The City In Clay

Editor’s Note: The Claymobile Outreach Program, a part of The Clay Studio in Old City, was founded in 1994 as a way to expose Philadelphia students to clay art. In class, students learn techniques that enable them to produce bowls, mugs, sculpture, and even wall art. The focus of the clay curriculum can vary, depending on the needs of the teacher and classroom. Hidden City Daily contributor Jenny Leibert has been a Claymobile instructor since the summer of 2010.

Claymobile classes often explore Philadelphia history, neighborhoods, and buildings. The hope is that students will use the experience to reflect on their own lives and neighborhoods. Thus, students not only learn about art, historic preservation, and architecture during these lessons, but also about each other and their own city.

This fall, students at Young Scholars Charter School at 21st and Norris Streets used clay to explore their neighborhoods and the many aspects that define a community. They produced clay sculptures based on rowhomes, factories, and famous Philadelphia buildings. They also learned architectural skills, producing model buildings with bricks, stoops, basketball courts, and flower boxes. They made clay maps of the city. This work was later showcased as a street scene for the school’s art show.

About the author

Jennifer Leibert was born and raised in the Kensington section of Philadelphia and has a deep passion for Philadelphia history. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and a M.A. in Museum Studies, with her graduate thesis focusing on public art in Philadelphia. After completing her college coursework, Jennifer was selected for The City of Philadelphia’s Destination Mayoral Fellowship, where she was apart of The Public Art Office (now apart of The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy). It was during this experience that her passion for art and architecture grew stronger. Jennifer is also a caretaker for an historic home in Northwest Philadelphia, teaches with the Claymobile Program (an award winning mobile ceramic art program), and is the Public Programs Coordinator at the Wyck Association.

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