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 Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2006 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Ceramics: A Small Program with a Large Reputation
by Linda Besen, Publications and Creative Services

When U.S. News & World Report ranked CU's ceramics program ninth in the nation, the ceramics faculty were not surprised. "All three of us think we should be ranked a little bit higher," said Professor Scott Chamberlin. "We have spent a couple of decades building a great program." He gives credit to Betty Woodman, professor emerita and former director of the ceramics program, who has been called the most influential artist now working in ceramics. "She was responsible for bringing good people here, both faculty and grad students, and realized that ceramics couldn't survive by itself in a fine arts department — it had to find ways of engaging the painters, the sculptors and others. Those of us who came after feel the same way."

Ceramics has always been intertwined with painting and sculpture so it's natural that the disciplines work together. Historically, stories were told in pictures on pots; murals were painted on tiles. At CU, the academic structure of the entire fine arts program fosters dialogue among peers in every area.

"I think the nice thing about the ceramics program is that all of us on the faculty are working artists. We spend a lot of time on our studio practice — but we also are interested in and love teaching," said Chamberlin.

Molly Hatch, one of only two graduate students admitted to the program last year, agrees. She says CU was her first choice, mainly because "the faculty work coming out of the program was reputable." All of the graduate students work in a large, somewhat communal set of private studios with 24-hour access.

Chamberlin has been at CU for 20 years. "I've watched what happened during the Reagan years when everybody left to become business people," he said. "Now it's the opposite: people are realizing there are lots of ways of making a life." Currently the department is experiencing a surge in enrollment to about 900.

For more information about the ceramics program, visit Art Department: Ceramics.


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