2024-2025 Board Self-Nomination due April 15

Open to all - ceramics expertise is not required. The board should reflect the diversity of our community. Board members should have passion and energy for our growing nonprofit.

Nominees must be KC Clay Guild members - anyone cam become a member, $60 per year. Click here to set up a membership.

To nominate yourself, email (studio@kcclayguild.org) an image of yourself and answers to the following questions:

1. Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

2) Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.

Board of Directors benefits include free studio access and one free 4-week class per year.

Questions? studio@kcclayguild.org

Stay tuned for a Board of Directors open house in early 2024 - learn more about serving on the board and current organization goals.

Board of Directors  

Josh Wood - President


1) Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

I am very passionate about ceramic art and KCCG. I believe in making art available to Waldo and the greater KC Metro area, and I believe that KCCG provides an excellent venue to do just that. The Guild has provided an excellent opportunity for area artists and I want to do my part to see it continue to thrive, improve, and grow. The Guild is a place that people of all types gather to make art, and have a good time doing it. I am proud that we have been able to offer affordable artistic opportunities to our community. We have grown tremendously over the past several years, and have been able to increase our offerings with programs such as school outreach, an expanding Artist in Residence Program, Soda Firing, classes for developmentally challenged patrons, and kids summer camps to name a few.

KCCG is running at max capacity currently. I hope to help the Guild continue to grow, and increase our capacity to serve the community at large even more.

Over the past year we have made a push towards increasing fundraising, in hopes of future facility and program expantion.

2) Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.

I have been a member for 13 years and on the Board, as Vice-President for four years, and have been President for the past 5. I have been working with clay since 1998.

I am a Fleet Manager for a local municipality and in this roll manage employees, develop budgets, seek grants, and speak to professional groups and City Councils. I also have served on a Professional Board for Heartland Emergency Apparatus Technicians as President, Vice President and Director for several years. I believe all of these skills directly translate into helping the Guild continue to succeed.

I am dedicated to the success of the KC Clay Guild, and would be honored to be selected to serve on the Board again this year!

John M. Devaney - Vice-President


1. I was initially exposed to KCCG in 2010 through UMKC sponsored Communiversity Class I took with my daughter. I had taken an introductory ceramics course in college many years before and the Communiversity class refreshed my recollection of how much I enjoyed making pots. I became a member and began formal classes at KCCG in 2012 and started volunteering at the Guild about the same time.

2. For the last nine years, I have been privileged to serve on KCCG Board. I initially served as Chair of the Building Maintenance Committee, coordinating, and working with KCCG volunteers to complete improvements to the inside and outside of our studio facilities. In recent years, I have held the position of Chair of the Education Committee. In that position, I had the opportunity to work with our Studio Director Louis Riley and our talented class instructors in ensuring a positive, productive student experience. During my last three Board terms, I have held the position of Vice President assisting our President Josh Wood in the administration of the Guild. That effort has included such activities as policy development and review and obtaining the CARE Act Payroll Protection Program funding to replace lost revenue during the studio’s COVID related shutdown. I would like to continue to contribute to the overall improvement of the Guild, physically, academically, and culturally, including the expansion of membership and provision ceramic opportunities to all the diverse communities that comprise the greater Kansas City area. My specific focus during the next term would be on fundraising consistent with the Guild’s strategic planning and attempting to protect the Guild’s operations from the disruptions inherent in the construction activities related to the $90 million apartment complex proposed to start across 74th Street in 2023.

3. My background in working with non-profit organizations facilitates my ability to assist in continuing to improve our functioning as an organization, as well as formulating and attaining our community education and outreach goals. It also does not hurt to have a lawyer on the board.

Melynda Steward - Treasurer 


1) Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

I have been serving on the Board since 2010. I enjoy serving on the board and the Guild is a place to meet other people interested in ceramic arts to exchange ideas. I'd like the opportunity to continue giving back to an organization that has provided me with so much. I'm proud of the fact that the Guild is debt free and we continue to serve the Waldo and the KC area community by offering affordable and approachable classes and other programs to the public. I'd like to continue to help the Guild be successful!

2) Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.

I have experience running a business and using Quickbooks. I am experienced in using Excel and have strong negotiation skills. In my time on the board I have helped with the Spring Sale, the Holiday Sale, Raku Night, Teabowl National, and more. I enjoy working with a variety of people with diverse thoughts and interests to make the Guild a better, more inclusive, place for all and I hope to continue to do so.

Laura Tyler Strawn - Secretary


1. Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

I have been a member at the KC Clay Guild since 2016, and the Clay Guild has become a really important community for me. I really appreciate the Guild’s mission as a non profit ceramic studio in making ceramics accessible and affordable to the Kansas City community. I value volunteering for the KC Clay Guild and have enjoyed previously serving on the board, as a lab monitor, and volunteering for events.

2. Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.

I have served on the board for four years as workshop chair and secretary, and have helped in organizing the holiday and spring sales in previous years. I have also served on the strategic planning committee and enjoy helping strategize how the KC Clay Guild can continue to grow and serve our community in the future. As workshops chair, I brought monthly workshops to the Clay Guild given by local ceramic artists on a variety of ceramic topics and techniques.

My education is in studio art, and I received my Bachelors in Fine Arts in 2011 and my Masters in Fine Arts in 2015. I have enjoyed teaching a variety of fine arts classes at several colleges as an adjunct instructor, and have worked in a large production ceramic studio. I currently work in email marketing for local non profits, and think these additional skills can be helpful for the guild in the future.

When I am not working, I am active with my own studio practice and putting together my home studio. I am passionate about ceramics and also the KC Clay Guild’s community and its mission. I think these experiences and qualities would help me continue to be a valuable member on the KC Clay Guild’s board.

Abby Callaghan - Education Chair


1) Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

I have been on the board as education chair for the last 3 years. I would like to continue to help the KC Clay Guild improve and grow to better serve the community.

2) Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.

I have been working with clay for 14 years. I have my BFA in ceramics from KCAI and my Masters in Teaching from UCMO. I have taught a variety of classes at the guild for the last 7 years and am currently teaching the Monday night wheel class. I think my experience as a teacher and my familiarity with the studio and its community members better helps me get a sense of what we need to improve on. I think listening to community feedback is one of the most important parts of having a position on the board.

Matt Moore - Volunteers Chair


Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

The guild has brought much to life through experiences, joy, friendship, and community. I began giving back as a monitor, and now I’d like to give back more. As of February 2023, I have served as the volunteer coordinator on the board and have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to give back and help our volunteers that keep the guild open. In my short tenure on the board, I’ve worked to improve our schedule tracking by moving to a more visible and easy-to-use platform. As well as improve our communication by sending out a monthly newsletter to monitors. I want to continue making improvements and, in the future, provide more opportunities for the guild to give back to monitors. This community means the world to me, and my time is how I love to give back.

Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.

My day job is as a User Experience Designer, which gives me the knowledge to build better digital experiences for everyone. My knowledge ranges from our website to newsletters. I’ve been throwing for about four years and feel I’ve come a long way in the knowledge I can bring to the guild. Some of you may know me by how often I am at the guild as I am there 2-3 days a week and volunteering on Saturdays. All in all, I bring a range of knowledge and perspective to the table that has been resourceful over these past few months. Above all, I find joy in helping others achieve their goals.

Aimee Adams - Membership and Outreach Chair



Ten years ago, I found a Groupon, signed up for a pottery class, became a member, and never looked back. Today, I am still a member, still getting my hands dirty with clay, still learning and failing, still amazed by the magic that is found at the KC Clay Guild (KCCG).

The KC Clay Guild provides a place for one to learn the art of ceramics in an unpretentious environment. It is a place of educating, learning, exploring, and sharing. Within this community I am but one individual who walked in the door to take a class with no expectations of continuing further. KCCG’s community compelled me to grow, to stretch myself by sharing and selling my art locally, by recommending me to facilitate a private class for a member that needed assistance, by asking me to help out with parties, and by suggesting I nominate myself for the board of directors. I am just one person whose life has been positively impacted by becoming a member of the KC Clay Guild and I hope to utilize a position on the board to foster similar experiences for others.

In total, I have served 5 one year sessions on the board and carried three different roles: Workshop Chair (May 2016 to April 2018), Volunteer Chair (May 2020 to April 2022) and Membership Chair (May 2022 to April 2023). As Volunteer Chair, my role consisted of scheduling, assisting, and supporting volunteer monitors, volunteering at our fundraising events, and communicating important news and information to our monitors. As Workshop Chair I sought out ceramic artists within our area to present a monthly workshop to our members. I polled members for interests, created the events, promoted them on social media, and assisted as needed during the events.

As Membership Chair I provide the board with an accounting of current members and assist with donation requests. Through this I have learned of many amazing local non profits and I enjoyed being able to supply them with an experience they can use to create funds to support their organization. This month I was grateful for the opportunity to put my creative writing skills to use in writing a quarterly newsletter that was distributed to our members and contacts. If re-elected, I would like to utilize the newsletter to provide useful information to our members about our upcoming events, facility updates. and to highlight the work and achievements of members within and connected to our community. I would also like to add a feature that provides information on rotating topics such as favorite tools, tips and tricks, interesting techniques, up and coming artists, and best practices.

My excitement for where we are today and where we will be in the future continues to grow. I would love the opportunity to spend another year serving on the Board. I would love the opportunity to provide research to our strategic planning committee to allow KCCG to cultivate meaningful art experiences for the underserved in our community by making ceramic arts more accessible. I am happy to continue to serve on committees such as raku night, teabowl national, and annual sales.

My professional past includes years of management and working with individuals (of all ages with a wide range of disabilities) in roles such as classroom support, gaining and transitioning to a sustainable role in the workforce, and creating and maintaining goals. I hold a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing.

David Firman - Gallery Chair


I have served on the Board of Directors for the last 2 years as the Gallery Director and would very much enjoy continuing in that position.

Over the last couple of years, myself with the help of others have transformed the gallery space to more of a shop/gallery. I created the wall that features the Guild’s Tea Bowl National collection as well as tea bowls for purchase. I have expanded the gallery with the introduction of long display tables allowing us to carry more work of our members. Last year we were able to only show about 8 artists and now around 16 are showing. Sales have continued to increase.

I have also been involved on the Raku Night committee, the Tea Bowl National and both the Holiday Sale and the Spring Sale as well as presenting an Instagram workshop on clay texturing.

I see the Centered Earth Gallery as an ever evolving and expanding project. Things I would like to work on in the future are better lighting and more advertising. All in good time.

I studied art at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland California and later received an M.F.A. in ceramics from the Claremont Graduate University.

Kelsie Herron - Publicity Chair


1) Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

I hope to continue to serve on the KC Clay Guild Board because I have truly loved watching and being a part of all of the growth our organization has gone through since i first joined the board in 2019. It's been wonderful to see so many people join our community, have Raku Night sell out, gather funding for new equipment, constantly be at capacity, etc. I believe the guild is capable of far more expansiveness, and I look forward to hopefully contributing that!

2) Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.

I came to KC Clay Guild as a resident artist in fall of 2017 after receiving my BFA from University of Missouri. At the end of my residency I joined the Board of Directors and have worked as Workshops Chair and currently as Publicity Chair. I enjoy engaging with the KC Clay Guild community through social media, promoting and attending our events, and highlighting the work of our members as much as possible. I also love building relationships with people in the Kansas City arts community outside of the Guild.

I have worked as the Saturday Kid's Class instructor since 2018, and I conduct the community soda firings. With my skill set being in art and service- I have developed a true passion for community arts and I hope to be able to continue to enhance our community to the best of my abilities. I believe art is for everyone and everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy it.

Thank you for your consideration.

Mike Cerv - Workshops Chair


1) I am interested in serving on the Board of Directors because I believe the KC Clay Guild has the opportunity to grow dramatically. During my time as an artist in residence, I've witnessed and experienced a firm resistance towards change. It is, however, only through change that KCCG can improve itself. My goal as a board member will be to help develop KCCG into a more supportive, effective, and accessible resource for the KC community - both within current membership and without.

2) Through my adventures working in other ceramic institutions I've seen a variety of methods to run a clay studio; this has provided me with insight on what areas require adjustment within the KC Clay Guild. I've accrued managerial and leadership experience as a two time project manager for LSU's applied ceramics program, Factory, and as a small business entrepreneur. Aided by these experiences, I've learned how incredibly rewarding positive leadership and listening to the community at large can be. I will put these to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member by offering suggestions for improvement, participating in discussion with a professional and productive mindset, and actively pursuing a forward looking and preemptive Guild at large. The KC Clay Guild is great; I believe it can be extraordinary.

KC Clay Guild is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 200 West 74th Street, Kansas City, MO 64114

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