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Finding Minnesota: Northern Clay Center In Mpls.

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Art comes in many forms, as you know. And pottery seems to be making comeback in popularity. This week in Finding Minnesota, a closer look a hidden treasure right in the metro area — the Northern Clay Center on Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis.

On the outside, it looks industrial. On the inside, exquisite is the word that comes to mind.

With every step and with every turn, you find creative works of art at Northern Clay Center.

Emily Galusha is the director of the center.

“Clay as a medium, whether it’s made into pots or something utilitarian or sculpture is having a real resurgence, which I think is a response to everything going digital,” she said.

The current exhibit is part of the center’s 20th anniversary celebration.

It features artwork by people who’ve played key roles in NCC’s history — staff members, teachers and professional artists.

Looking at these finished products, it’s hard to believe they all started out looking like a clump of mud.

Clay is not exactly pretty. But Galusha said, it’s got a great appeal for artists.

“People do seem to get seduced by the material. I, myself, am not a potter, I don’t work in clay, I like it finished,” she said with a laugh.

When you take a class here, one of the first things they do is give you your own bag of clay. Then, they encourage you to dig right in and get a feel for what clay is really like.

Over the years, the center has become a place where thousands of people have taken classes.

Not just adults, but kids, too — including some children in a week-long summer camp.

“They are completely uninhibited, at a certain point they tend to hold back, but early on they get entrance,” Galusha said.

After a piece of clay is sculpted, it’s then painted and fired — and then sometimes glazed and placed in a kiln to be fired a second time.

It’s a simple process that continues to yield beautiful pieces of art over and over again.

There’s only one more week left to see the current exhibit at the Northern Clay Center. After that, the work of Japanese clay artists work will go on display in September.

And if you think you’d like to learn how to work with clay, enrollment in fall classes is still going on.

You’ll find a link to the center’s website here.

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