Clay Studio finds a new home in Kensington, new mission to connect the community

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Clay Studio has a brand-new home in the heart of South Kensington and a mission of using clay to connect to the community. Karen Rogers has the story in this week's 6abc Loves the Arts.

The new 4-story home is 15,000-square-feet bigger than its previous space in Old City.

"We have increased our classrooms. We have something like three times as many kilns," says Jennifer Zwilling, Curator and Director of Artistic Programs at the Clay Studio.

The famous mug wall and gallery shop have also grown.

"There's 75 artists from all over the United States and some local artists," says Zwilling.

And for the first time, they have room to display items from their own permanent collection.

"We have about 600 pieces of art that were just in storage," says Zwilling.

Adding to all that is a new auditorium and rooftop event space.

"They're beautiful views," says Zwilling.

They're joining a growing arts district, but in a vulnerable community.

"They are thinking, working with a community," says Artist Kukuli Verlarde.

Verlarde lives in the neighborhood and is one of three artists in the inaugural exhibit, Making Place Matter.

"The installation that is A Mi Vida," says Verlarde.

"She does work that reflects her Peruvian roots," says Zwilling.

Verlarde says she's been coming to the Clay Studio for 25-years and met her husband through the Artist in Residence Program.

"It has always been part of our family," says Verlarde.

Their daughter is the inspiration for her work that centers on families separated at the US-Mexico border.

"It broke my heart," says Verlarde, "I want people to see the preciousness of the life.

In its new facility, The Clay Studio plans to boost community outreach.

"And offering as much free and low-cost programming as possible," says Zwilling, "Anyone from a little kid up to an adult can really have a hands-on experience."

Clay Studio | Instagram | Facebook
1425 North American Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122
Making Place Matter on view through October 2nd
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