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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


The Legend of Pot Hollow

Here’s a summary of what has been happening with ceramic arts at Ghost Ranch following the flash flood in June 2015. Most of the studio was washed away, the buildings unuseable. The NMPCA held workshops in temporary quarters (Pinon and the Arts Center) in August and September. This was possible because the ranch bought a nice slab roller and lots of good tools (at an excellent discount from New Mexico Clay). In addition, Cricket Appel donated a kiln, and we salvaged a few things from the flood. The workshops, “Soft…” with Judy Nelson-Moore and Luisa Baldinger was followed by a weekend with Debra Fritts, both events were successful. In the meantime, the NMPCA has moved forward with collecting money for support of rebuilding ceramic arts facilities at the ranch.

This year, the ranch allowed us to salvage more materials from the flood area, and we collected quite a lot of glaze materials, although the tools and wheels were almost a total loss. A kind donor gave us a big kiln and a lot of materials and tools. The folks at Ghost Ranch have provided “temporary” workspace for the ceramic arts in an existing building that the NMPCA has used for winter workshops and evening activities: Pinon … across the parking lot from the Dining Hall.

We look forward to 4 NMPCA-sponsored ceramic art workshops at the ranch this summer and fall, in addition to the programs the ranch offers themselves. The NMPCA workshops include:

Ceramic art at Ghost Ranch, Jack Roberts Here is some information from Barbara Campbell on 6/27/16 after holding three Volunteer Camp weekends to work on the temporary workspace in the Pinon Building at Ghost Ranch.

Thank you everyone for helping get the new pottery up and running. This just wouldn’t have been possible without the continued interest and dedication of the NMPCA and all your hard work.

The first class started today with a group called “Family week” where grandparents and children and cousins etc all take classes together and move from one discipline to another throughout the week. It is the course that Camila Trujillo used to teach in Pot Hollow.

I am thinking about the beautiful tile Judy did for us commemorating the renovation of pot hollow in 2007 that actually survived the flood. I have the tile hanging on my gallery wall and would like to get it installed at the ranch. I am wondering if we should make a sister tile to commemorate the flood and to honor all the participants who helped move from the muck to Yucca and then the renovation and the upgrade we all did to Pinon#1…….by the way, I do think a new name is in order. We have batted a few possibilities around, but nothing has been decided. I would love it if everyone could sort of think about a new name for our new “temporary” situation and a way to commemorate this phase of our presence at the ranch.

We also have permission to do an installation on the roof of Pinon. Leonard is looking into old manikins that we can put seated in front of salvaged wheels, maybe two or three or just one if it is all we can dig out. Please be thinking about this project with ideas on how it can come about. Our thinking so far is that we will clean up the parts and paint the set up (person at wheel with pot) to be installed on the roof which will be silhouetted against the sky.

I think sometime in the fall we could get comped room and board for this project……..I am hoping to get them to extend the portal roof another 25′ to the North and pour a slab for an extended breezeway work space. I would love to see this happen before our workshop in September, but please don’t hold your breath on this one. I will do my best.

Thanks again to all of you for your continued support and hard work.

The Slip Trail editors, Jacquita Beddo and Judy Nelson-Moore send a great BIG THANK YOU to Barbara Campbell for all the endless hours and trips up to Ghost Ranch. There was struggling through the Ghost Ranch’s internal politics and personalities to keep alive our hope for a new facility. Through a lot of anguish and an awful lot of physical work, you’ve had to push and work ever since the flood. Thank you, Barbara, you are appreciated.

Armstrong Grant Deadline

by Daisy Kates

Deadline for 2015 grants is February 1st, 2015. 

As you can see from recent postings, the Bill Armstrong annual grant has provided funds for some very worthwhile projects in ceramic education for non-profit organizations. Examples are a mural at a charter school, a ceramic workshop for a theatre group, workshops at various schools, programs for special needs participants,  a potters wheel for an after-school program, etc. The Armstrong grant can be used to purchase materials and equipment for an institution or project as well as teaching fees.

This is a good time to start thinking about programs in your area that could benefit from up to $1000 for assistance to a 501(c)3 organization that provides  education in ceramics. Please inform others of this opportunity. Although this is not a lot of money by today’s standards, it can facilitate a project that would not have been possible without these funds.

The application process is simple and direct and is described on our website, The applications are due on Feb. 1st.

If you have any questions regarding the grant, feel free to contact me at or 505 867-3790.

Edictor’s note:

The recent postings that Daisy refers to can be found in our post of 10/27/14 about the 2013 and 2014 grant recipients.  The Armstrong Grant is named after an early member of the NMPCA, Bill Armstrong, who was a great supporter of ceramic arts education.  The board established this annual grant after he died in memorium.  The grant recipients have used monies to expand or enhance their ceramic arts education programs and activities throughout the state of New Mexico. (click here to see previous grant recipients)

The application process is relatively simple, and explained in full on our website…just click here.