Behind the Scenes: Hand in Hand Fall Benefit 2018
Making the Fall Benefit Cups
Guests at Clay Art Center’s annual fall benefit leave with more than the memories of an evening spent with friends, peers, and honorees; they leave with a piece of CAC itself.
Since 2007, those who attend the Hand in Hand gala have taken home a handmade ceramic item, usually in the form of a cup, made by the artists-in-residence from the past year.
“The benefit makes it possible to continue the work that we’re doing in the community,” says Executive Director Leigh Taylor Mickelson. “The [cup] giveaways are the residents’ way of thanking the attendees because without them, the residency wouldn’t be happening.”
The upcoming bash in October will mark an additional milestone: the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Clay Art Center’s residency program. Each year, several talented emerging artists are welcomed at CAC for a one-year residency program, which includes private studio space and paid teaching opportunities.
The experience has provided Dana Reifer, the Westchester Community Foundation Resident Artist, with the chance to find a new rhythm.
“When I make stuff, I like to go slow and pay attention to the details,” says Reifer. “When you’re in school you feel really rushed. But being here and doing it on my own time has allowed me to slow down and see what would happen when I could really put all of that time into one piece or a few pieces and let them be their best selves.”
The residents work together to design and craft around 200 cups for the gala. This year, the cups will feature the same uniform glaze, but will feature a special mark from the specific artist who made it.
“I encouraged everyone to add a little touch of themselves into the pieces which I thought would be more interesting than us just throwing random things, which it felt like we did last year,” says Logan Wall, who is in her second year as an Artist-in-Residence. “This year it seems like each piece says ‘this was made by this person.’”
For Mike Cerv, who just finished an exhibition of his work, collaborating with his fellow artists is a chance to not only find inspiration, but gain new skills.
“We bounce ideas off of each other and teach each other techniques that we don’t already know,” says Cerv. “Making those cups to draw people back to funding the residency is great, because this residency has helped me a lot in terms of developing my practice and getting into grad school.”
For Zoey B Scheler, who will be staying for a second year of residency, the gala is a chance to advocate for the value CAC has in the community.
“Every time I talk to people about Clay Art Center they say, ‘it’s a hidden gem,’” says Scheler. “It’s this wonderful little place and until you stumble upon it, you really don’t know about it. And the token of leaving with something handmade, there’s nothing better.”
This year’s fall benefit will take place on Thursday, October 18th. For tickets and more information, check out the event page.