In 2009, Clay Alliance member, Joyce Clancy, died after a long and interesting life. She was known to many fellow members of CA as a fierce supporter of Empty Bowls and the children it benefited. Joyce also had a ceramics career that spanned over fifty years. Joyce made many friends over the years through her teaching, mentoring and presence in the ceramics community. All of us were touched by her humanity and laughter, her optimism and sorrow, her championing of the underdog, and her passion and love of life, animals and ceramics.
What many people are not aware of is the journey that she traveled. Although she never finished high school, she attended the Shuster Martin Drama School in Cincinnati, where she would meet her future husband, Jesse Clancy. She attended Summer Stock in Upstate New York, was quite the dancer and performed well on stage. After her marriage to Jesse, she moved back to New York City, lived in Greenwich Village, and took classes at the Students Art League of New York. While she studied under the well-known painter, Reginald Marsh, it was ceramics that captured her imagination. As soon as she was able, while still a student at the Art League, she rented a small room, got a kick wheel, and started teaching classes. Her brother said that in the beginning, she was only a class or two ahead of her students. Early on, she worked with kids. Later, she worked with and taught recovering addicts.
Joyce and Jesse made their way back to Cincinnati. They rehabbed an old boat and sailed it down the Intercoastal Waterway on their way to Florida. Engine trouble left them adrift in Chesapeake Bay and they came back to Cincinnati.
In the early seventies, Joyce started a teaching studio on Ludlow Avenue in Clifton. She followed that with teaching studios in Northside and downtown Cincinnati. She taught at her studio at the Pendleton Art Center for fifteen years and only stopped going there every day when her health diminished in 2009, the year she died. In the eighties, she worked for the Arts Consortium on Lynn Street, which is where I met her, when she gave me a job, wedging clay and mixing glazes.
A memorial exhibit celebrating Joyce’s life and work will be held at the Kennedy Height Art Center in late August of 2012. The idea for the exhibit came from one of her long-time students, Sarah Sweeny. Christine Mayhew, of Visionaries and Voices, (where Sarah has studio space), is partnering with Sarah and I to put this exhibition together.
Over her lifetime, she impacted so many people with her passion for life and love of ceramics. In her honor, I have started The Joyce Clancy Legacy Fund. The fund is administered through The Greater Cincinnati Foundation. The mission of the fund is to subsidize ceramics programming, at not for profit institutions, in the Greater Cincinnati area. My hope and the hope of those who loved her, is to carry on Joyce Clancy’s legacy, by enhancing people’s lives through the ceramics experience.
A portion of my annual income will provide support for the fund, however, anyone is free to contribute to the fund as well. Any and all monetary donations of any size are one hundred percent tax deductible.
Donations can be sent to:
The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
200 West Fourth Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-2602.
Checks should be made payable to the Joyce Clancy Legacy Fund.
If you have any questions about the fund, do not hesitate to contact me.