Ceramic artist Christopher Staley named 2012-13 Penn State laureate

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Christopher P. Staley, distinguished professor of art in the College of Arts and Architecture, has been named Penn State laureate for 2012-13, succeeding Linda Patterson Miller, professor of English at Penn State Abington. During his upcoming laureate year, Staley -- the fifth University faculty member to hold this prestigious title -- plans to develop a series of talks and presentations on "Art and Life: Where They Intersect," drawing from his 30 years of experience as a ceramic artist and educator.

The Penn State laureate, an honorary position established in 2008, is a full-time faculty member in the humanities or the arts who is assigned half-time for one academic year to bring an enhanced level of social, cultural, artistic and human perspective and awareness to a broad array of audiences. The individual appears at University events at Penn State campuses and throughout the state at various community programs in hopes of adding a more human dimension to the conduct of the usual affairs and business of these locations.

According to Staley, whose work is included in collections around the world, art and life are "profoundly interrelated." Throughout his career, he says, he has come to recognize how art can have profound implications on all aspects of life. "It is these observations, along with provocative questions, that I wish to share with the extended Penn State community and beyond," Staley explained. "Art has the ability to build a sense of community because it can rekindle our collective sense of childhood wonder."

Named a Penn State Distinguished Professor in 2008, Staley joined the University faculty in 1990, teaching ceramics in the School of Visual Arts. Under his leadership, the Ceramics Graduate Program has been ranked No. 10 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. He received Penn State’s Graduate Faculty Teaching Award in 2007.

His ceramic pieces are included in the International Museum of Ceramic Art, Fuping, China; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; and the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art, Washington D.C., among others. He is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics, based in Geneva, Switzerland, and serves as chair of the board of directors at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, an international craft school in Deer Isle, Maine. In February 2012, he gave a talk at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, India.

Staley has had numerous one-person exhibitions across the United States, many of which were at the highly regarded Garth Clark Gallery in New York City, in addition to participating in many group shows. He has served as artist-in-residence at the Ceramic Art Museum, Fuping, China; the European Ceramic Work Centre in the Netherlands; and the Archie Bray Foundation in Montana.

He has received grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the National Endowments for the Arts, among other organizations. He is frequently invited to give lectures and workshops throughout the country and has served as a juror for many art exhibitions. His writings and his ceramic work are featured in numerous publications, ranging from ceramics periodicals to books on the art of form. Staley received his master of fine arts degree from Alfred University and bachelor of fine arts degree from Wittenberg University.

Staley's first public appearance as the incoming Penn State laureate will be as a participant in the Penn State Laureate Jubilee, a reception and program to be held 3-5 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center. Several of the five Penn State laureates are scheduled to take part in the celebratory event. He begins his Penn State laureate duties in July 2012.

Staley was selected by President Rodney A. Erickson following a recommendation by the review committee. The committee was chaired by Blannie Bowen, vice provost for Academic Affairs, and included Robin Becker, professor of English and women's studies in the College of the Liberal Arts and 2010-11 Penn State laureate; Nancy Herron, associate dean for academic programs in the Office of the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses; Barry Kur, professor of theatre in the College of Arts and Architecture; Anne Riley, a member of the Board of Trustees; Bonj Szczygiel, associate professor of landscape architecture and women's studies in the College of Arts and Architecture; and Susan Welch, dean of the College of the Liberal Arts.

For more information about the Penn State laureate, visit http://laureate.psu.edu.

Last Updated April 03, 2012