May 1, 2023
4 minute read

A Gathering: Works from 'Contemporary Black American Ceramic Artists'

An abstract ceramic sculpture.

The Crocker Art Museum is pleased to announce the exhibition A Gathering: Works from ‘Contemporary Black American Ceramic Artists,’ opening May 7 and on view through August 20, 2023.

The exhibition is curated by donald a clark and Chotsani Elaine Dean and brings to life the pages of their newly published book, Contemporary Black American Ceramic Artists.

Reflections from curators donald a clark and Chotsani Elaine Dean:

"Our journey did not begin at the same starting point for this book and exhibition project; however, it ends with beautiful examples of both. We didn’t initially set out to create an exhibition. We just wanted to turn in a strong and polished manuscript highlighting the work of contemporary Black American ceramic artists. Yet, as we moved forward with the underlying goal of getting the work of a remarkable group of underserved and underrepresented makers before the eyes of as many people as possible, an exhibition formed.

What does the exhibition, A Gathering, represent for us? Hope, in spite of the ambiguity left after plans fell apart and life was disrupted by the pandemic. An act of faith, to remind us that in times of turbulence and trauma, the pursuit of bringing artists and their work together can ignite change. A Gathering provides an opportunity for viewers to engage with and experience the diverse spectrum of work featured in Contemporary Black Ceramic Artists in person and it offers a chance for viewers to be in dialogue with these artists, who each came to clay in their own way. As contributors to this exhibition and conversation, these artists have shared the ways in which they have personally persevered and reflected upon the strength of Black artists and the Black community. This project also highlights the different ways clay can act as a vehicle to speak to the history of Black experience in the United States, and showcases how these artists envision their work and practice, along with a collective future moving forward."

Artists featured in the exhibition include: Larry Allen, Ebitenyefa Baralaye, Kristina Batiste, Tricia Bishop, Paul S. Briggs, Rich Brown, Wesley Brown, Aaron Caldwell, Kimmy Cantrell, Danielle Carelock, Jstn Clmn, Chotsani Elaine Dean, Morel Doucet, Michelle Ettrick, Rosa Eugene, Winton Eugene, Earline M. Green, Aisha Harrison, David MacDonald, Jim McDowell, Nathan Murray, Sharon Norwood, Kelly Phelps, Kyle Phelps, Stephen Phillips, Ashlyn Pope, Ashan Pridgon, Joann Quiñones, Ellamaria Ray, Professor Bobby Scroggins, Janathel Shaw, Keith Smith, Malcolm Mobutu Smith, Lydia Thompson, Paul Wandless, James C. Watkins, and Adero Willard.

Ancestor 1
Aisha Harrison, Ancestor 1, 2018. Clay, graphite, embroidery thread, 41 x 27 x 10 in. Courtesy of the artist.

A Gathering was produced and loaned by Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, MN and was originally on view at NCC from September 17–October 30, 2022. The exhibition will travel to the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA, where it will be on view from September 2023 to March 2024. A special thank you to Northern Clay Center (NCC) and Deputy Director and Director of Galleries & Exhibitions, Tippy Maurant, who guided the process of creating this exhibition.

The Crocker enhances the exhibition with a series of related programs and events.


  • Artist Workshop and Curator in Conversation with Chotsani Elaine Dean –Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11

    • Join Chotsani Elaine Dean, co-curator of the exhibition A Gathering: Works from ‘Contemporary Black American Ceramic Artists,’ for two programs this June. Spend Saturday in the studio, exploring under Dean’s direction. Return on Sunday for an intimate discussion between Dean and Rachel Gotlieb, Ph.D., the Crocker’s Ruth Rippon Curator of Ceramics, to discuss the exhibition and highlight current regional trends emerging in ceramics arts.

  • ArtMix: Cookout – Thursday, May 11

  • Film Series: California Fresh II – Third Thursdays in June, July, and August

  • Teen Art Labs: Clay Handbuilding – Thursday, July 6

  • Drink and Draw: A Gathering – Saturday, August 5

  • Clay Fun – Sunday, August 20

The Crocker brings people together and connects them in unexpected ways with art, ideas, each other and the world around them. Founded as a public/private partnership in 1885, the Crocker features the world’s foremost display of California art and is renowned for its holdings of master drawings and international ceramics, as well as European, Asian, African, and Oceanic art. The Crocker serves as the primary regional resource for the study and appreciation of fine art and offers a diverse spectrum of exhibitions, events, and programs to deepen visitors' understanding of art, including films, concerts, studio classes, lectures, and an array of activities for families and children. More information about exhibits and programs can be found at