The activities that have laid the foundation for the CSULB Center for Contemporary Ceramics, and continue to comprise its core, have been motivated by three primary goals:
- to move beyond conventional instruction and provide a context in which our students can be inspired by and learn directly from an always changing and diverse group of interesting artists and scholars in the field;
- to provide students with opportunities to observe behaviors and practices of professional artist role models within our learning community so that students may more fully consider their own positions, approaches and strategies, and, in the most informed manner possible, chart their own creative, educational, and professional paths;
- to encourage, enable, and assist students, faculty, visiting artists and scholars, and artists in residence in expanding the limits of their own work, thus raising the entire field of ceramic arts to a higher level for all participants, and further establishing CSULB’s status and role as a center of higher education, discourse, and innovative production in the field of contemporary ceramics.
With the establishment of the CCC, which incorporates the awarding of scholarships and project support grants within its planned activities as we build the CCC endowment, we add to the above three goals a fourth goal of recruiting excellent students, rewarding excellence, providing tangible material support for creative endeavors, and furthering the broader CSULB goal of combining educational excellence with access and affordability, and reducing student debt.
The CCC is committed to the mission of fostering exchange, inquiry, creative production, and learning beyond the curriculum among CSULB Ceramic Arts faculty and a highly diverse group of students, visiting artists and scholars, and artists in residence, with a goal of inspiring and empowering all participants to expand the limits of their own work to the benefit of both the participants in our community and the broader community and field of contemporary ceramics.
Clay and ceramics, variously employed in the service of the functional, practical, ritual, sensual, and intellectual, have been integral to essential aspects of living in nearly all societies and cultures since human prehistory, and have been integral as well to the expressions of, and exchanges between, diverse individuals and groups. This connection to diversity is a legacy to be valued, explored, enjoyed, celebrated, and sustained.
The Ceramic Arts Program and the Center for Contemporary Ceramics, like our university, serve a highly diverse student population at a campus situated on land sacred to the Tongva / Gabrieleño (Gabria-Leno) and the Acjachemen (Ah-Che-Kemen) / Juaneño (Wa-nee-no) Nations. The campus also is situated on the boundary between two counties, in a city that is home to the largest port on the west coast, and is known for very broad racial, ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic diversity and a large LGBTQ community. Additionally, our campus is located literally next door to a Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and we commonly serve veteran and reservist students. We work with many community college transfer students, many first-generation college students, and many financially challenged students.
The CSULB Ceramic Arts Program and Center for Contemporary Ceramics define, interpret, and embrace diversity broadly, including but not limited to diversities of race and ethnicity, gender identities and expressions, sexualities and sexual orientations, bodies and appearances, socio-economic backgrounds and circumstances, religious and spiritual beliefs, philosophies and belief systems, politics and affiliations, nationalities and immigration statuses, life experiences and educations, lifestyles and life circumstances, family structures and family educational histories, cultural heritages, languages, ages, abilities, and statuses of civilian, veteran, and/or active-duty, as well as other matters of origin, identity, expression, affiliation, orientation, and status.
As a creative community of learning, teaching, making, and exchanging ideas, we embrace additional diversities of talents and skills, prior training and exposure, approaches to teaching and learning, inspirations and influences, aspirations and trajectories, areas of scholarly inquiry, aesthetic sensibilities, creative endeavors and agendas, and both individual and shared voices and visions.
We strive to practice and promote inclusiveness. We draw upon the great diversities of our university and the fields of ceramics and art as sources of strength, wealth, depth, and breadth. We recognize that respect, openness, and inclusiveness are essential to creating a productive and constructive place for our students, faculty, and staff to teach, learn, study, create, and expand their practices and their fields.
California State University Long Beach is located near where the land meets the sea. In working and learning and gathering on our campus, we acknowledge the spiritual connection of the Tongva / Gabrieleño (Gabria-Leno) and the Acjachemen (Ah-Che- Kemen) / Juaneño (Wa-nee-no) Nations as the original stewards and traditional caretakers of the ocean and this land. We thank them for protecting this sacred site where we meet today. This place where our university is situated is known as “Cal State Long Beach,” “CSULB,” “Long Beach State,” “the Beach,” and “Cal State Puvungna (Poo-VUUNGah).” Puvungna is the name for this place that is often translated as “the Gathering Place.” In working and learning and gathering on our campus we acknowledge and are thankful that we are part of a continuum of gathering at this sacred site of reflection, learning and celebration.