As we prepare to move into our new building and into South Kensington in 2022, we are taking this opportunity to reconfigure how we plan and execute our exhibitions. We consider it essential that Making Place Matter - the inaugural exhibition planned for our new building - is designed in collaboration with members of our community. 

Among participants who live in the Kensington neighborhood, staff members from each of 6 local organizations (Taller Puertorriqueño, Olde Kensington Neighborhood Association, Norris Square Community Alliance, Norris Square Neighborhood Project & South Kensington Community Partnership) and Clay Studio Exhibition staff; we have been honoured to share different experiences. We value all of The Council members experience, expertise, and their opinions as artists, educators and former residents of the Kensington neighborhood. We feel that their artistic input, strong connection to the neighborhood, and dedication to serving the community through ceramic art make them an essential voice in this first exhibition in The Clay Studio's new home. 

Among our wonderful members who all comment and participate in the different discussion presented, we count with:  

  • Zyaira or Z. Africa, member of the community and neighbor. 
  • Iris Brown, retired, community gardener for Norris Square Neighborhood Project. She is also one of the founders of Las Parcelas Community Garden and Villa Africána Colobó.
  • Rafael Marley Carrillo, young artist, neighbor and clay camp student for The Clay Studio.
  • Kris Casana, member of the community and neighbor.
  • Carmen Fernández, retired, active member of the community and neighbor. She served on several advisory boards and worked in Community Services at the Department of Public Wealthfare of Philadelphia.
  • Shireen Hammoudeh, Principal of Al-Aqsa Islamic Academy. She is an enthusiastic member of the Claymobile program.
  • Ah-Young Kim, Museum Educator and Manager of School Visit for the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
  • Giulia Longhi, Italian architect, eclectic artist, and one of the Associate Artists of the Clay Studio.
  • Roberto Lugo, born and raised in Kensington. He is a ceramic artist, social activist, spoken word poet, and educator for Tyler School of Art. He was Guest Resident Artist for The Clay Studio and is a current board member.
  • Lisa Maiello, member of the community and neighbor. 
  • Ms. Annie Moss, community member and neighbor. She is the Executive Director of Olde Kensington Neighborhood Association (Making Place Matter partner).
  • Pedro Ospina, member of the community and neighbor. He is a visual artist, founder and Director of The Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden. 
  • Meliza Reynoso, member of the community and neighbor. She has been an educator for eighteen years and Co-chair of the Board of Directors of Norris Square Neighborhood Project. 
  • Marilyn Rodriguez, Education Director of Taller Puertoriqueño and member of the community (Making Plave Matter partner).She is a committed social justice activist and artist. 
  • Nitza Rosario, member of the community and neighbor. She is a ceramic artist and Community Engagement Teaching Artist for The Clay Studio.
  • Stephanie Santiago, neighbors and community advocate. Community Engagement Manager at Norris Square Community Alliance (Making Plave Matter partner).
  • Kevin Snipes, current Clay Studio Resident Artist. He is a ceramic artist whose handbuilt porcelain works focus on narrative and drawing.
  • Leslie Sudock, specialist in Japanese textile arts, and Teaching Artist at Ready to Hand Studio: SAORI Philadelphia. She is also an enthusiastic member of The Clay Studio. 
  • Sophie Taylor-Havens, Technology, Arts, and Garden Manager at Norris Square Neighborhood Project. 
  • Archangel Torres, member of the community and neighbor.
  • Yuan Valcarcel, proud mom of a young artist, member of the community, and neighbor. 
  • César Viveros, member of the community and neighbor. He is a mixed media artist whose community engagement work empowers the immigrant community and people of color. 


  • Taller Puertorriqueño uses art to promote development within its community and the Latino Diaspora and build bridges to the Greater Philadelphia region. Founded in 1974, Taller has been elevating and preserving Puerto Rican and Latin American cultures through arts and diverse programming.
  • The Olde Kensington Neighborhood Association is formed by concerned citizens, who live in the Olde Kensington and Ludlow Neighborhood of Philadelphia. The association is a diverse amalgamation of individuals sharing a concern for their community and the people that live in it.
  • South Kensington Community Partners connects the community to resources and opportunities, the land, and each other. They promote community engagement in the neighborhood, while advocating for responsible development that builds upon the physical, social and economic fabric of the neighborhood.
  • Norris Square Community Alliance empowers residents to become self-reliant and to unite and build the community by developing and improving the physical, economic, social, cultural and educational aspects of the neighborhood. It was founded in 1983 in response to the community’s need for programs that reinforce their development.
mpm exhibit council meet01 website

Thursday, October 8th, 2020

1st MPM Exhibition Council Meeting

During our first gathering the mission of The Council was presented: "The Council is comprised of Thinking Partners from The Clay Studio’s various constituencies who will learn together from experts in exhibition design, art education, the three Lead Artists, and each other. Together, we will translate these ideas into the design of the Visitor Engagement Gallery space and activities. The goal of this Gallery is to cultivate a welcoming, equitable, respectful, and meaningful experience for every person who attends the exhibition Making Place Matter through hands on art-making activities. During this year of work, decisions will be made by consensus, or the general agreement of the group. We will work to build consensus through learning together, equal voices, and productive conversation."

mpm pinch pot community

Thursday December 10th, 2020

2nd MPM Exhibition Council Meeting

What do craft and clay can do for us as we're moving through this process? What resonates in our minds when we hear -or say- “Making Place Matter”? While having a hands-on activity, we had a delightful conversation, where we lost track of time, released dopamine and interchange expectations, ideas and imaginary around the project. We took a look at the logo ideas, at the work that the 3 lead artists will be presenting in the exhibition and brainstorm while doing pinch pots. Some of the words that arose in our meeting were: Inventing, Diversity, Asentándose, Embrace, Construir, Pertenecer, Home, Found, Evocar, Soñar, Place as a noun and verb, Elevar, Connection, Meaning and Responsibility to one another (and to the generation).

View some pinch-pots
slow meeting 3rd council meeting

Thursday February 25th, 2021

3rd MPM Exhibition Council Meeting

Our day to day tends to be rushed. For this Council, we counted on Ah Young Kim, Expert in Museum Education, who guided us in an exercise of slow looking, taking as examples two paintings on The Annunciation and some contemporary pieces. This exercise, along with a second hands-on session where we learned how to put two bowls together to make a larger container, represents one more step in the exercise of providing ongoing feedback on the exhibition plans. We continue to make progress in translating the project title into Spanish and Arabic, as well as the name for the “Community Studio”.

View more pinch-pots
4th council meeting

Thursday May 6th, 2021

4th MPM Exhibition Council Meeting

Our co-curator Elizabeth Essner gave us an update on the 3 artist's progress and guide us through a slow-looking exercise on their work.  Alex Gilliam from Tiny WPA gave a presentation on their community-led design process, and we had an exciting non-clay hands-on activity. Now we all have phone stands that we built during our gathering. There was also a preview of what the gallery space will look like and the whole Council participated in an exercise guided by Tiny WPA regarding the needs for the gallery.

Peek at our hands-on activity!
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Sunday July 18, 2021

5th MPM Exhibition Council Meeting

During our fifth gathering, Alex Gilliam from Tiny WPA guided all The Council's members through a hands-on workshop. We discussed topics regarding the way we would better experience a reflective space within the gallery. With how many people would we want to discuss the exhibition with? Would we better seat in groups or independently. What would be the ideal height to seat and converse about the artwork? With all this subjects in mind, we transformed cardboard into prototypes that we got to test and reflect around or ideas on seating within the exhibition.

Peek at our design workshop!
council bench input 243

Saturday September 18, 2021

Furniture building & testing

After the Design Workshop in July, we met with some of the The Council's members at the actual space where the future gallery is going to be. We moved foward from designing to building and testing of the future furniture. Density for cushions, possible angles and heights for the back of the benches, together with finishes of the wood were some of the aspects that we explored during this exciting experience. Besides being a lot of fun, it was also the opportunity to be together for the first time where we will soon have the exhibition installed!

Look at us building together!
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November 18 and 20, 2021

Woodworking at Tiny WPA

The Council members continued their furniture building in the wood shop at Tiny WPA, where they were trained in the use of power tools such as chop saws, planers, drills, and sanders. It was a busy time, as noise and sawdust filled the air! We then reviewed the results and considered other ideas to refine the designs even more.

Watch us in the wood shop!

Thank you!

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Making Place Matter has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.