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Armstrong Grant Recipients 2022

04 Dec 2022 12:34 PM | Cirrelda Snider-Bryan (Administrator)

In the December 20 eNews a link was incorrectly directed.  Click here to for the article about Lia Lynn Rosen.

It was a banner year for giving through the NMPCA – in addition to the Clay Forward Campaign for Ghost Ranch ceramics programs (via over 100 donors), the board chose to award four schools this year with the Armstrong Grant. 

The mission of NMPCA includes the support of education in the ceramic arts. Schools and non-profits are invited each year to apply for a Bill Armstrong Grant to support their programs and projects. Bill Armstrong was an active member of NMPCA from the organization's beginning til his death in the early 2000's. He served on the board, and co-instructed courses at Ghost Ranch with Jim Kempes in the 1980s and 90s. The New Mexico Potters and Clay Artists established an annual grant program in memory of the late distinguished member in 2002. Bill was instrumental in teaching many people about pottery and was always interested in experimenting, learning more, and helping others.

The applications were many this year, and the NMPCA Board decided to fund several, due to the worthiness of the proposals, as well as the health of our finances.

In the spirit of celebration, read on to witness a small sampling of what is happening throughout New Mexico with ceramics education, from preK through high school. All are definitely worthy of the support of the over 200 members of New Mexico Potters and Clay Artists. Because we choose to offer this grant, we are able to keep our finger on the pulse of ceramics education in New Mexico a bit!

Holy Ghost Catholic School, in the International District of ABQ, was awarded a $1000 Bill Armstrong Grant to hire a Pueblo potter for workshops, and to purchase clay and clay tools. Sarah Madigan, Applicant; Dr. Douglas Wine, Principal.

From the Holy Ghost Catholic School proposal:

“Holy Ghost is a STREAM school inspiring students with a highly engaging curriculum that provides context for their learning and challenges to apply their knowledge. This grant supports a ceramic unit for grades K-8 with a focus on the rich tradition of pueblo pottery here in New Mexico. Funds will bring in a visiting pueblo potter/ceramic artist to Holy Ghost School. This artist will share practices, techniques, processes as well as the work’s cultural significance. The artist will engage with students around the development of their own ideas and inspire them to create their own work with clay. Funds will provide every Holy Ghost student with clay. Students will have experiences in various hand-building techniques, including but not limited to, coil building and slab building. Younger artists will begin with a simple pinch pot. Following some practice with the pinch pot, coil building techniques will be introduced to elaborate on the vessel. All young artists will have a guided experience hand building a prescribed ceramic vessel and then apply their new skills to make a piece of their choosing, whether a utilitarian vessel or something sculptural using the techniques they have learned or the inspiration they gained from the stories they have heard. A description of who will benefit from this project/program and what are the anticipated outcomes All Holy Ghost curriculums are K - 8, building knowledge and skills from previous to future years. Older students are “buddies” for younger students, so students will not only work on their projects solely in class; they will also be able to share their efforts and ideas with older and younger students. One hundred and fifty-three Holy Ghost students grades K-8 will be included in this experience. Initially, students will learn about pueblo pottery traditions in New Mexico from a visiting artist as well as from different books from our library. In addition, students will learn about and explore several clay techniques. The first piece will be prescribed to ensure the acquisition of foundation skills, and the second piece will challenge students, as we do in our STREAM mission, to apply these skills to an individual creation.”

Cottonwood Valley Charter School , a K-8 school in Socorro, NM, was awarded a $730 Bill Armstrong Grant for purchasing a new slab roller for the school. Beth Cadol, Fundraising Committee Chair and Linnea Burleigh, K-8 Art Teacher.

From the Cottonwood Valley Charter School proposal:

One of the major goals of the art program at CVCS is to use community support and collaboration to expand the art program by planning, designing, constructing and utilizing a kiln room/clay studio that benefits students and community members. Students will identify how the plan for the building and kiln will be implemented in lab sessions with the art teacher and other community members. Students will participate in clay projects that relate to societal, cultural, historical and personal themes. So far, we have fundraised enough money to purchase a kiln for the school; the next step is building a kiln room. Our request for funding from New Mexico Potters and Clay Artists is for a portable slab roller. Slab rollers are fantastic opportunity makers! They can be used to make tiles, dishes, flower pots, boxes or anything else that needs a flat starting place. Storage for one isn't as tricky as a kiln, and a portable slab roller could fit into our existing setting. The 170 students at CVCS (Kindergarten through 8th grade) would be the ones benefiting from this program. We are a Title I school with 100% of students offered free lunch. Anticipated outcomes include continuing to empower students with the opportunity to explore new mediums, to serve our community and to promote long lasting beauty on our campus. Students will benefit from being able to easily connect with clay thanks to the opportunities and ease a slab roller provides. Students will be able to create hand built bowls for our community Empty Bowls Gala, where their ware will be auctioned off to raise money for our local food pantry. The eighth graders will be able to continue the Legacy Mural Project and leave behind a beautiful space in the school many of them have been in since kindergarten. Many, many more opportunities to use the slab roller will come up and be thoroughly appreciated! Though we may be a small school on a skeleton staff, our art curriculum is vibrant and thriving. Art in our school is valued as a way to personally process and navigate uncertain times. We continue to sing songs that remind us to love others and the world, and we create art with our friends and family for the good of our community, giving our students and our city opportunities to create, to make purpose, and to grow towards the future.

Aztec High School, in Aztec, NM, was awarded an $800 Bill Armstrong Grant, for clay and glazes to support Ceramics program. Dr. Warman Hall Director of Federal Programs Aztec Municipal School District and Ms. Anne Hartman, Fine Arts Chair & Ceramics Teacher.

From the Aztec High School proposal:

“The Grow Ceramic Arts at Aztec High School program is an integral part of our fine arts course offering at the school. Currently, Aztec High is only able to offer one section of pottery and ceramics to our students each semester. This is due to constraints in our master schedule of classes. For the 2022-23 school year our Ceramics teacher, Ms. Anne Hartman, has received over 50 requests from students to take ceramics. This level of request has grown considerably with the school’s forward thinking decision to increase our daily course offerings in a seven period school day. Unfortunately, Ms. Hartman is Aztec High's only ceramics, drawing and painting teacher.   With the support of $1000 from the Bill Armstrong Grant, the Aztec High fine arts department will be able to purchase the supplies needed to add at least one major unit of ceramics and pottery into the existing curriculum in Ms. Hartman’s regular painting courses. Given Ms. Hartman’s load of 5 daily art classes, other than ceramics, this increase in budget for clay and glazes would allow her to deliver ceramics art instruction to an additional estimated 150 students. Such an increase in ceramics art learning at our high school would greatly increase the presence of student art on exhibit in local art shows and grow the interest in ceramics study among our general student population. Aztec High School is the comprehensive public high school in Aztec, NM. The school’s enrollment includes an average of 750-800 students; 35% of whom are Native American and 45% of Hispanic background. An estimated minimum 40% of students at Aztec High School will be eligible for free and reduced lunch this coming school. Most notably, the school expects to serve a population of 60-80 students who will reside in the Kinteel Dormitory residential facility during the school week, while returning to their homes in rural and reservation parts of the greater Four Corners region for the weekend. Aztec Municipal School District and Aztec High School are fully ready to partner with the Grow Ceramics program through continued support to Ms. Hartman in her courses; and by highlighting the students' art pieces in the school’s student concert and fine arts exhibitions each semester.” 

A Child’s Garden Preschool, in Albuquerque, NM, was awarded a $470 Bill Armstrong Grant for clay, glaze, firing and other materials to support the Bosque Bark Project. Sandria Cook, lead teacher for the project.

From A Child’s Garden proposal:

“A Child’s Garden (ACG) Bosque Education Project is an opportunity for our oldest preschool children to become familiar with our local ecosystem and to experience learning and growing in an outdoor classroom. Our older three-year-old and our pre-k classes are taken out into the Bosque to learn about this ecosystem firsthand. … the children can experience the wonders of the Rio Grande and the surrounding Bosque. The Tree Bark Clay Project has been designed to facilitate and expand upon the children’s explorations and observations during and after their excursions to the Rio Grande Bosque. The purpose of the project is to help children see their place within the natural world and cultivate an interest in, and a love for, their local ecosystem that they will hopefully spread to their families and communities.  

The project will include creation of bark impressions on clay that will be made into vessels, a model “bosque”, tiles, and/or a mural. 

This project aims to promote observational skills that the children will use to:           

*become familiar with the flora and fauna in their natural habitat

*notice and be able to differentiate between various types of trees in the Bosque

*become aware that trees are individuals just like other beings 

*learn and be able to identify different parts of a tree 

*learn and remember locations of individual trees within the Bosque

*build an awareness of what trees provide to the flora and fauna in their environment (ie: food, shelter, shade)

… A Child’s Garden Preschool is a fully inclusive non-sectarian community outreach program of First Presbyterian Church which is committed to providing a developmentally appropriate learning environment for a diverse population of young children. We accept any child regardless of ability, background, and socioeconomic status and we are respectful of the individual needs, cultural heritage, and identity of each child in our program.  The teaching staff at ACG recognize that all children are unique and learn in different ways and at different rates.” 


Congratulations to all!

This article has benefited from the individual applicants’ proposals as well as from the words by Vice President and Armstrong Grant coordinator Michael Thornton. 


-Cirrelda Snider-Bryan, Slip Trail Editor 

December 4, 2022. 

We call ourselves the NMPCA!