Ceramics Take Over Wheeling 2024: A Guide to the Month-long Celebration of Clay

This week marks the start of the second Ceramics Take Over Wheeling month-long ceramics exhibition. This event began in 2023 and is described on Ceramics Take Over Wheeling’s website as, “a citywide event that celebrates ceramic artists and clay enthusiasts alike.” The exhibition features ceramicists from around the country as well as locals, and showcases the many styles of the craft. 

The concept for the take-over was initiated by Lambros Tsuhlares, who saw the potential for Wheeling to be the perfect destination for a ceramics-focused event. In an interview with Tsuhlares and Rick Morgan, director of the Stifel Fine Arts Center, he stated, “I think Wheeling is a perfect destination place. It’s situated close to major metropolitan areas. You’re close to DC, close to Pittsburgh, not that far from New York or Philadelphia or even Chicago. It’s inexpensive to live here, so if ceramic artists started to come in here, they could.” 

Tsuhlares wanted to bring art and tourism to Wheeling during February and March, months that typically have little happening in terms of big events, and he received immediate support from the community. When asked about the initial response to the take-over, he said “We’ve got a lot of support from Pittsburgh, people from Standard Ceramics, there were no naysayers. They said, ‘what can we do to help?’, and the doors started opening and things started happening that we didn’t plan and things evolved.”

In the interview, Tsuhlares also expressed his satisfaction with how the event has taken off in the past two years, “When I came up with this idea, what I thought would happen would be that after three or four years we would get a national representation. Well, we had a home run right for the first year, and the thing that it does to Wheeling, it brings in a caliber of art that you’d have to go beyond Pittsburgh, or, somewhere else to see, coming to Wheeling. It’s just beyond my wildest dreams, really.” Morgan also was pleased with the response to the show, “I was completely impressed and blown away by the fact that people in our community came out to not only see but purchase the work. By doing that, you are supporting artists, which I think is a huge thing. Most people don’t know how important it is to fund and support artists that hand make their work by themselves.”

Rick Morgan, director of the Stifel Fine Arts Center.

The annual event kicked off last year with Tshualres and Morgan heading the month-long series of exhibitions, and during that first year, they featured 78 artists from 29 states with 99 ceramic pieces entering into the show that garnered $11,000 in ceramic sales. The take-over represents what a true national ceramic exhibition should be, with entries from potters all over the country. States bordering West Virginia such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and Maryland tend to have more submissions than other states, but more distant states such as Washington State, Montana, Hawaii, Colorado, and California have also been represented. This year, 104 artists from 32 states are being represented, and 109 ceramic works have been accepted for the exhibition. 

  • Lambros Tsuhlares and Rick Morgan.

Tsuhlares expressed his pleasure in the quality of the take-over as well during the interview, saying, “When you come to see the show, you see that it is definitely a cut above anything you’ve ever seen before, and I took great pride in offering the city of Wheeling a chance to see something that they’re not going to see often.” Morgan also takes great satisfaction in the event and encourages locals and tourists to visit the event in person rather than solely looking at the online exhibition, “Looking at the artwork in person is completely different than looking at it online or in a magazine. So to be able to come out and to see this for free. You’ll have that experience, and I think that’s an important thing.”

The month-long take-over features the main showcase, which is the national juried art exhibition Earth and Fire. This exhibition is held from Friday, February 23 through Saturday, March 30, 2024, at the Stifel Fine Arts Center. Earth and Fire is juried by WVU’s School of Art and Design area head of ceramics, Shoji Satake and the exhibition offers $7,000 in total cash prizes with the top prize being $4,000. Tsuhlares supplies the prize money himself and will be funding the take-over for the first five years. After this, he and Morgan hope that the event will have gained enough traction that sponsors from Wheeling and the surrounding area will begin to pitch in and support the take-over enough that it will be able to stand on its own. 

The winner of the Earth and Fire exhibition will not only receive $4,000, but will also have a solo exhibition the following year as well as the chance to teach a workshop. The 2023 winners of the Earth and Fire exhibition consisted of 1st place Ken McCollum, 2nd Place Clarissa Pezone, 3rd Place Shawn O’Connor, and Merits went to Jarred Pfeiffer, and Josh Manning.

The Earth and Fire gallery exhibition is free to access and available for visitation from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Saturday. Other events held during the Ceramics Take Over Wheeling will be hosted by several local art galleries and organizations, giving residents and visitors more opportunities to immerse themselves in Wheeling’s art scene and see the diversity of ceramics art in Wheeling. The chronological schedule of events for the take-over month is listed below, but more information can be found on Ceramics Take Over Wheeling’s website. 

2024 Ceramics Take Over Wheeling Schedule of Events


Friday, February 23 — The Gallery at 2265 will host the opening reception for Almost Heaven from 4 – 6  p.m. and the event is by invitation only. Almost Heaven is a collection of ceramic works made by Ken McCollum, and the exhibition will be available for viewing until Saturday, March 30, 2024. 

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Friday, February 23 — The opening reception of Earth & Fire: A National Ceramic Art Exhibition will be held from 6:30–8:30 p.m. at the Stifel Fine Arts Center. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided and attendees can enjoy the exhibit, the awards ceremony for the winning artists at 7:15 p.m. Guests can alsovisit the Pop-Up Mug Shop where attendees can buy handcrafted mugs made by the featured artists. 

Saturday, February 24 — There will be a Ceramic Workshop hosted by Shoji Satake from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Stifel Fine Arts Center. The workshop will focus on hand-building clay flower sculptures, and participants are not required to have any prior knowledge or experience with clay. The workshop is $100 ($95 for Oglebay Institute members) to register, will be 5 hours long, and is for ages 17 and older. Interested participants can register for the workshop by visiting oionline.com.

Saturday, February 24Meet the Artist. Meet ceramic artist Ken McCollum at The Gallery, from noon – 3 p.m. 

Saturday, February 24 — There will be a pottery wheel demonstration with Andrea Dubiel at Ogelbay Park’s Wilson Lodge from 1-3 p.m.

Wednesday, February 28 — There will be a Raku Firing Demonstration from noon – 5 p.m. at the Stifel Fine Arts Center. The event will be hosted by Rick Morgan, who will demonstrate the technique of taking glazed ceramics fresh from the kiln and placing them in a flammable material such as newspaper or sawdust, which takes the oxygen away from the piece, creating a variety of colors in the glaze. The demonstration is free and open to the public. 


Friday, March 1 Artworks Around Town will open their exhibition that features works from Jonathan Walsh and Bellaire High School Students. The exhibition will open with a Gallery Hop from 5:30–8 p.m. that begins in Centre Market. The event is free and open to the public, and the exhibition will last until Saturday, March 30, 2024. 

Friday, March 1 — The opening reception for Shoji Satakes exhibition titled Cornucopia will be held from 6-8 p.m. The reception and exhibition will be hosted by The Gallery at Towngate Theater and Cornucopia will be on display until Sunday, May 19, 2024.

Saturday, March 2 — There will be a pottery wheel demonstration with Aaron Anslow at Artworks Around Town from 10:30-1 p.m.

Friday, March 8 — Clientele Art Studio will host an opening for Mud Madness, featuring local and up-and-coming artists from 7-10 p.m. 

Saturday, March 9 & Sunday, March 10 — There will be a Ceramic Workshop hosted by Ken McCollum from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Stifel Fine Arts Center. This workshop will span two days and will have participants create a plaster mold and make a wall-hanging platter. Participants will also learn methods that McCollum uses in his own work, such as the carving and dot technique. The event will last 12 hours total, 6 hours each day, and is for ages 17 and up. The workshop costs $115 ($105 for Oglebay Institute members), and interested participants can register at oionline.com.

Saturday, March 16 — Ogelbay’s Shamrock Showdown will host a pottery wheel demonstration with Aaron Anslow from noon – 3 p.m.

Saturday, March 16 — The Soup Kitchen of Greater Wheeling will host the “Soup or Bowl” event from 1 – 3 p.m. Various soups will be available, and the dinner will include cornbread, dessert, and a drink. Soup will be served in paper bowls, or guests can purchase a handcrafted ceramic bowl for $20-$30 with soup included in the purchase. Proceeds from the event will help fund meals provided by the Soup Kitchen during spring and summer. 

Saturday, March 16 — Be Kind Ceramics & Clientele Art Studio will host an Easter Glaze & Sip with Liz Raber from 1 – 3 p.m. The event costs $30 and there are 30 spots available. Attendees will receive a ceramic bunny to glaze that will be ready for pickup within two weeks. 

Friday, March 22 — The Take a Sip ceramic mug exhibition will begin at The Artisan Center Gallery from 5 – 7 p.m. The exhibition is in partnership with Ceramics Take Over Wheeling and will feature handmade ceramic mugs, tumblers, cups etc. from various artists. The exhibit will be available until Saturday, March 30, 2024. 

Saturday, March 23 — East Wheeling Clayworks will host an open house and pottery wheel-throwing demonstrations

Take some time this February and March to visit the local ceramic exhibitions, get your hands dirty and participate in one of the clay workshops, and support your local artists by buying their handmade work. And be sure to use #CeramicsTOW on your social media as you enjoy the second annual Ceramics Take Over Wheeling exhibition!

• Anna Griffith is a Senior majoring in English Rhetoric and Writing with a double minor in Creative Writing and Marketing. She is a founding member of Threshold and was the Public Relations Manager during her Sophomore and Junior year. She is continuing her PR position during her Senior year in addition to being Editor-in-Chief. After graduation, Anna hopes to attend a master’s program and eventually work in publishing or as a librarian.