered a well-deserved reputation as a venue that doesn’t shy away from challenging the norms of the pottery world.

This penchant for nonconformity – a trademark of the Greenwich Village community – is celebrated in The Pottery’s Ceramics Now annual exhibition. The series promotes creativity in ceramics and aims to connect the public with the art world, all while showcasing an assortment of potters’ works, from sculptural to functional pieces. By providing a space for a range of artists and works, The Jane Hartsook Gallery aims to depict the diversity of contemporary ceramics.  

This spirit is exemplified in Greenwich House Pottery artist and upcoming Ceramics Now exhibitor Lillian Miller. A veteran artist with The Pottery and the Jane Hartsook gallery, Miller has been a part of this clay-loving community since the 1950s. “I’ve witnessed a stimulating exchange of ideas,” she says of her time there, “the richness of diverse backgrounds and lives – all with the common denominator of an intense and passionate focus on clay.” Having cultivated her love and talent for pottery at The Pottery, Miller gained gallery representation and widespread recognition within the field after exhibiting at the Jane Hartsook Gallery. Returning in September to the gallery in which she was discovered, Lillian Miller will be publicly showcasing some of her current work for Ceramics Now from September 9th through September 30th. All Ceramics Now exhibitions are free and open to the public Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 6:00 pm, or by appointment. Additionally, there will be ongoing lectures and workshops featuring exhibiting artists to cultivate an ongoing dialogue between the artists and the public. Ceramics Now provides a wonderful opportunity for innovative artists to gain visibility and recognition, as well as integrate the ceramic arts within the Greenwich Village community. 

About Greenwich House

Greenwich House is a registered 501 c(3) organization and a member of the United Neighborhood Houses of New York. If you are interested in learning more about the network of settlement houses and the work they do, click here

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