I am Julia Dean, the founder and owner of The Clay School, Ithaca’s community pottery studio. Over the past several weeks and months, I have been working as an individual and a business owner to understand the roots of systemic racism in this country and my place in it. I am making a commitment to this work both personally and professionally. On behalf of The Clay School, I commit to take the following steps:
-Reserve at least one seat in each (age 13+) clay class session for BIPOC community members seeking respite and recreation. This seat will be provided free of charge.
-Reserve at least one seat in each (age 13+) TRY-IT workshop for BIPOC community members seeking respite and recreation. This seat will be provided free of charge.
-Reserve at least one seat in each after school session for a BIPOC young person, free of charge, and partner with community organizations such as Village at Ithaca to eliminate transportation or other barriers to accessing the studio.
-Actively seek out opportunities to bring clay education to diverse communities outside of the studio.
-Contribute a portion of annual profits to local racial justice organizations.
-Engage in ongoing learning, thinking and discussion around the Clay School’s role in dismantling white supremacy and continually revisit these commitments.
The Clay School is committed to providing a vibrant, creative space for community members to work with clay, and learn alongside fellow creatives, from local professional and emerging potters. Our goal is to foster a sense of community among students of all ages and enrich their continuing education through shared experiences around making art.
At the closing of the Cornell Ceramics Studio in 2011, the void was apparent in the Ithaca community for a space that could house and teach clay classes to students of all ages. After a long search for adequate and affordable square footage, Julia Dean, a former instructor at the Cornell Studio, moved her own ceramic production studio to a space large enough to support a teaching studio as well, and The Clay School was born in the fall of 2015.
Enlisting a cadre of well established potters in the area with decades of combined teaching experience, The Clay School is able to offer a variety of class descriptions, techniques and approaches to working with clay. Students may choose to concentrate on wheel throwing, hand-building methods, surface decoration, and functional work. Monthly shelf rental is available to established students. And there are weekend and one-day workshops offered throughout the year for locals and out of town students as well.