Scripps College Awarded $3.5 Million for the Ceramic Arts

Scripps College, Claremont, Calif., has received a $3.5 million commitment from Joan and David Lincoln to enhance and expand the study of the ceramic arts at Scripps College. The Lincolns’ pledge represents one of the largest single gifts to the arts in the college’s 84-year history. As part of the gift, Claremont Graduate University (CGU) will receive an additional $500,000 from the Lincolns to support scholarships for its master’s of fine arts (MFA) program. An accomplished ceramics artist, Joan Lincoln is an alumna of Scripps College.

“This gift provides an opportunity for Scripps College and Claremont Graduate University to recapture their place as pre-eminent educators of ceramic artists,” said Lori Bettison-Varga, president of Scripps College. “For Scripps College, it is particularly meaningful to have this gift come from the Lincolns. Joan Lincoln holds dear her experience as a student at Scripps College and fondly recalls her ceramics education.”

The pledged gift will be used to fund the Joan and David Lincoln Endowment for Ceramic Art, the Joan and David Lincoln Study Center, and to construct the Joan and David Lincoln Ceramic Art Building (to be completed at Scripps College in 2011).

“The ceramic arts have had a long tradition at Scripps College, and this project provides a well-deserved expansion of studies in the fine arts,” said Ken Gonzales-Day, chair of the Scripps College Art Department. “It will closely link liberal arts education and graduate studies to provide countless new opportunities for future generations of undergraduate art students.”

“We are thrilled,” said David Pagel, chair of the CGU Art Department. “This will give our students greater opportunities and will attract a wider range of students in future years. We’re excited about the expanding relationship between CGU and Scripps.”

The Joan and David Lincoln Endowment for Ceramic Art will provide funding for interrelated and complementary components of ceramic art studies at Scripps College and CGU, with a focus on education, exhibitions, research and conservation. Its mission will be to create a deeper appreciation of ceramics as a vital form of art that both interprets and re-imagines the world. The endowment will support a visiting ceramic artist professorship to be shared by the art departments at Scripps College and CGU; create the Lincoln Ceramic Study Center at Scripps College to provide safe storage and conservation of the Scripps College collection and make it more accessible for scholarly research; and fund a portion of the Scripps College Ceramic Annual exhibition, now in its 66th year. It will also provide scholarship support for graduate studies in ceramic art at CGU.

The Lincoln Ceramic Art Building will add much needed space for the growing interest in ceramic and three-dimensional art studies at Scripps College. This building completes the campus master plan for the Art Department at Scripps College, as envisioned in 1993. The 3000-square-foot building, with 18-foot ceilings, will provide flexible and open instructional space for students and faculty.

A noteworthy ceramic artist, Joan Lincoln graduated from Scripps College in 1949. She referred to herself as a “mudder” while a student because she spent so many hours in the campus ceramics studio. After graduating from Scripps College, Lincoln received her MFA degree in ceramic art from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, which honored her as a distinguished alumna in 2005. An artist, writer and arts advocate, Lincoln has served as an officer of the National Society of Arts and Letters and has been a member of the National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts (NCECA).

The Scripps College Ceramic Annual, reportedly the longest-running exhibition of contemporary ceramics in the U.S., opened for the 66th year on January 23, 2010 (continues through April 4) at Scripps College’s Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery. Titled “Material Matters: Art and Phenomena,” the Ceramic Annual features works from celebrated master ceramists and new artists working on the very cusp of the art form. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

For more information about ceramic arts at Scripps College, visit Claremont Graduate University’s website is located at


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