2023 Juror

Adero Willard


Adero Willard has been a studio potter for over twenty-five years. She currently an assistant visiting professor at New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. She received a BFA at Alfred University in 1995 and MFA at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2006. In 2008 she completed a one-year Salad Days residency at Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts in Maine.

Currently at Alfred, Willard works as faculty co-facilitator for IDEA lab, a program for cultivating diverse and inclusive co-learning environments as part of an anti-racism and anti-bias program. Adero is a co-founder of POW! Pots on Wheels since 2014 and works on the board to support and develop outreach programming. POW!’s mission continuously finds ways of sharing ceramics in communities, from rural classrooms to inner city neighborhoods.

In the spring of 2023 Adero will bring to NCECA in Cincinnati an exhibition of 19 established and emerging Black women, and Black non-binary ceramic artists. Adero has been on a number of ceramics discussion panels, exhibited work nationally and internationally and has been featured in a number of publications and books on ceramics.

Artist Statement

Red clay as the skin of the pot provides a richness and depth to the layers of surface that I build up with resists, slips, underglaze, Egyptian paste, and multiple firings. The layering of touch, memory, and color in my process build upon sharing this love for clay both as an artist and educator allows me to nurture a love of the arts, cultural legacies, and of the handmade in myself and others.

Growing up an only child of a single parent in NYC was stressful and complicated, and I would find comfort in making sense out of chaos. My trip to India as a kid I can never forget: the sight of streets filled with brightly colored draped and wrapped clothing still inspires me today.

Combinations of color in my process builds upon a deep connection to memories of fabric and gardens, expressions of fearless, fluid and undulating expressions of identity, while at the same time allowing for a conduit for connecting to my Cherokee and African ancestry.

I have recently begun building a new body of work I refer as Mino-Ghigua. (The Dahomey Mino were an all-female warrior battalion in West Africa and Ghigua was a term to describe female warriors and political tribal leaders.) Inspired by expressions of Afrofuturism from artists like Wengechi Mutu, I am challenging myself and the viewer of ceramic work to connecting to ancestral legacies while still allowing for progress.

Past Jurors

  • 2022 – Jack Troy & Carolanne Currier
  • 2021 – Roberto Lugo, Margaret Kinkeade, & Brooks Oliver
  • 2020 – Julia Galloway
  • 2019 – Malcolm Mobutu Smith
  • 2018 – Ben Carter
  • 2017 – Linda Sikora
  • 2016 – Simon Leach
  • 2015 – Matt Long
  • 2014 – Christa Assad
  • 2013 – Jim Connell
  • 2012 – Jack Troy
  • 2011  – Mary Barringer
  • 2010 – Bill van Gilder
  • 2009 – Pete Pinnell
  • 2008 – Linda Arbuckle


  • 2007 – Malcolm Davis
  • 2006 – Tom Coleman
  • 2005 – John Glick
  • 2004 – Susan Peterson
  • 2003 – Wayne Higby
  • 2002 – Jack Troy
  • 2001  – Linda Christianson
  • 2000 – Ken Ferguson
  • 1999  – Warren MacKenzie
  • 1998  – Cynthia Bringle
  • 1997  – Val Cushing
  • 1996  – Phyllis Blair Clark
  • 1995  – Chris Staley
  • 1994  – Bill Daley
  • 1993  – Jack Troy