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The Clay Studio

Claymobile Videos & Student Gallery


Do you remember your first arts experience? Many children and youth in the Philadelphia region lack access to high-quality arts experiences in their schools and neighborhoods due to budget constraints and a focus on achievement testing. As years of research have shown, art is a powerful vehicle for learning and motivating young minds to think in different and creative ways. The award-winning Claymobile is a 100% mobile program that works in partnership with schools and community organizations to bring hands-on arts experiences to children and youth at the neighborhood level. Find out how the Claymobile program is keeping children in the Philadelphia region educated about art through ceramics by watching this inspiring eleven-minute video produced by Marianne and Tom Tebbens, Gary Bramnick, Bunny Glick and Stan Shapiro, Franz Rabauer and Brian Daggett, and Etta Winigrad.

Student Gallery

The Claymobile had the opportunity to work with a wildly talented group of 7th grade students from the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Elementary School in Philadelphia’s Art Museum area.

During this six-week residency, teaching artist Alicia Crosby and assistant Ann Gaziano challenged the students to create three unique sculptures inspired by different areas of art. The duo kicked off the first day with an African mask project. After a short introduction about the cultural importance and meaning of these masks, the students were given the chance to create their own masks. To form the masks the students had to incorporate the three basic hand-building techniques: slab, coil and pinch. In addition, everyone was asked to think of what their mask represented and what helped inspire its creation.

After the successful completion of the mask project, Alicia and Ann worked to take the residency to the next level. For the second project the students learned about and created gargoyles. Gargoyles, usually designed in the shape of elongated fantastic animals adorning the roofs of gothic cathedrals, are architectural devices with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building thereby preventing rainwater from running down walls and eroding the building.

To create their gargoyles students were challenged to expand on the processes they used to create their masks. Alicia had the students form a slab around a cylinder for the bodies then add a larger pinch pot for the heads. The students were then prompted to think about texture while forming their gargoyles. This project was an even greater success. The students’ creativity and skill was really impressive.

For the last project, students brought in objects that they cherished to replicate or enlarge. Students replicated key chains, watches and even a video game controller. This was a big undertaking, the students had to really go outside of their comfort zone to learn how to replicate an already existing 3D object, but the kids worked diligently and produced some incredible pieces.

From students to faculty to administration, St. Francis Xavier was a treat to work with and such an amazing host during this residency. The work made by these 7th graders was proudly on display at St. Francis Xavier for Catholic Schools Week.

This residency was made possible with support from the Connelly Foundation.