Armstrong Grant 2016 Recipients

Three programs submitted application for funds for the 2016 Armstrong Grant.  The committee of NMPCA members,  Penne Roberts and Daisy Kates, evaluated the applications and submitted recommendations to the NMPCA board, whose vote determines the awards.  All three programs are good investments in New Mexico’s clay community.  Details of each program can be seen below.

Awards for 2016

The board voted to accept Penne Roberts and Daisy Kates’ suggestions, awarding a total of $1500 this year in the following amounts to each of the three applications:
Manzano Mountain Art Council: $750.   To hold a wheel throwing class.  Barbara Campbell also loaned them a wheel that they can use for the next 2 years.
Santa Fe Community College: $500 .  To build a new salt kiln.  This will supplement the amount they have from other sources.
Adelante: $250 .   Materials and tools for Arts and Animals program. This will pay for clay and some tools. Penne has located some glazes to donate to the program.

Daisy and Penne are to be commended for working with the applicants to negotiate awards that would help these worthwhile programs succeed and still allow the NMPCA to stretch their resource to help all three organizations.  In each case, the organizations also had other resources within each local community contributing to their project in addition to the funds solicited from the Armstrong Grant.   At the Santa Fe Community College, other groups are also providing funds towards the kiln project.  The labor for building the kiln will be provided by staff and students.  At the Manzano Mountain Art Council, the community has provided the loan for the property that houses the Community and Art Center. This was an amazing show of support by this lower socioeconomic community. The assistants for the workshop will also be volunteers. Adelante is a very worthwhile program that serves a special needs population that in many cases has very few options for services.

Details of the Projects

  • Santa Fe Community College, School of Art and Design, Ceramics Dept.
    Grant proposal submitted by James Marshall, Program Head
    Request to assist in building a new soda kiln to replace an aging (and soon to be non-functional) soda kiln that is 7 years old. The total cost of the kiln construction is estimated at $11,000. The hard and soft bricks, burners, steel for the sprung arch and stainless steel tube for the chimney are all expensive materials. All labor will be donated by students, faculty and staff. The construction will take place in the summer of 2016. The program also utilizes a Bailey’s gas kiln and 4 electric kilns, but the soda kiln is the most popular kiln and an essential part of the program.
    The other sources for covering the cost of the kiln are the Clay Club donation, Building Renewal and Renovation fund, and SFCC Foundation.Penne Roberts and Daisy Kates visited the SFCC and met with James Marshall. They saw the studio rooms, equipment and the soda kiln, which is on the verge of collapse.  The ceramics program was started in 1999 and has been built up over the course of 16 years. There are approximately 140 students in the program each semester, a large percentage of whom are senior citizens.  Due to financial difficulties and cutbacks at the Community College the department’s yearly budget is now down to approximately $9,000. The Clay Club was started 7-8 years ago and their donation will come from their annual Christmas sales which give 40% of the profits to the program. The Santa Fe Community College Foundation is a separate account within the college that is based on donations.
  • Manzano Mountain Art Council (MMAC), Mountainair
    Grant submitted by Karen Smith, Coordinator, MMAC
    Request for funds to purchase a wheel and hold a 6-week wheel class to be held on Saturdays in September and October. This wheel will then be utilized within the program and for offering future classes and guest artist demonstrations. Members of the community have been requesting a wheel class. There are currently no wheels in the ceramics studio. Other wheels will be loaned from the community and the public school for the purpose of this class. The class will have approximately 10 participants and will be free.Assistants, advertising and additional tools will be provided by MMAC.  With the amazing support of a broad base of community members the MMAC has purchased a historic building in Mountainair which is now the new arts and community center. The MMAC is holding its 20th anniversary of providing community service this year. It serves rural, frontier and land grant communities along the eastern side of the Manzano Mountains. Many families within the region are living at or below the poverty level and children are often raised by single parents or relatives. Because of these socioeconomic factors, the MMAC provides the majority of its programs and events free of charge.
    The MMAC wants to be responsive to the desires of the community and also needs to plan for potential events that will help pay back the community for its loan on the new building. The purchase of a wheel to offer demonstrations by guest artists in the future and the wheel class will fit both of these needs.Penne and Daisy visited the program several years ago when they submitted a proposal for the Armstrong Grant. At that time they toured the space they were renting and also other related sites in Mountainair with Tomas Wolff, who has been very active in the organization. The MMAC is now utilizing their newly purchased property. For this proposal Daisy spoke at length with Karen Smith, the current coordinator.

     Adelante Development Center Working At the Wheel  Adelante Development Center, Armstrong Grant


  • Adelante Development Center, Inc., Albuquerque
    Grant submitted by Nancy Pope, VP of Development
    Request for funds to provide clay, glazes and tools for its Arts and Animals program. The program also receives in-kind donations from individual donors and have managed to offer the ceramics program for 10 years with in-house funding. Adelante’s Arts and Animals program is facilitated within a day habilitation setting and is offered full time to individuals with developmental and physical disabilities 5 days a week. There are approximately 48 participants. The program offers arts instruction and incorporates animals in a unique format that promotes creativity as well as exercise. The participants engage in a variety of creative activities as well as learning and caring for animals including rabbits, guinea pigs and birds and also help to train service dogs who will eventually assist people with similar disabilities. Working with clay is considered particularly therapeutic in relieving stress, serving as an outlet for expressing emotions, improving fine motor skills and dexterity, and promoting creative thinking and problem solving.Penne Roberts had visited this program last year when they also applied for the grant. This year Penne spoke on the phone with Nancy Pope as well as the ceramics instructor, Dani Miller. Dani has been teaching at Adelante for 10 years and there are approximately 10-12 participants who utilize the ceramics studio. They have a potter’s wheel and a slab roller and 2 kilns. The students learn all the clay techniques and like all aspects of working with clay. They get to improve their concentration and also improve their motor skills and get good results from their work. They take some of their pieces to Disability Workshops to sell and make gifts and awards for the Governing Board and other guests. They also sell some of their pieces at Adelante.

Read this thank you letter from the Adelante Development Center:  Adelante Thank You


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One Reply to “Armstrong Grant 2016 Recipients”

  1. Daisy Kates

    Thanks for posting the information for this years Bill Armstrong Grant awards. It always feels good to be part of the process that helps out such deserving programs. Although our monetary allotments are limited, they do make a difference in providing ceramic education to diverse communities.

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