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The Clay Studio

The Claymobile Community Engagement Program Mission



The Clay Studio is rooted in the belief that all people deserve access to arts learning opportunities, and assumes a strong responsibility to reach all segments of its local community. Since 1994, our mobile outreach program, the Claymobile, has collaborated with schools, neighborhood organizations, low-income housing, residential centers and other social service agencies throughout Philadelphia to create innovative, hands-on approaches to learning in a safe and supportive environment. Many of these partner sites work within under-resourced communities and schools. Our professional teaching artists bring to the partnering sites a “pop-up” ceramics studio that uses the accessible and tactile medium of clay to foster the practice of imagination, critical thinking, persistence, and to serve as a catalyst for community engagement.

How the Program Works

Claymobile sends a teaching artist and an assistant directly to a host site, bringing all of the supplies and materials necessary to conduct a ceramic art lesson. The teaching artist and assistant lead students through comprehensive lessons catered to age, ability, and classroom goals that teach students the basics of building with clay and focus on stimulating the creative imagination. Work is constructed at the site and then transported back to the Claymobile’s studio for firing. The Claymobile works in a residency format with options for varying lengths (typically 6 to 12 weeks). For the length of a residency we will visit the site every week at the same time and day for a 90-minute lesson. We ask that the host site provide the space, tables, and chairs for the lesson, as well as a source of water and an invested adult to oversee the activities.

Payment Information

The majority of our sites qualify for a subsidized rate. We can offer schools and organizations this subsidized rate if they serve an economically disadvantaged population (meaning that 75% or more of the constituents have been classified as having an economic disadvantage) This rate is $200 per Claymobile class. With out the subsidy Claymobile classes cost $400 for every class.

Claymobile Curriculum

The Claymobile offers four curriculum options for partner sites to choose from: Creative Clay, Claymation, S.T.E.A.M., and Collaborative Clay.

Creative Clay works as an “open arts” program, where projects are determined by students’ age and ability. In this residency, students will be led through a variety of functional and sculptural hand building projects that focus on creativity and self-expression. Students learn the basic techniques, such as coil-building, slab-making, pinching, attaching wet clay through the “slip and score” method, glazing, underglazing, and cold finish decoration.

Claymation challenges students to develop storyboards, imagine characters, and write dialogue while creating objects and characters using Plasticine clay. This residency involves literacy practice through narrative storytelling while incorporating technology to create stop-motion mini-films.

S.T.E.A.M. curriculum invites students to explore projects in science, technology, engineering, and/or math while creating artwork. Past examples include creating and studying fossils and volcanoes, floating boats, and exploring clay expansion pre-and-post kiln firing. Sites can choose to focus on one or two portions of STEAM or can opt for a sampler that would touch on all areas.

Collaborative Clay allows classroom teachers/ staff members to work with Claymobile staff to developed curriculum with areas of focus in world cultures, literature, social justice, or art history. This collaboration would include an academic focus on these subjects in the classroom, outside of Claymobile lessons.