National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts

NCECA was in Philadelphia, PA this year.  Because of the high expense, Bracker’s decided not to have a booth there.  However, I attended on my own for the purpose of accepting the nomination to the position of Director-at-Large of the organization.  I had a wonderful time actually being able to participate in the conference, reconnected with some old friends, and then, on Saturday, I was elected to the board. I had to prepare a three minute speech for the second members meeting.  I wrote the speech Saturday morning and rehearsed it a couple of times, and when I finally gave it in front of the 200 or so people at the meeting, I had it down solidly to 3 minutes.  For anyone interested, here’s the text:

My name is Cindy Bracker Sturm and I work at Bracker’s Good Earth Clays in Lawrence, KS.  I truly am honored to be standing in front of you as a candidate for Director-at-Large.  To my knowledge, there has never been a commercial exhibitor on the NCECA board.  I feel that I would be a great asset to NCECA because of my vastly different experiences within NCECA and within our industry as a whole, as compared to other board members.  I think that the wider the variety of perspectives you can have on a topic, the more likely you are to achieve the best possible results.  And my perspective is definitely different.  On Thursday, I attended a meeting to discuss some of the plans NCECA has in the coming years.  A couple of things really stuck out to me.  Among those were “spirit of collaboration” and “transparency”.  The difficulty involved in both of those goals is communication with around 6,000 people outside of this conference.  NCECA, as you may or may not know, is on Facebook and Twitter, they’ve got a great website, and they send out email and snail mail.  But, in our industry, one with a background of the oral tradition, there is one obvious missing communication link: The verbal, person to person method.

Unrealistic?  Certainly no one person could talk to the 6000+ NCECA members outside of the annual conference.  Even teh entire board and staff couldn’t split the list up and accomplish it.  But I, and my other supplier friends are already talking to the NCECA membership daily.  In fact, you guys usually call us!  And believe me, we all LOVE to talk about NCECA as much as you do.  As Director-at-Large, I would take the responsibility of keeping the other suppliers and corporate members informed of what’s going on, so that they can then share that information with you.  And, if you have questions or ideas, you can talk to your supplier and work back through the chain.  Working together like this, I think we can accomplish more as an organization than we already do.

That’s just one of the ideas I have.  On a broader scale, I would like to be the voice of the vendors on the board.  All of us are truly devoted and dedicated to the ceramics arts, and we have much to offer this organization and would really like to increase our involvement.  Like many of my friends, I have known little else in my life other than clay.  My parents were salt potters.  My first job was to pop the wads off the bottom of their pieces.  I learned math at art fairs making change, and I think I knew how to properly pack a pot before I could read.   Because there was a real need for supplies in the Kansas City area, my parents’ pottery business grew into a supply business, and I have worked there for most of my life.

Over the last few years, I have coordinated the KC Clay Guild’s annual scholarship show, which was named after my father; I had a blast assisting Cary Esser plan the 2002 Kansas City NCECA, I have served on the board of our state’s Art Education organization, including planning its 2008 conference, and I have thoroughly enjoyed becoming more involved with NCECA as a whole.  I would welcome the opportunity to share my knowledge and skills with the NCECA board.  I hope you will vote for me, Cindy Bracker Sturm, and I thank you for your time.

I look forward to my service on the board for the next three years.  It’s going to be a wild ride!