elizabeth essner headshot web

Elizabeth Essner

Co-Curator for "Making Place Matter"

Email: elizabeth@theclaystudio.org

Elizabeth Essner is the co-curator for Making Place Matter.

As a curator, writer, and researcher, she is looking forward to bringing her collaborative curatorial voice to this socially engaged and ambitious project.

Elizabeth Essner is the newly appointed Windgate Foundation Associate Curator of Craft at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Previously an independent curator and writer, Elizabeth has authored and co-authored numerous publications, and curated exhibitions for institutions including the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Arizona State University Art Museum, UrbanGlass, and the Hunterdon Art Museum. A 2017 Curatorial Fellow with the Center for Craft in Asheville, North Carolina, she received her MA from the Bard Graduate Center in New York.

With a focus on craft materials and histories, Elizabeth has organized exhibitions for national and local institutions including, at The Woodlands, a historic estate in West Philadelphia, she curated Graffiti & Ornament, a site-responsive exhibition with Leo Tecosky and Roberto Lugo. A researcher for the forthcoming publication Shapes from Outta Nowhere: Towards Abstraction in Clay, 1890 – 2018. The Robert A. Ellison Jr. Collection, Elizabeth earned her MA from the Bard Graduate Center in New York.

For this inaugural exhibition at The Clay Studio’s new home in Kensington, Elizabeth is excited to work with Curator of Artistic Programs Jennifer Zwilling to examine the complex meanings of place by building direct connections between artists, audiences, and clay.

A sampling of Elizabeth's curatorial projects can be seen in the slideshow below.

1. Graffiti & Ornament at the Woodlands, Philadelphia, PA
Roberto Lugo, Do You Know How Hard it is to Get a Black Man Through High School, 2019. Photo: Ryan Collerd, Courtesy of Past Present Projects

2. Graffiti & Ornament at the Woodlands, Philadelphia, PA
Roberto Lugo and Leo Tecosky. Photo: Ryan Collerd, Courtesy of Past Present Projects

3. Shari Mendelson: Glasslike at UrbanGlass, Brooklyn, NY
Shari Mendelson, Deer Askos, 2018. Photo: Nils d’Aulaire

4. Shari Mendelson: Glasslike at UrbanGlass, Brooklyn, NY. Photo: Nils d’Aulaire

5. Handheld, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT
Works by Laura Livingston Fischer, Kay Sekimachi and David Clarke. Photo: Jason Mandella for the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Watch Elizabeth give a talk about From the Ground Up, an exhibition in 2021 about Peters Valley School of Craft.

1 essner graffiti ornament at the woodlands roberto lugo
2 essner graffiti ornament roberto lugo and leo tecosky
3 essner deer askos shari mendelson
4 essner shari mendelson glasslike overview
5 essner handheld the aldrich jason mandela