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Morean Center for Clay’s Artist in Residence Program Cultivates Future Educators and Influencers



August 26, 2016


Morean Center for Clay’s Artist in Residence Program Cultivates Future Educators and Influencers


St. Petersburg, Fla. –It’s not often you can wonder the halls of a single building and witness future professional artists and professors of higher education getting their hands dirty for their first Artist in Residence show in St. Petersburg.

The Morean Center for Clay, housed in the Historic Train Station located on 22nd Street South in the Warehouse Arts District of St. Petersburg has become one of the largest working potteries in the Southeast United States. It offers education, studio space, rotating exhibitions and gallery sales in one large, beautifully-renovated train station.

It’s here you will find The Morean Center for Clay’s Artist in Residence (AIR) program, which houses six artists on an annual work exchange basis. Each resident agrees to work a total of 15 hours a week in exchange for their studio, 24 hour studio access, firings and discounts on clay. The current AIRs include Jackie Head, Seth Charles, Kelsey Nagy, Tucker Claxton, Patrick Rademaker and Liana Agnew.

According to Matt Schiemann, director of the clay studio artists program, it can be expensive to start your own studio, especially for individuals who have recently graduated and want to continue their work but need access to proper equipment. The Morean Center for Clay receives more than 50 applicants annually from across the United States, each vying for one of the six coveted spots.

St. Petersburg is an urban environment with a thriving artistic culture that creates a community of artists dedicated to a variety of mediums, whereas a number of other notable clay centers are located in rural areas lacking the metropolitan experience that draws many talented artists.

“St. Pete is a big arts community, and the Morean Center for Clay’s Artist in Residence Program is still young with plenty of potential to expand,” said Schiemann.

Kelsey Nagy, 28, from Memphis, Tenn., is one of the returning AIRs who specializes in ceramics. The Morean Center for Clay was her first choice for a residency due to the facility’s resources as well as the Florida Heat Surface workshop.

“My time here is preparing me for setting up my own studio or for whatever might come next,” said Nagy.

Many AIRs go on to become educators themselves or open their own studios, not only around the country, but around the world. This contributes to the growth in popularity for the center and St. Petersburg as the place to go to be immersed in art.

Seth Charles, 36, originally from Jacksonville, Fla., came to the Morean Center for Clay this year for its wood firing facilities. Not every residency offers multiple wood kilns and the connections with notable artists who are experienced in similar disciplines.

Charles draws his inspiration from natural elements, notably rock and stone forms and he strives to create something organic in nature, but not necessarily replicate natural elements in its entirety. Travelling from the West Coast to the East Coast has impacted his body of work tremendously as he looks to his surroundings when creating.

“The Morean Center for Clay is really a stepping stone between school and working as a professional artist,” said Charles. “My five year plan is to eventually go into teaching higher education.”

On Thursday, September 8 from 6pm-9pm, the center is having an Artist in Residence Welcoming Party for the 2016-2017 residents. There will be a meet and greet pot luck dinner from 6pm-7pm followed by a short presentation from each resident on their work and life. The new AIR exhibition runs from September 1-30 with opening night coinciding with 2nd Saturday ArtWalk on September 10 from 5pm-9pm.

The Morean Center for Clay location: 420 22nd Street South, St. Petersburg, FL 33712.


The Morean Arts Center, with roots dating back to 1917 as the Art Club of St. Petersburg, focuses on an innovative, community-oriented approach to art and art education. The mission of the Morean Arts Center is to connect people with art and to contribute to the economic development of the region. Operating under the Morean Arts Center includes the Chihuly Collection, Glass Studio & Hot Shop and the Morean Center for Clay.