America's ClayFest

Lincoln is a clay town, and for a quarter of a century, the 135-year-old Gladding, McBean clay factory in Lincoln, just north of Roseville, was the perfect venue for Feats of Clay, an annual juried exhibit of stellar ceramic work—in content and execution. For years, visitors toured the working factory to see art displayed in a beehive kiln. It was a ceramic show like no other.

But last year, alleged internal issues at Lincoln Arts, sponsor of the show, closed Feats before it even opened. The result: Last fall, approximately 30 artists convened to form the Art League of Lincoln, a 250-members-strong nonprofit arts entity.

Now, although the League is still sans permanent digs, it's revived Feats as America's ClayFest. When complications related to the Americans with Disabilities Act compliance forced Gladding, McBean to pull out as the venue, Roseville's Blue Line Arts gallery (405 Vernon Street, Suite 100 in Roseville) offered its space. For the show, the juror, ceramic artist Richard Shaw, chose 79 pieces from 330 entries, some from Canada and Hungary. Featured artists include the Austin, Texas-based Kate Nelson and Sacramento's John Lennertz (whose bust of a bald, bearded man is pictured above). The show runs through Saturday, June 1.

The clay town is also poised to celebrate this most humble of art mediums on Lincoln Clay Day, Saturday, May 18, in Beermann Downtown Plaza (640 Fifth Street). Here, visitors can carve on an unfired clay sewer pipe and enjoy music, food and artist wares. For more information, check out the League's website at www.all4art.net.