Upcoming Symposium - Who Are They?

Clay Art Center is pleased to present

    A Symposium – Who are They?


Artist & Social Activist Roberto Lugo gives lecture & moderates panel of artists, educators and advocates on giving access to the arts. 

Panelists include: Joan Granoil-Thomas, Sana Musasama and Lauren Sandler.

Sunday, April 29th

2 – 4PM

Port Chester Senior Community Center

222 Grace Church Street, Port Chester


Image: Roberto Lugo                                                     

Free & Open to the Public


In this out-of-the-box discussion driven by a path towards change, art activist Roberto Lugo moderates a panel that asks tough questions on such topics as race and the concept of otherism including immigration, political policy, commodification, colonialism, community agency, the role of the artist/gallery/educator, and social justice.   With art as a catalyst for conversation, we will tackle contemporary issues that affect our community on a daily basis.

Moderator & Panelists come from a wide net of professions to create a clearer picture that involves all facets of life and community.

Moderator: Roberto Lugo is an American potter, social activist, spoken word poet, and educator. Lugo's work draws together hip-hop, history and politics into formal ceramics and 2D works. In 2015 he received the Emerging Artist award from NCECA (the National Convention for the Education in the Ceramic Arts), launching his career to the international spotlight. Currently he teaches at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, PA.

Panelist: Joan Granoil-Thomas is a 30-year resident of Port Chester, NY. She runs a successful boutique public relations firm that specializes in working with nonprofit and social enterprise organizations.  Joan has a longhistory working with a variety of causes and organizations, including Port Chester Cares, the Rye, Rye Brook & Port Chester League of Women Voters (board member), Port Chester/Rye NAACP (past president), as well as various Port Chester School Board Parents Committees.  Currently, Joan is executive director of Sustainable Port Chester Alliance, a coalition of faith, labor, civic, education and individuals committed to responsible development and civic participation.  She asks, “at what point will we recognize that we are all accountable for making art accessible to everyone?”

Panelist: Sana Musasama began traveling as a way to recover identity and cultural
place. Clay was a geographical catalyst that brought her first to West Africa. She studied Mende pottery in Sierra Leone (1974-75) and ventured later to Japan, China, South America and Cambodia. She is challenged by the concerns surrounding the safety of women, specifically the rituals involving rites of passage, female chastity and the “purification” of the female body.

Panelist: Lauren Sandler will explore national mythologies that are maintained by our
artistic and academic institutions. Her own work demythologizes status, inscribes substance in detritus, and amplifies interdependence. She highlights the overlooked and unseen, and implicates our assumptions of normal, beauty, and worth. With a background in anthropology, she examines the language of the artifact through narrative, history of use, and fluency of touch.

This symposium is concurrent to our gallery exhibition, THEY, which is the second of four themed exhibits for 2018. A year featuring artists whose works examine social justice issues and the intricacies of maneuvering life, lifestyles and living within a global society. THEY engages in discourse concerning exploitation, exclusion, and erasure by addressing issues of race, gender, class, religion, nationality, legal status, sexuality and disability. Through a focus on equity and access within the field of ceramics, Clay Art Center has asked art activist Roberto Lugo to invite seven artists to create a vision of ceramics that employs empathy, exchange, accountability, and support while bringing awareness to bias and oppression. Intersectionality provides a dynamic lens through which we discuss multiple systems of identity and power. 

“The artists I’ve invited use their own human experience to relate to others. The show is about employing empathy instead of competition with our differences” –Roberto Lugo

Invited Artists:  Jennifer Ling-Datchuk, Christina Erives, Kahlil Irving, Lauren Sandler, Malcolm Mobutu-Smith, Courtney Leonard, Roberto Lugo, and Nathan Murray

Special Thanks to our Sponsors: Village of Port Chester, TD Bank, Ceramic Supply, Inc, Standard Ceramics, Skutt, Francene & Ron Langford, Debbie & Alan Simon, Steven Carlson, Florence & Karl Suerig, Larry Hawk, Barbara Rocco, Christopher and Toni Meier, Antonia and Scott Davis, Patricia and Peter Close

Clay Art Center was founded in 1957 by Katherine Choy and Henry Okamoto. Unknown to them at the time, Clay Art Center would grow into an 11,000 square foot non-profit art center that delivers programming for professional artists, students, collectors, and the Port Chester community at large.

Clay Art Center is a nationally recognized non-profit center for the advancement and practice of ceramic arts offering exhibitions, clay classes for adults and children, studio spaces for clay artists and outreach programs in the community.  It is located in the heart of Port Chester at 40 Beech Street, Port Chester, NY 10573. Gallery and SHOP hours are Monday - Saturday, 10am-5pm or by appointment. 


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