“We’re not interested in creating artists in our own image,” comments Ceramics Program Head and Crafts Department Chair Nicholas Kripal. “We love that we draw students who are pushing the boundaries of the medium, students who want to be challenged.”
Students’ exploration of the craft can take many forms. There is equipment available for wheelwork, mold making and slip casting, as well as large kilns for hand-building and sculpture. Students are encouraged to investigate a wide range of processes, including the recent addition of 3D modeling and printing, as they develop their own personal visions.
Separate studio space is available for junior and senior ceramics majors, and students are encouraged to reach outside their own spheres for inspiration and ideas. As Kripal comments, “Many of our students are interested in interdisciplinary work, such as integrating industrial design and pushing it into the fine arts perspective, resulting in new hybrids. The fusion of ceramics with the performing arts is another standout example. We’re so excited about the opportunities present from the recent move to the Main Campus—being side by side with film, dance, media arts, being able to get lighting advice from the theater department—there’s a great new synergy here.”
The program makes a point of drawing on the energy and resources of the city as well. Students attend lectures and exhibitions at museums, galleries and other cultural institutions all over town, and participate in community art projects in the ongoing collaboration with Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Project.