About the Academy
The New York/New Jersey Academy of Ceramic Art is dedicated to the education and creative growth of individuals to the many challenges of working with clay. The mission of the program is to encourage experimentation, offering a wealth of information, techniques, and the means by which students can discover the rich potential of this primitive art form. Ceramic artist and teacher Frank Bosco founded the Academy in the spring of 1997.
The Academy resides in over 3,000 square feet of space in a turn-of-the-century carriage-house located in the the historic Lafayette section of Jersey City near Liberty State Park and the Hudson/Bergen Light Rail station.
The school itself is considered a wonderful place to work due to its roominess and natural light, plus a unique consideration for health and conservation. The academy's facilities are well designed and organized with an impressive supply of tools, glaze materials, research materials, work and storage space, that is rarely found in most other ceramic facilities. The Academy is in fact a work in progress that continues to improve and evolve.
The academy is geared for high-fire stoneware and porcelain, with cone 10 oxidation and reduction kilns, plus 40 gorgeous academy-made glazes. Raku firings during seasonal workshops are also offered, and here again with no less than 40 academy-made glazes.
The selection of classes and workshops offered during the day and night cover the broad spectrum of studio ceramic study, and are designed to satisfy the needs of the experience, as well as the absolute beginner.
Classes offered include traditional wheel-thrown pottery; academy founder Frank Bosco's own version of hand building titled "Drawing Takes Form"; a Science Primer course for students who wish to delve deeper into the ceramic process and it's chemistry; Frank is also a master mold-maker, and his course "Mold-making and Slip-casting" is a must for artists and designers venturing out with their own production, or those who want to add another unique process to their ceramic arsenal.
How It Got Started
The infancy of what is now the New York New Jersey Academy of Ceramic Art began in the spring of 1997. At that time Frank was employed as part-time faculty at three schools, Parsons School of Design, Drew University, and Rhode Island School of Design. What initiated the move to start his own school was the feedback from many of his student’s who wanted to learn more than just the basics of hand building and wheel work. Frank also fielded many complaints with respect to the crowdedness of the classes, and the prevalent unhealthy conditions at each, and other established ceramic programs. Hearing this in the context of a serendipitous moment, with a vacant floor in his two-story building, the wheels began to turn. The building itself is a modest 5,000 square foot structure, built in 1894 of solid terra-cotta brick.
Originally the building served as a carriage-house for a fruit company, the first floor served as a stable. Since moving here in the spring of 1984, Frank has heard stories from some of the locals who can remember watching the horses and carriages being brought out and assembled on the street before departing out for deliveries. Over the century the building was home to at least two other businesses; a welding shop, and the last business to occupy the building before Frank purchased it went by the name, ArtCraft Burial Box Company.
The first course offering at the newly born academy was a workshop covering the process of mold-making and slip-casting, with an enrollment of just four students. Keeping the faith that if “you build it, they will come”, Frank slowly tooled the facility and began offering courses in material science and hand building, and over time the Academy was established.
Since it’s inception, hundreds of students have passed through its doors. Many have left with enough knowledge to carry on their with own ceramic art endeavors professionally, and many others admit that taking classes here has changed their lives in the best way. On average, there are from thirty to fifty students enrolled during any given term. Four terms each year are offered at the start of each calendrical season.
Frank earned a Masters in Fine Art degree at Alfred University’s prestigious College of Ceramics, and a Bachelors in Fine Art degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, that along with his thirty years of university-level teaching, there’s much on the table here at the Academy. (Frank'so resume)
All photo credits: Frank Bosco
Academy today 2018
1984 ground floor views (above and below)