“Women Working with Clay: A Shared Purpose” Opening at the Valentine for Annual NCECA Conference

RICHMOND, VA – In partnership with the Women Working with Clay Symposium, the Valentine will host a special exhibition from March 19–23, 2024 to coincide with the 58th annual conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts.

The Women Working with Clay Symposium (WWWC) was founded at Hollins University in 2011 by Donna Polseno, a ceramics instructor and highly accomplished ceramic artist. In her role as an educator at a women’s college and as a studio artist, she created the event to celebrate and share the successes of women ceramic artists. To create an opportunity for a group of women clay artists to participate in demonstrations, lecture, discussion groups, and other events, all centered around the idea that those presenters would facilitate the sharing of stories and experiences; to learn from each other, and for the audience to complete the circle with the presenters.

What starts as a gathering of women builds over those three intense days of a collective experience. The conversations share vulnerabilities about identity, spirituality, work life balance, the importance of role models and being a role model and includes moments of levity with stories about mistakes made. This shared experience of support and community coalesces into something much more profound, something deep and meaningful that touches all who attend.

These clay objects, seen as a group, are a voice of recognition for the accomplishments of women working with clay and a manifestation of a symposium that represents and promotes ideas about empowerment, teaching, inclusion, inspiration, community, and mentoring within the diverse family of all women.

After 12 years, more than 64 artists have participated in the Women Working with Clay Symposium at Hollins University. This exhibition highlights the work of 24 former regional presenters including: Jennifer Allen, Mary Barringer, Raheleh Filsoofi, Andrea Gill, Eva Kwong, Winnie Owens-Hart, Ellen Shankin, Linda Sikora, Lydia C. Thompson, gwendolyn yoppolo, Cynthia Bringle, Gerald A. Brown, Danielle Carelock, Louise Deroualle, April D. Felipe, Silvie Granatelli, Dara Hartman, Jeanine Hill, Suze Lindsay, Liz Lurie, Sana Musasama, Donna Polseno, Stacy Snyder, Shoko Teruyama.

On Thursday, March 21, visitors can learn more about this exhibition and meet the artists during an open house at the Valentine from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

This exhibition is organized by the Women Working with Clay Symposium in conjunction with Coalescence, the 58th annual conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts held March 20-23, 2024 in Richmond, Virginia. Conference attendees can receive free admission to the Valentine by presenting their badge.

To learn more about this exhibition and related events and tours, visit: thevalentine.org


The Valentine has been collecting, preserving and interpreting Richmond’s 400-year history for over a century. Located in the heart of historic downtown, the Valentine is a place for residents and tourists to discover the diverse stories that tell the broader history of this important region.

Press Contact
Christina Swanson