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Grant Recipients 


This year two organizations answered the call for proposals for NMPCA’s Bill Armstrong Grant.  

After due consideration and site visits to meet the applicants, the board voted unanimously to approve both proposals. 

Congratulations to Art Smart NM , and Thrive Community School, both of Santa Fe, on your worthy projects!

Art Smart’s project is helping to fund an artist residency, which brings artist Jarrett West to instruct students in art. The grant will impact 60 2nd and 3rd grade students at Sweeny Elementary School. The grant will fund necessary materials, tools and support for this project to include travel for field trips, and the construction of a permanent outdoor installation. 

The project at Thrive Community School will benefit 250  K - 7th students by providing materials and tools needed for ceramics lessons. 

Students will participate in exhibitions planned to share their artwork at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and the International Folk Art Museum. 

NMPCA is proud to support these projects, as it fulfills our mission to promote education in the ceramic art. 


Armstrong Grant selects  four non-profits this year.

Cirrelda Snider-Bryan our Slip trail Editor and a sweet article on the recipients. Please see the complete article.  

 Full article in the slip trail

Holy Ghost Catholic School - $1000.00


Cottonwood Valley Charter School - $750.00

Aztec High School - $800.00

A Child's Garden Preschool - $470.00


Agave Artists Coop / Las Cruces Potters Guild  - $1000 for material support of their community Healing Wings Project

Healing Wings Tree

See article on the Slip Trail 


Taos Ceramic Center was funded for $1000. This program illustrates our contribution to education. 

Taos Ceramics Center


Route 66 Arts Alliance, from Edgewood, received $750 in order to ceramics to an existing arts program for kids.

UNM Taos Clay Group was awarded $810 for a new burner system for their gas kiln to make it safe. 

Vista Grande High School for $1000 to add clay to their program.


Potter’s Guild of Las Cruces

Article in The Slip Trail  


Santa Fe Desert Academy

El Rito Arts Association.


Garden Programs at the NM Museum of Natural History, $ 450.00 towards completing a power point presentation and tools to be used for two classes, one for adults and the other for youth  called “The Geology of Clay in New Mexico”.


1. Santa Fe Community College, School of Art and Design, Ceramics Dept. 

Grant proposal submitted by James Marshall, Program Head

Request for $1,000 to assist in building a new soda kiln to replace an aging (and soon to be non-functional) soda kiln that is 7 years old. The total cost of the kiln construction is estimated at $11,000. The hard and soft bricks, burners, steel for the sprung arch and stainless steel tube for the chimney are all expensive materials. All labor will be donated by students, faculty and staff. The construction will take place in the summer of 2016. The program also utilizes a Bailey’s gas kiln and 4 electric kilns, but the soda kiln is the most popular kiln and an essential part of the program. 

The other sources for covering the cost of the kiln are:

Clay Club donation:                                    $4,500 

BRR (Building Renewal and Renovation): $2,500-$3,000

SFCC Foundation:                                      $2,500-$3,000

Penne Roberts and Daisy Kates visited the SFCC and met with James Marshall. They saw the studio rooms, equipment and the soda kiln, which is on the verge of collapse.

The ceramics program was started in 1999 and has been built up over the course of 16 years. There are approximately 140 students in the program each semester, a large percentage of whom are senior citizens. Due to financial difficulties and cutbacks at the Community College the department’s yearly budget is now down to approximately $9,000. The Clay Club was started 7-8 years ago and their donation will come from their annual Christmas sales which give 40% of the profits to the program. The Santa Fe Community College Foundation is a separate account within the college that is based on donations.

2. Manzano Mountain Art Council, Mountainair

Grant submitted by Karen Smith, Coordinator, MMAC

Request for $1,000 to purchase a wheel and hold a 6-week wheel class to be held on Saturdays in September and October. This wheel will then be utilized within the program and for offering future classes and guest artist demonstrations. Members of the community have been requesting a wheel class. There are currently no wheels in the ceramics studio. Other wheels will be loaned from the community and the public school for the purpose of this class. The class will have approximately 10 participants and will be free.

The budget for the proposal:

Shimpo Aspire wheel (or comparable): $550

Additional clay and glazes:                        $120

Teacher (11 hrs @ $30/hr)                        $330

Assistants, advertising and additional tools will be provided by MMAC

With the amazing support of a broad base of community members the MMAC has purchased a historic building in Mountainair which is now the new arts and community center. The MMAC is holding its 20th anniversary of providing community service this year. It serves rural, frontier and land grant communities along the eastern side of the Manzano Mountains. Many families within the region are living at or below the poverty level and children are often raised by single parents or relatives. Because of these socioeconomic factors, the MMAC provides the majority of its programs and events free of charge. 

The MMAC wants to be responsive to the desires of the community and also needs to plan for potential events that will help pay back the community for its loan on the new building. The purchase of a wheel to offer demonstrations by guest artists in the future and the wheel class will fit both of these needs. 

Penne and Daisy visited the program several years ago when they submitted a proposal for the Armstrong Grant. At that time they toured the space they were renting and also other related sites in Mountainair with Tomas Wolff, who has been very active in the organization. The MMAC is now utilizing their newly purchased property. For this proposal Daisy spoke at length with Karen Smith, the current coordinator.  

3. Adelante Development Center, Inc., Albuquerque

Grant submitted by Nancy Pope, VP of Development

Request for $1,000 to provide clay, glazes and tools for its Arts and Animals program. The program also receives in-kind donations from individual donors and have managed to offer the ceramics program for 10 years with in-house funding.

Adelante’s Arts and Animals program is facilitated within a day habilitation setting and is offered full time to individuals with developmental and physical disabilities 5 days a week. There are approximately 48 participants. The program offers arts instruction and incorporates animals in a unique format that promotes creativity as well as exercise. The participants engage in a variety of creative activities as well as learning and caring for animals including rabbits, guinea pigs and birds and also help to train service dogs who will eventually assist people with similar disabilities. Working with clay is considered particularly therapeutic in relieving stress, serving as an outlet for expressing emotions, improving fine motor skills and dexterity, and promoting creative thinking and problem solving.

Penne had visited this program last year when they also applied for the grant. This year Penne spoke on the phone with Nancy Pope as well as the ceramics instructor, Dani Miller. Dani has been teaching at Adelante for 10 years and there are approximately 10-12 participants who utilize the ceramics studio. They have a potter’s wheel and a slab roller and 2 kilns. The students learn all the clay techniques and like all aspects of working with clay. They get to improve their concentration and also improve their motor skills and get good results from their work. 

They take some of their pieces to Disability Workshops to sell and make gifts and awards for the Governing Board and other guests. They also sell some of their pieces at Adelante.

To sum it all up all three programs have support in place and are all good investments in New Mexico’s clay community. At the Santa Fe Community College, the Clay Club is providing $4500 towards the kiln project. Also, the labor for building the kiln will be provided by staff and students. At the Manzano Mountain Art Council, the community has provided the loan for the property that houses the Community and Art Center. This was an amazing show of support by this lower socioeconomic community. The assistants for the workshop will also be volunteers. Adelante is also a very worthwhile program that serves a special needs population that in many cases has very few options for services.

Awards for 2016: The board went with Penne Roberts and Daisy Kates’ suggestion awarding a total of $1500 this year in the following amounts:

Manzano Mountain Art Council: $750 (they could not hold the program without at least that amount) Barbara also loaned them a wheel that they can use for the next 2 years.

Santa Fe Community College: $500 (this will supplement the amount they have already been promised)

Adelante: $250 (this will pay for clay and some tools. Penne has located some glazes to donate to the program)

Read the lovely thank you letter from Adelante: Adelante Thank You.pdf


Two awards were made in 2015:

1.  Dixon Elementary School: $800 for a micaceous clay workshop.  The program will take place in the Fall of 2015 and Spring, 2016 and will be called: "Pueblo Pottery of the Region."  There are 20 third and fourth graders and 28 fifth and sixth graders who will participation.  The program is beneficial for a number of children to enhance their knowledge of the culture in their area and their understanding of pottery and history.

2.  Silver City Clay Festival:  $500 to assist with preparation and staffing assistance for the Jack Troy workshop, one of the major events of this year's clay festival. 

Pictures of Dixon Elementary School trip to Indian Arts and Culture Museum:



The winner of the 2014 Bill Armstrong Grant was the q-Staff Theatre in downtown Albuquerque. They requested $500 for the materials, tools and firings needed to hold a workshop in making clay drums which will then be used in various theatrical performances. The drums are designed in such a way that they can also be used as wind instruments. The participants will be theatre group members as well as associated group members.

Jaime Tillotson and Matthew Cecil-Wolfe will be teaching the workshop. Jaime is also the director of the Arts and Crafts Studio in the Student Union Building at UNM and will facilitate the firings at that location.

The q-Staff Theatre has an integral relationship with Winnings Coffeehouse in the University area. Sandy Timmerman is the owner of the coffeehouse and the profits from that business go into the development of the Theatre. Many of the participants in the theatre group also work at the coffee house.

This was an innovative and interesting request and they will be holding their workshop in July, followed by a glazing session.


There were two awards provided for the 2013 Bill Armstrong Grant. The primary recipient was the Turquoise Trail Charter School (on North 14, south of Santa Fe). An award of $1,000 was given to the school for the fabrication and installation of a mural in an outdoor courtyard titled “Our Natural Environment” which was proposed to integrate science and hands-on arts. The guest artist who applied for the grant was Lia Lynn Rosen and she received significant assistance from the art teacher, Lynn Grimes.

A secondary award was granted to the Atrisco Heritage Academy High School in the South Valley of Albuquerque. They received $300 to assist with the purchase of glazes for their ceramics program.

Pictures of preparing tiles for the Turquoise Trail School Mural


3 organizations received awards in 2011

Tarnoff Art Center, Rowe, New Mexico for the purchase of a potter's wheel
Off Center Community Arts Project, Albuquerque, New Mexico for a handbuilt clay class
Manzano Mountain Arts Council, Mountainair, New Mexico for a handbuilding class


In 2010, no organizations applied for the Armstrong Grant.  Instead, the organization sponsored two attendees to the NCECA Symposium on Critical Ceramics in the fall of 2010.  One student and one adult were chosen from applications for the scholarships.


2009 Grant Recipients were
Placitas community mural project entitled “Protect Our Wildlife Corridors” by Pathways for assistance with a large ceramic wildlife mural

McCurdy School Art Department, and School for ceramic art supplies and equipment for their art studioPotters’ Guild of Las Cruces for a workshop.


The 2008 Bill Armstrong Grant was awarded to Ghost Ranch for improvements to the ceramic workshop space. This grant was used to create a level flooring surface in the Pot Hollow work area. Read about the NMPCA campaign to improve Pot Hollow in the March, 2008 Slip Trail.


The 2007 Bill Armstrong Grant was awarded to The Camino de Paz Farm School, which is a small Montessori school program for grades 7-12 located outside of Espanola, New Mexico. The school was awarded $500 to hold a six-week (once a week) micaceous pottery workshop that was taught by local artist/potter Camilla Trujillo. Workshops by local artists are valued as an integral part of their education. They could not have afforded the micaceous clay workshop with Camilla Trujillo without the assistance of the NMPCA Grant.


Access Art Studio at The Art Center at Fuller Lodge, Los Alamos

This program provides free, ongoing weekly classes in the clay arts for teens and adults with developmental disabilities. The classes were started in Feb. ’04 and have been very successful. Currently (in ’05/’06) serves 28 students. A core group of 8-10 consistently attend, with others joining intermittently. The program hopes to expand to include surrounding high school students from Espanola and other communities. This type of activity has been shown to be extremely beneficial to those with developmental disabilities.

Deborah Brink, teacher and program manager 


Pojoaque Boys and Girls Club for purchase of 2 wheels. NMPCA coordinated purchase, receiving a special price on two new wheels. 

Bill Armstrong Grant Recipients

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