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Top U.s. Cities For Clay Artists

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#1 ChenowethArts

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 10:38 AM

Someone sent me a link to a mylife.com post that lists The 10 Best Cities to be an Artist.  I found the results to include a number of surprises, including the number 6 rank of my city, Nashville and more surprising, Atlanta as Number 1 (I am OK with both of those,just surprised).  I look at most of these types of rankings and their subjective, non-scientific  selections a little cross-eyed, but they frequently reveal trends and changes in perception.  The mylife.com post used the following 5 categories in their decision making metric:

  • Cost of Living – The lower the better
  • People 20-34 years of age – Not that older people aren’t artists,
  • People working in the arts industry
  • Number of museums and galleries in the city
  • Households with income greater than $200,000

I would pose a similar question to the CAC forum.  Based upon a similar metric to the mylife.com ranking, What are the top cities/communities for Clay Artists? (and within that Clay Artist heading, I would include functional craft people, clay sculptors, and fine art ceramists)  OK, this is probably like asking a fox, what animal can best protect the chicken coop...but I would like to hear the conversation within the clay community itself.

 

Let's try this variation on the decision making metric:

  • Cost of living - lower the better
  • People working in ceramics (artists, technicians, and suppliers)
  • Number of galleries and clay-friendly shows (craft and arts)
  • Number of active, clay-related organizations (guilds, co-ops,public studios, etc.)

 

What say ye?  What are the top cities/communities for clay artists?.. and describe briefly why you would include your choice?


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#2 Bob Coyle

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 11:12 AM

Well here in old Santa Fe we come pretty close to the criteria... except that no one between the age of 19 and 55 lives here. The rest fits pretty good though.



#3 ChenowethArts

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 11:16 AM

Well here in old Santa Fe we come pretty close to the criteria... except that no one between the age of 19 and 55 lives here. The rest fits pretty good though.

Thanks Bob
My wife and I love Santa Fe...and we would join that over-55 group in a heartbeat if circumstances fell into place :)


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#4 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 11:25 AM

Did you know that safest cities are also something to consider? I have been looking. Santa Fe is on my list.
Did you know Nashville is #50 for dangerous cities. Just saying.I have been looking at at various definitions. Yours are pretty good.
Thanks for the list.I am liking
Santa fe= friends there, good museums, lots of artists
Asheville, NC,= friends there, lots of clay people, good climate
Pittsburgh= friends there, relatives there, a lot of clay, good museums, and seasons
Billings = friends there, good clay location, friendly city
Philadelphia= friends there, great clay city, galleries, museums,

but I like being little out of town for firing reasons.Been looking at houses in these areas.

Marcia

#5 Bob Coyle

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 07:00 PM

Just to veer slightly off topic... When I first moved here about ten years ago, much of the art displayed in the many local gallery's was South Western in theme. This was especially true for ceramics. Now a much larger proportion of art  in the local galleries is contemporary.  Has this happened in other areas as well ?



#6 Diane Puckett

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 10:50 PM

I have found the Asheville, NC area to be a wonderful location for artists. As the local saying goes, there is a potter under every rock. Seriously, there are many highly skilled potters here. There are endless offerings of excellent classes and workshops. NC Clay Club meets monthly. The potters here are generally very helpful and supportive of other potters and of the community. There are plenty of opportunities for studio space, galleries, and shows. Penland, Arrowmont, and Joseph Campbell are reasonably close, as are several vendors of ceramic supplies. The greater community recognizes and respects the work of local artists.

The downside is that the very high caliber of artists here means there is a lot of competition. It can also be very intimidating. Many successful local artists are in the Southern Highlands Craft Guild.

I cannot really comment much on cost of living. It is less than in the DC area, but not tremendously so.
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#7 ChenowethArts

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 05:31 AM

I have found the Asheville, NC area to be a wonderful location for artists. As the local saying goes, there is a potter under every rock. Seriously, there are many highly skilled potters here. There are endless offerings of excellent classes and workshops. NC Clay Club meets monthly. The potters here are generally very helpful and supportive of other potters and of the community. There are plenty of opportunities for studio space, galleries, and shows. Penland, Arrowmont, and Joseph Campbell are reasonably close, as are several vendors of ceramic supplies. The greater community recognizes and respects the work of local artists.

 

Diane, Thank-you.  I'm not surprised that Asheville has already shown up twice as a Clay Artist city (Marcia also mentioned it).  I was really surprised that it did not make the Top 50 list on the article linked in the first post in this topic.  As it turns out, Asheville looks to fall short on the 20-34 age group demographic percentage and the cost of living index is high,comparatively. 

 

I worked at a camp just east of Black Mountain in my college days and fell in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains.


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#8 Pres

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:53 AM

Speaking of NC, I just completed registration for the Asheboro Potters Conference March 7-9th. I went two years ago and had an enlightening time. I am hoping the weather cooperates and that the temperatures there are at least 30 degrees warmer than the PA temps at the time-hoping for a lot aren't I!


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#9 Mark C.

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 09:09 PM

I cannot wrap my head around living in any city no matter how potter/art friendly it is. Even if it's free

I could see living outside one -Way outside.

If I had to move ever ( and thats a big strech) it would not be where it snows or has nasty winters or to any City. 

Potters like me have a really hard time ever moving as the kiln/gas deal is to hard nowadays to relocate

After you build 3 or 4 kilns and have them all permited for 2 inch gas lines in the long ago past its just not easy to do that again .

Heck cone 6 electric for me would be like a jeweler,take it wherever you want-no strings. 

I just cannot image it. My customers keep me fixed as well-the base took 40 years to build-you do not walk away on that without some real thought.

I do plan one day to move my ashes onto the sea.

Mark


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#10 ChenowethArts

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 09:17 PM

I cannot wrap my head around living in any city no matter how potter/art friendly it is. Even if it's free

I could see living outside one -Way outside.

If I had to move ever ( and thats a big strech) it would not be where it snows or has nasty winters or to any City. 

Potters like me have a really hard time ever moving as the kiln/gas deal is to hard nowadays to relocate

After you build 3 or 4 kilns and have them all permuted for 2 inch gas lines in the long ago past its just not easy to do that again .

Heck cone 6 electric for me would be like a jeweler,take it wherever you want-no strings. 

I just cannot image it. My customers keep me fixed as well-the base took 40 years to build-you do not walk away on that without some real thought.

I do plan one day to move my ashes onto the sea.

Mark

 

Mark, I think you should tell us how you really feel. ;)


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#11 Pres

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 10:26 PM

Mark, I believe that your area is truly beautiful. If I had not ended up on the east coast for a number of reasons, California, Oregon, or Washington would be my choice. Of all of the places I have lived the west coast was my favorite. I lived in Tacoma for 5 years when I was just going into primary school-loved it. Loved the coastal drives down into northern California, and when we had to make transfer from base to base we saw more of CA. Beautiful.


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#12 Mark C.

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:34 PM

Paul I always speak from the heart, sometimes its a curse

Pres-look me up for a visit if you are ever out this way

Its a long winding road on all three access roads both north south or east

no freeways in or out.

Just remember folks no jobs around here and usually its way to rainy (except this year) and you really do not want to live here -bears- mountain lions and bigfoot-

Bring your passport as all visitors are screened at the redwood curtain entrance .

Mark


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#13 ChenowethArts

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 05:15 AM

Mark, There seem to be a number of smaller communities of artists across the country where clay is strong.  It might be a another good discussion topic here to identify places like your home where the environment (and perhaps smaller community size) is the attraction to the artist rather than the metropolitan marketplace's friendliness to the artist.

I had family that re-located to Gold Beach, OR back in the 1960's and that whole Oregon coast and Rogue River area ranks in my top favorite places on earth...and those trips up and down 101 are unmatched (IMHO) in terms of natural beauty.

 

If you had to get your passport stamped,Mark, and venture into the city where zombies are a bigger threat than bigfoot...what would be the most clay friendly city in your neck of the woods?


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#14 Mark C.

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 10:52 PM

(.what would be the most clay friendly city in your neck of the woods?)

Well there are only only towns in my neck I would have to say head south the San Francisco (6 hrs) or north to Portland Or. (8 hrs)Portland being friendly to clay artists and there is more room to spread out.

Now as far as Artists our county is second in the state with our southern neighboring county of Menodocino being the most artists in a county in Ca.

Gold Beach I know well as it just about 2.5 hours north and I albacore fish out of there every few years wity my boat.

Mark


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#15 ChenowethArts

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 09:51 AM

I suspect that Menodocino County did not make the Artist Friendy Cities list (mentioned in my original topic post) because the entire county has less than 100,000 people (and isn't a city).  Would Ukiah may the Clay Friendly list or is there another community that you would rank higher in the Menodocino area?


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#16 clay lover

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 10:27 AM

I've been in a very nice and well stocked Artist's Guild pottery shop in Ventura Harbor.



#17 ChenowethArts

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 04:54 PM

I've been in a very nice and well stocked Artist's Guild pottery shop in Ventura Harbor.

 

If this is the place you refer to: http://www.vcpottersguild.com/ ...they also have an active presence on FaceBook.


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#18 Amy Waller

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 06:21 PM

Because Asheville has been mentioned a couple times, here's a February 2013 story about the local arts scene (it's not specific to ceramics, bit it does hit on some of Paul's criteria):

 

Craiglist conversation is a tough take on Asheville's art scene

 

As alluded to in the initial post that sparked the above story, the Asheville Area Arts Council has gone through a tough few years. The current Executive Director seems to be doing some great work in turning it around, though - this profile is from last month:

 

Asheville Area Arts Council regains footing

 

My take: Asheville can be an expensive place to live, especially for young people and/or artists (who might be otherwise employed part or full-time). Tourism is big business, and lots of jobs are dependent on that - and not very high-paying. A lot of people work multiple service jobs. I'm not sure this is different from other cities in the US these days, but the heavy reliance on tourism can make it seem that way to a casual observer.

 

But - if you can afford to live in or near Asheville, it can be pretty great. Diane nails it on the generosity of potters and ceramic artists in Asheville and Western North Carolina. Handmade in America and the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design are two terrific Asheville-based craft organizations. And plus one on Clay Club - Clay Club rocks!



#19 GEP

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 11:37 AM

I'm going to add a "pro city" entry here :-). I live just outside of DC, and find that a big city has tons of advantages for a working artist. There are so many opportunities here, great art festivals, craft galleries, places to teach. And not to mention there are lots and lots of art-savvy, educated, and affluent people who like to buy art. When I need a hotel room for a show, that is the exception not the rule. This has saved me lots of moolah over the years. Plus when I get to sleep in my own bed during a show, it feels like another day at work, rather than a big ordeal.

Full disclosure, I actually do more shows in neighboring Baltimore than DC. I openly admit that Baltimore is more artistically-advanced. As I collect names for my email list, I notice Baltimore attracts event-goers from DC, Virginia, Pennsylvania etc. DC events have lots of great customers but they are much more local. Go figure.

(My theory is thst those who don't live in DC see the city as some kind of gated community, and outsiders are not welcome. It's not true!)

DC missed the top ten in the rankings due to its high cost of living. I am old enough to have bought a house here before the housing bubble, which is how I am able to live affordably here. This doesn't help anyone who is looking for a place to relocate. But this is another area where Baltimore has DC beat ... there are lots of affordable neighborhoods in Baltimore, and in the towns between Baltimore and DC.

I read the article provided by Paul as "top ten cities where you can find a job in the arts" so my take here is a little different in that I am weighing factors that are beneficial to a self-employed artist.

Like Mark, I have invested many years and lots of effort building a customer base here, and I can't imagine moving away from it.
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#20 Thala

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 10:21 AM

This past summer we traveled to Minnesota. We spent several days visiting studios there and I was really impressed with the community feeling between the artists even though they were several miles apart. I live in the Gold Country in California and I believe it is an emerging area for artists/potters/jewelers, etc. There are several fine galleries and coops up and down highway 49. Sacramento and San Joaquin counties both have potters guilds.




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