Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail Published: Aug. 25, 2003 Ceramic fine arts might not be the first discipline that comes to mind when students think of renowned programs at large research universities, but one of the nation’s best graduate programs in ceramics is found at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In a U.S. News and World Report review of graduate programs in spring 2003, CU-Boulder’s ceramics program ranked ninth. But ceramics Professor Jeanne Quinn is quick to point out that CU-Boulder has been well known in the ceramics community for some time, and there is one leading reason for the recognition. “The three faculty members working here are active in our own careers, exhibiting nationally and internationally,” Quinn said. “Really I can only think of only one or two other programs with a whole faculty as active as we are.” Quinn is joined on the faculty by Professors Scott Chamberlin and Kim Dickey. In fact, just having a three-member faculty puts CU-Boulder in rare company. Only one school in the country has more teachers devoted specifically to ceramics, according to Quinn. CU-Boulder’s program is tough to beat because of its combination of equipment – the program boasts at least one of every type of kiln an artist could want – and talented instructors who can get students connected with the ceramics marketplace, she said. “I believe in the model of the research university – pursuing your own work and serving as a role model for your students. We can give up-to-date advice to students on where to show their work, how to network and help connect them to people they should know,” Quinn said. CU-Boulder’s large program, with eight graduate students and more than 100 undergraduates enrolled in ceramics courses each semester, adds to the school’s networking potential at conferences, exhibitions and among collectors and gallery owners, Quinn said. Networking is vitally important for artists in the ceramics trade, which suffers from an identity crisis: some call it an art while others insist it’s a craft. CU-Boulder’s ceramics faculty and students focus primarily on artistic, sculptural work even when studying the more utilitarian aspects of ceramics. “At CU, we’re the only medium that is a traditional medium, a craft department. We teach functional pottery, but we approach it in a way that we’re talking about it as fine art,” Quinn said. Instead of getting mired in the art-versus-craft debate or attempting to groom clones of established faculty artists, Quinn said the CU-Boulder graduate ceramics program encourages its students to pursue and develop their own artistic vision and interests. One of the primary goals is getting graduate students to a point where they can evaluate their own work critically. “Frankly, that’s what you have to be able to do as an artist,” Quinn said. “It’s hard to critique yourself. If you don’t have that skill, you’re not going to be successful as an artist.” For more information on the ceramics program, visit http://www.colorado.edu/arts/areas/areas_CE.html.