Clay Arts Vegas (CAV) started in 2011/2012, with Thomas Bumblauskas, John Gregg (emeritus) and Peter Jakubowski organizing a group of founding artists and imaging the possibilities after the first Las Vegas Pottery tour. Organizing the pottery tour led them to discovered there were lots of folks who were interested in pottery, did not take class, and were looking for a sense of community. This had them believe there was a need for a place centrally located, providing supplies, a place to work and teach as well as buy hand-made items. This led to a search which culminated in them opening Clay Arts Vegas in the Las Vegas Arts District.
Clay Arts Vegas has been a labor of love. It is not just the owners, but a group of dynamic and invested community members. Beyond a constant core of over a hundred students, there has been team building, school trips, scouting merit badges, date nights, and private parties. We have also not only hosted regular juried shows in our Victor F. Keen Gallery, bringing in work from hundreds of artists, but have shown work for both Las Vegas City Hall, and the Clark County library system. The studio is a community hub, having grown into a major part of the Las Vegas Arts community. Participating in fund-raising for One Million Bones (a benefit for survivors of genocide in sub-Saharan Africa), The Ronald McDonald House, The Las Vegas Artist Guild, The National Mining Museum, The Center (Southern Nevada LGBTQ Center), Nevada Ballet and many others has made CAV more than an arts studio. We believe art needs to be accessible and that community in today’s world is both local and global.
The vision behind CAV has led to it becoming a ceramic hub in the Southwest. As a supply house open to the public, we carry over 60 Laguna clay bodies, glazes from Laguna, Spectrum, and Mayco, and a broad array of tools. As an instructional institution, we offer regular classes in wheel-throwing and hand-building. Classes are built on the idea of being project driven and mixing experience levels. In addition to classes, we offer specialty workshops multiple times a year from guest artists who are leaders in the ceramic field. In 2017, we add a resident artist program, which brings ceramic artists in for extended stays to enrich our community. We also actively participate in community out-reach, from isolated classes, instillation, to internships with local high school students .
In 2019, we were feeling it was time to grow in new ways. At the end of the year we moved to a new facility that is approximately 8,000 square feet, giving us room for continued growth. We now have space for two resident artists, semi-private studios, a larger gallery, and more room to offer class with beautiful natural light. We are proud to be an important part of the Las Vegas arts and cultural scene. We have guests who visit us from all over the world to buy art, take classes, and learn about what makes Las Vegas a cultural rich and unique environment. We look to the future. We look at ways we can better serve our community, grow, and share our love of clay arts.