Allied Ceramics Art Institute
ACAI provides a place for the pursuit of creative expression in the ceramic arts. Involvement and creativity are basic to our learning and health. This is true for children, adults, seniors and communities as a whole. Everyone has the ability for creative expression. Clay is one of man's earliest and most lasting means of creative expression. Working with clay engages us visually, tactilely and mentally.
At our center we offer seven, year round ceramics classes that serve hundreds of people. Our classes serve families, children, and adults in the Sacramento region. We offer a wide mix of classes for beginners through more experienced artists. We offer special classes for home school students and and other groups. Where funding available there is room for considerable expansion of our offerings.
- Over the past three years, we have seen steady increases in class attendance
- We are having more enrollments based on referrals from former or continuing students
Our outreach efforts include participating in San Juan Unified School District's Kids Art Day, the River City Food Banks Empty Bowls Event, and providing support services to Koinonia Home For Teens. Through these programs and events, we are able to further the communities' awareness of the ceramic arts.
- This past year we had over 300 students participate in our ceramics room activities during kids art day
- This is a free event given every year by the San Juan Unified School District
- Our potters made over 100 bowls to donate to the River City Food Banks Empty Bowls fundraising event and participated in the potters market event where we talked with over 100 people and sold members art work
We offer seven, week-long clay camps over the summer for children ages seven and up. Youth classes emphasize the fundamental elements and essential vocabulary of art, encouraging students to explore and communicate as they create. Participants learn about clay, the creative process, and design. Both individual and team construction methods are taught. In 2015, we added three weeks of afternoon throwing camps for teens.
As ACAI increases its contact in the community we have been able to increase the number of artists involved. This has resulted in a larger pool of possible instructors for programs, including Clay Camp.
- We have also had increased attendance each year of Clay Camp
- With instructor availability we have been able to increase the number of weeks from two weeks in 2011 to four in 2012 thus increasing instruction hours from 224 to 660
As our program has become more established and our marketing strategies improved for Clay Camp, the number of participants has also increased, with several repeat attendees.
- In 2011 we had 15 participants and 44 in 2012.
- Due to the positive responses we have had from the parents of the children we expect this trend to continue into 2013
- In 2012 we developed a rapport with the San Juan Unified School District art teachers, which focused our marketing towards the geographical areas targeted for our customer base
- We were able to distribute 5,000 fliers to students in the area surrounding ACAI rather than use a blanket approach
- As a direct result of the marketing strategy we were able to provide five instructors with a contract stating a guaranteed minimum weekly income for Clay Camp; in total the teaching artists earned $2635
Our gallery program meets our mission in two major ways, promoting local artists and providing quality art experiences to our community. With our focus on new and emerging local artists, particularly ceramic artists, we provide access to artists who might not otherwise be able to share their works. At the same time, we provide the community with local art exhibits and an opportunity to buy local art at affordable prices. As part of our gallery program we help local artists with all the preparations for having a show. This includes selecting their art for display, mounting it, getting pictures for marketing, producing an artist statement/bio, an artist web page, postcards for the show, and getting out the word to the community. We keep our gallery commissions below that of other galleries in the area to provide further encouragement to the artists. In a sense we serve as a business incubator for new and emerging artists.
- Over the past three years we have had 30 exhibitions and given opportunities to more than 60 local artists
- Many of these artists have gone on to show their work at other local and regional galleries
- We have had more than 300 visitors to the gallery who have had the opportunity to meet local artists and see their works
- Ultimately we hope to bring greater awareness of the contributions of local art and artists to the vitality of our community
The last quarter of 2015, we worked out an arrangement with a professional gallery manager to serve as the curator for the shows:
- This resulted in having three highly successful shows and a holiday art sale
- Attendance for the shows averaged 134 and sales averaged $2,645 while at the same time giving over 30 artists the opportunity to promote their work
The ceramics studio provides the resources and facilities for artists to pursue ceramic arts in a well equipped ceramics facility. The facility is available to members 24x7. Ceramics studio membership gives artists a place to work on their artistic vision at their own pace and on their own schedule. ACAI's ceramic studio members have various talents and skill levels offering a tremendous opportunity to both teach and learn from other members. One thing many artists desire is recognition of their talents and for their efforts. With a ceramics studio membership you become part of an artistic team that works to promote not only their own artwork, but yours as well.
- One of our past members who started out with no experience in ceramics has gone on to establish a highly successful ceramics program with at risk foster teens in the Roseville area
- In addition she has continued pursuing selling her ceramic art through Blue Line Gallery and High Hand Nursery
- We continue to support this artist by providing firing and consulting services
- Another member who is new to ceramics has developed her own line of functional ceramics that she is actively selling through craft fairs and similar events
- She continues to participate actively in the studio and will be showing her work this next year in our gallery