Ceramics Studio

New Building and New Leadership for Ceramics

The Ceramics Program, Office for the Arts at Harvard, relocated in 2013 from its Allston home at 219 Western Avenue, where it has been active for 26 years, to 224 Western Avenue (formerly a Verizon building) in the heart of Barry’s Corner, in Allston. The new facility was formally dedicated by Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust at a ceremony on February 26, 2014.

This change marked a transition in program leadership. On July 15, Shawn Panepinto, Acting Director since 2010, was appointed Director of Operations, and Kathy King, instructor and former assistant to the Acting Director, was appointed Director of Education. Upon the retirement of Shawn Panepinto in 2018, Kathy King was appointed Director and oversees the program.

The Galante Architecture Studio, Inc, a Cambridge-based firm, is redesigning the former Verizon building for this new artistic purpose. The studio façade will be flush with Western Avenue, providing easier access for Harvard and community participants. Another University tenant, to be announced, will share space within the structure.

There is a street-front gallery called Galley 224 for exhibition and sale of artworks. This gallery is co-curated by the new directors and it creates a welcoming, highly visible entrance. Exterior features of the single-story building will include new cladding, roofing, and landscaping. The interior 15,856-square-foot studio will offer 35 electric wheels, slab roller, potable wagon wheel extruder and a large main studio for hand building, wheel throwing, symposia, seminars, workshops and community events as well as separate wheel throwing, hand building, sculpture and figurative rooms. A multi purpose classroom for visual presentations, lectures, workshops, and digital resource room will also provide a quiet place to work.  Clay and glaze chemistry labs, plaster and mold-making design areas, and a large new state of the art kiln room will feature 2 new Master Kiln Builder custom gas kilns, 1 new Bailey car kiln for reduction and soda firing, and outdoor access to raku/saggar firing options, large Fredrickson front loading electric car kiln and 7 other electric kilns of varying sizes. There are 27 independent and resident artist spaces, administrative offices, a student lounge, and a research collection of work made by visiting artists.

Improvements over the current location include a larger glaze room, new ventilation systems, air conditioning, and greater access to natural light—all providing a safe and comfortable creative workspace. 

With the completion of the new building, the Ceramics Program has become a more visible and accessible part of the Allston community, serving as a touchstone for the arts within Barry's Corner.

For photos of the new building visit our Flickr page. Also, watch Master Kiln Builders prepare our reduction kilns for the rebuild at 224 Western.