Colorado high school students art on display at Carbondale Clay Center

Carbondale Clay Center also hosts a residency program and will hold a summer camp

Julie Bielenberg
The Aspen Times
Current Carbondale Clay Center's high school exhibition.
Julie Bielenberg/Aspen Times

Perspectives: High School Invitational

The current exhibition at Carbondale Clay Center is a rarity, featuring artists from outside the Carbondale Clay Center network, many showcasing their work for the first time.

“In my time, this is the first time we have done an exterior show,” said Matt Eames the center’s studio director. “We are focusing on the RE 1 School District. Basalt High School art teacher Denae Statzer brought the idea to us about a year ago.”

The front gallery of Carbondale Clay Center is currently filled with shelves of whimsical and colorful high school ceramics. Eames curated all the art and critiqued the student work from Basalt High School, Colorado Rocky Mountain School, and Yampah Mountain High School.

“It was very informal. I talked with students throughout the process, went to each school to familiarize students with idea of the show,” said Eames. “How would they know what an exhibition in, or what a clay center does. This was their first time with the experience, and it was wonderful.”

The result was over two dozen local teenagers showcasing their work for the first time. 

Presley Vaitonis, a student at Rocky Mountain High School, has “Green Fish” in the show.

Three of the ceramic works on display for the high school ceramics show at Carbondale Clay Center.
Julie Bielenberg / Aspen Times

“I got good at persevering because in ceramics you’re never really in control. The clay is always in charge, and if it’s too wet, it decides it doesn’t want it to do what you want it to do. The same if it’s dry it likes to crack or if there’s too much air inside,” said Vaitonis. “You have to accept that there will be times you come in with high expectations and there is a big chance that something goes wrong or just doesn’t work.”

Delayney Prosser, senior at Basalt High School, had a rough high school experience. She used art to express her creativity and emotion in visual art pieces, while being in a small, isolated valley where it was hard to relate to others. 

During her junior year, Prosser exhaustively tried to prepare for graduation and figure out what her life would look like out of high school. Through these classes, she was able to see what her passions were and began to see art as something that gave her life meaning. 

Ceramic works on display for the high school ceramics show at Carbondale Clay Center.
Julie Bielenberg / Aspen Times

Her ceramic creation, “Sunday Morning,” is a pancake mound delicately glazed to mimic syrup dripping down the stack.

Ceramic Artist Residency Program

The 2023-24 residency application is open and applications are due April 10 by 5 p.m.

According to the center’s website, the residency “is designed to encourage the creative, intellectual and personal growth of emerging and established ceramic artists. This program is an ideal opportunity for a developing artist who is looking for a place to pursue focused work while gaining teaching experience and valuable technical skills.” 

Current Resident Artist Gabby Gawreluk at work in the studio. Julie Bielenberg / Aspen Times.

The selections are based on the quality and artistic merit of the work, and the diversity of the prospective group in terms of commitment, work, background and stage of career development. There are up to three residents at a time. 

Ceramic artist residencies range from one to two years, starting Sept. 1 and ending Aug. 31 each year.

Summer Camps

Summer Camps will be revealed to the family membership for signup on April 4, and then to the public the following week. 

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