OpenDoors Students Take the Wheel With World-Renowned Artist Jim McDowell

Their work can be seen at the Art Affair on March 2, 2024.

Local high school students learn the art of pottery from world-renowned potter Jim McDowell, (right). Photo: Robbie Francis
Local high school students learn the art of pottery from world-renowned potter Jim McDowell, (right). Photo: Robbie Francis

As the holidays ramp up, OpenDoors students are winding down with the last in a five-part series of art classes taught by world-renowned ceramicist Jim McDowell in Asheville’s River Arts District, in partnership with Village Potters Clay Center. 

Students put their hands in clay alongside a master artist and craftsman, and in the process learn more than pottery: creativity, passion, and how making great art takes discipline. Known around the world for his African- and Caribbean-inspired face jugs, which are also a part of enslaved Black culture and art in the United States, McDowell brings history to life for his students.

Studies show that Black teachers have a profound impact on Black students, not only boosting confidence and identity development but also increasing their chances of academic success and attending college. However, children in families below the poverty level are shown to be at least three times less likely to engage in extracurriculars, which is why fostering these opportunities is so essential.

For the concluding class of this five-part November series, students celebrated their success with a feast, glazed their pieces, and did a final hands-on wheel lesson with Jim.

The students’ face jugs will be on display and for sale at OpenDoors Asheville’s largest annual fundraiser, Art Affair, held Saturday, March 2, 2024, at Highland Brewing. Tickets are available at OpenDoorsAsheville.org.

For more information about this project, please contact OpenDoors Asheville College and STEM Director Cory Adams, [email protected], or call (828) 279-6491.

 

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