The 46th Annual NCECA Conference, “On the Edge”, will be held in Seattle, Washington at the Washington State Convention Center, March 28 – March 31, 2012. In conjunction with the conference, The Bellevue Arts Museum will host the 2012 NCECA Invitational “Push Play” from January 19 to June 17, 2012.

The NCECA Invitational is a themed, curated exhibition that features leading edge, large scale and often challenging ceramic art. Held in even-numbered years, a foundation group of works are selected by invitation; then additional artists are invited to submit images that support the theme for consideration. The submission process is open to all artists working in ceramics. This format brings established reputations and emerging talent to bear on the selected theme and adds vitality and fresh perspectives to an ongoing dialogue. A color catalogue documents the exhibition experience and contains artist statements, pertinent essays and color images of the art. The exhibition is curated and organized by NCECA Exhibitions Director, Linda Ganstrom.

The 2012 NCECA Invitational focuses on the importance of play as related to art and life.

Push Play

Want to play? Such an invitation offers the possibility of learning through pleasurable, focused activity. Associated with nature, physical interaction and props, play allows the participant the freedom to observe, respond, interact and react in ways not prescribed, although some rules still apply with consequences for those who don’t play fair. The stories that evolve from play, in their authenticity, act as triggers for personal fantasy, artistic imagining and creative problem solving. The open nature of play and playthings endows them with the power to help establish gender roles, identity, social status and career roles. Governed by a set of rules or boundaries, an outside force directs gaming or sports play. As technology interfaces with gaming, play offers virtual experience, regulated and safe, but still exciting. No longer relegated to the realm of childhood, games simulate realities ranging from war to spiritual quests while assigning players alternative identities and enhanced personalities. What are the benefits and costs of these various types of play? Is art play? Creativity lies at the heart of both art and play. When does play become art and how does skill figure into the mix? Artists often approach their work as highly focused play involving all their sentient faculties. Increasingly democratized by technology, art-making no longer requires the skills developed from material discipline. A movie can be filmed from a cell phone as evidenced by the 2010 Guggenheim and YouTube groundbreaking competition, “Play Biennial.” While everyone has potential as an artist, not all have the highly specialized skills to create artifacts with a marketable value. Where does ceramics fit in? Art making, particularly in clay, immerses the maker in sensual substance and offers an appealing alternative to technology and virtual reality play. The materials and processes of ceramics regulate the game. Whether intuitive or skillful, play in clay can be intensely engaging.
Sharing a neighborhood with the corporate offices of Nintendo and Microsoft, The Bellevue Arts Museum seems an appropriate place to investigate the question, “What is play today?” NCECA and BAM encourage artists to create works that “Push Play” up their 30 foot lobby walls to reach the gallery floors, weather the winter and spring outdoors, invite physical interaction and employ play as the subject of their art. Filling most of the second floor of the Bellevue Arts Museum, “Push Play” has room for large as well as more traditional format works. Art is serious business, so too is play. This exhibition seeks to encourage artists to move into a realm where play and its connections to art, technology, individuality and community are investigated and celebrated, while stimulating thought and provoking conversation regarding the relevance of play in contemporary life. Ceramics is the perfect medium to “Push Play.”
Linda Ganstrom, Curator Eligibility
This exhibition is open to any artist whose works incorporate primarily ceramic materials and processes. NCECA Members pay a discounted submission fee. If you are not sure whether you have a current membership in NCECA contact:
Media & Limitations
All works must be primarily ceramic or unfired clay. Mixed media works will be accepted only if ceramic materials are the primary media, although video documentation of projects involving ceramics are encouraged. The curator will make final determinations. Large scale work can be accommodated. Floor works must be firmly stable. Wall-mounted pieces are limited to 20 lbs per section. Works may be hung from the ceiling in specific places. Work must have been produced within the last five years and not have been shown in previous NCECA exhibitions, Bellevue Arts Museum or the greater Seattle area. Calendar

Detailed information and Online Submittal form: Available Jan.12, 2011

Online Submittal deadline: July 5, 2011 (midnight EST)

Acceptance notification: August 1, 2011
Contracts and Statements due: August 15, 2011
Delivery of accepted work: Before December 19, 2011
Installation: December 20 – January 18, 2012
Exhibition dates: January 19, 2012 –June 17, 2012
Return of work: After June 17, 2012

For all the details visit their site here.