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How it Began...

Gleaning inspiration from my Master's thesis on Ceramic Art Education,  I started brainstorming ways to expand and enrich my students' experiences.

After having some broad ideas in mind about an in-person clay competition, I talked with a fellow educator (Joel Blackburn, Kickapoo HS) who seemed interested in seeing the competition come to life.  As coaches and athletes, we were no strangers to competition and understood the benefits.  As Art Educators, we wanted to give our students an opportunity to showcase their skills in a live format and knew that a competition could be just what we needed. 

The ironic thing about "visual arts" is that it is only in the act of creating that we get to enjoy seeing skills develop, creative problem solving take place, and wonderful artworks take shape right before our eyes...those that only see the final product miss out on most of that! Our students have the skills and they deserve to showcase them in front of admiring spectators! 

After the first year of Clay it Up, we soon realized how important of an event this could become.  What started as a competition with 6 events has evolved into a creative collaboration with 6 competitive events, 1 collaborative event, a ceramic silent auction, a digital show of finished pieces and visiting artists.  It is truly a one-of-a-kind experience for students, teachers and spectators.


-Ryan Widel (Nixa HS Ceramics Instructor)

Cracked Mud_edited.jpg

Past Competition

Clay It Up in the News

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