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The Clay Studio has ambitious plans

We're building a new clay center in South Kensington, Philadelphia — the first of its kind in the U.S. Our expansion and relocation will create luminous new galleries and studios, more spacious classrooms and kilns, advanced equipment and sustainable new programmoing. Located in one of Philadelphia's most vibrant arts corridors, our new center will bring together artists, art lovers, and people of all ages to discover and nurture their creativity with clay. We will greatly expand our role as art educators, while securing our place as a leader in the field of ceramic art.

This is a defining moment. Together, we will make this vision a reality! Together, we are an unstoppable force for good!

Our Capital Campaign

The Case for Support

Read the case for support of our capital campaign, "Clay Together" view .pdf

Our Vision

The Clay Studio envisions a place where creativity is taken seriously. We are a creative engine for our community and a destination where all people can explore the vast world of clay. We are a place where artists have the opportunity to shape their careers and the public has access to the best art-making studios. We are a place where individuals from all walks of life are provided with the opportunity to freely express themselves. 

The new Clay Studio will house the most technologically advanced art-making equipment, larger studio spaces, and more income generating opportunities. The new space will encourage collaboration among artists, welcome amateurs and professionals alike, and instill a love for ceramics among future generations.

When complete, the new Clay Studio will add to the cultural landscape of Philadelphia and will advance the field of ceramics across the country and around the globe.

Our Opportunity

For over 40 years The Clay Studio has operated in converted row homes, storefronts, and through adaptive reuse of loft warehouse space. In that time, The Clay Studio has grown from a collective of five artists to an institution that serves more than 35,000 people annually. The success of our programs and the rising demand for our services have led the Board to approve a growth agenda.

Participation in The Clay Studio’s programming has surpassed all expectations. In the past seven years, school attendance has quadrupled, tuition income has doubled, and new community engagement programs are reaching thousands of new individuals annually. The Clay Studio’s school and workshops consistently sell out, with workshop waiting lists reaching double digits. We are experiencing genuine capacity issues – impacting our ability to offer more programs and to process the artwork that is being made within our school and workshops. The Clay Studio is poised to take full advantage of this opportunity.

In order to remain a leader in the field and in Philadelphia’s cultural community, we have set ourselves the task of creating a facility that is a dynamic, flexible 21st century resource that will meet this rising tide of community demand and evolving artistic needs.

Our Plan

The new Clay Studio will be the first of its kind ceramic arts facility built from the ground up in the United States. Our new home will allow us to better animate our mission to create a unique learning environment to experience the ceramic arts.

We have designed a space that will bring together artists, art lovers, and people of all ages who are interested in working with clay. This new space will provide individuals with access to the process of making as well as the opportunity to see finished artwork. 

Improved artist space will encourage a free exchange of creative ideas and new career options. A new facility will serve three broad audiences (artists, the public, and youth) and create more efficient operations.

Our Moment

Over the past decade, there has been a cultural shift that marks a newfound respect for handmade objects, a new appreciation for the artisanal product, and a return to a do-it-yourself ethos and the maker movement. In addition to the growth in customers and students, we have seen the rise in artist entrepreneurs who are producing work on a replicable scale. With strategic focus and coordinated effort over the past five years, the Studio has placed itself ahead of this cultural shift and has benefited from these larger forces. A new space will allow us to realize our full potential in addressing these lasting cultural shifts.

All of this growth has brought us to this moment. Our programming needs have surpassed our physical capacity. Public support for our programs is at an all time high with larger cultural shifts accelerating more demand. Our current facility has limited ability to accommodate the amount and type of equipment we need to meet the needs of our artists and students.

The Clay Studio has engaged in a careful multi-year, multi-stage planning process. We have assessed our space needs, conducted market analysis, and planned for long-term business sustainability. Combined with the significant increase in demand, the Board has concluded that this is the right time to construct a specifically designed facility that will fuel our future growth.

Did You Know?

The CARES Act means that charitable contributions this year carry more deductions than at any other time. Full details here.
          1. The CARES Act creates a new above-the-line deduction for you and for all taxpayers for total charitable contributions of up to $300. The incentive applies to cash contributions made in 2020 (extended now through 2021) and can be claimed on tax forms next year.
          2. The law also lifts the existing cap on annual contributions if you itemize, raising it from 60% of adjusted gross income to 100%.

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January 24, 2022

We're Nearing Completion!

The brick facade is going up on the new Clay Studio building, now nearing completion on North American Street in South Kensington. The undulating pattern of the exterior masonry, appearing to weave in and around the windows, is a neutral bone color. It is similar to what ceramicists call bisque-fired: the color of clay before it has been glazed with color. The new neighborhood the Clay Studio finds itself in has been undergoing tremendous change, as parts of Kensington experience rapid gentrification. That corridor of North American Street is becoming dense with artists and artisans, with the studios of the Crane Arts Building directly across the street, and just up the street is the NextFab fabrication “maker space.”

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January 15, 2020

Groundbreaking Day: History Made!

On January 15, 2020 we broke ground for our new building in South Kensington. Our new home on the American Street corridor is at the epicenter of Philadelphia's creative community, where dozens of artist entrepreneurs, makerspaces, and arts nonprofits are thriving. We are also in a well established community that is culturally diverse, expanding, and excited about our future together.

details of the event
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July 2018

July 2018: Why local designers and artisans are so excited about our future home

DID YOU KNOW? Every floor and every space has been re-imagined with an eye to the future, with new facilities that do not exist in our current home. Our new building has been strategically planned to support innovative ceramic artists, designers, and entrepreneurs. Imagine what will be possible when the new Clay Studio has:

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June 27, 2018

Clay Studio invites community to help mold its future

The Clay Studio will leave its longtime home in Old City in 2020 to open a brand new ceramic arts center in South Kensington — and it’s looking to community members in that neighborhood to help them shape what the center and programming itself will look like. “We want to come in and be respectful and ask the neighbors to welcome us, and also make sure that once we open our doors, they feel welcome to come in, feel agency of the space and feel like it’s really their space as well,” said Jennifer Zwilling, curator of artistic programs at the Clay Studio.

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new building newsletter

June 2018: “Make New Friends, But Keep the Old...”

One of the most exciting aspects of our move is the idea that we are bringing our existing community with us to a vibrant new neighborhood where we can expand by engaging new audiences. We have always believed that art empowers people, who in turn empower their communities.

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New Building Newsletter

April 2018: Teamwork makes the Dream Work

I am happy to announce that we have finished the schematic design phase of our project. We have spent countless hours carefully laying out classrooms, galleries, workspaces, and studios to create the best community-oriented environment for ceramics and clay artists. As we enter into the homestretch of our Clay Together capital campaign, we realize, now more than ever, how important our community is to our success.

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New Building Newsletter

March 2018: It’s Time to Tell Our Story

Welcome to the first edition of NEW BUILDING NEWS, a monthly newsletter designed to keep The Clay Studio community informed about everything related to our exciting move to our new home in South Kensington.

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march 25, 2018

Jennifer Martin Named New Executive Director

The Clay Studio appoints Jennifer Martin as Executive Director to lead the organization as it relocates to South Kensington with a brand new building — the first of its kind ceramic arts facility built in the United States.

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february 22, 2018

The Clay Studio is moving from its longtime Old City home

The Clay Studio will be breaking ground on a 30,000-square-foot facility just outside Kensington later this year. The Studio, which was founded in 1974 by five artists, has grown from serving a small group of potters to providing services for over 35,000 people on an annual basis.

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february 21, 2018

The Clay Studio Plans for "A Different Wave"

After more than four decades, one of Philadelphia’s anchor arts organizations on Second Street in Old City is pulling up stakes to establish itself in a new neighborhood.

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February 21, 2018

We're Shaping a Movement

For more than 40 years, The Clay Studio has shaped artistic careers, student imaginations, and countless works of art. And now, we are hard at work — quietly crafting ONE momentous occasion.

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