HISTORY OF CLAY ART CENTER ... A Living Legacy
Tucked away at the end of a municipal parking lot in Port Chester, New York, in a building that has a modest exterior, is the Clay Art Center. It was founded in 1957 by Katherine Choy, whose dream was to open a center for the advancement of the ceramic arts and she was joined by her friend Henry Okamoto, a respected, classic potter from California.
Katherine Choy's tragic and sudden death in 1958 left Henry to dedicate the rest of his life to realizing her dream. A lone beacon on the east coast at the time, it became a haven for clay artists, many who have had significant careers and influenced contemporary ceramic practice.
After Henry's death in 1988, Elsbeth Woody and Claudia Miller took over the reins and infused their energy into several programs, initiating the Summer Workshop Festival and opening a gallery dedicated to exhibiting ceramics.
Since 1997 Director Reena Kashyap and Associate Director Ruth Berelson have strengthened the programs aimed at advancing the mission by growing the education, exhibitions, Artist Residency and outreach programs, which are all focused "to kindle a passion for the ceramic arts and to provide a sharing community for that passion to flourish."
2007 marks Clay Art Center's 50th anniversary, and its emergence as a non-profit organization. Today it is buzzing with activity and the love for clay and spirit of community is abundantly displayed. It seems that its founders' dreams have been amply fulfilled.