In the heart of the medieval Tuscan town of Chiusdino something wonderful is happening. Students and faculty from our Ceramic Arts program have spent several summers building a wood-fired kiln as part of an annual trip led by professors Tony Marsh and Chris Miles.
This June, I joined a group of Long Beach State University faculty, staff and loyal supporters to watch students unload that kiln. The looks on their faces as they surveyed the artwork were priceless — joy, excitement, pride. The difficult task of building the kiln together, then crafting the ceramics and finally loading the kiln, required artistry, camaraderie and serious manual labor. Opening the kiln after the firing was high drama as many bricks had to be removed by hand, exposing the ceramics one level at a time. It was awe-inspiring for those of us watching, and life changing for the students. We celebrated with the local citizens who welcomed, housed and fed our little arts community. As we built a kiln, we also built caring relationships that will advance both our university and the region.
Chiusdino is just one example of how we excel in arts education across disciplines. In this issue of Beach magazine you will read about our innovative programs, our talented students and faculty, and our extraordinary alumni who are enriching the world with their creativity. Enjoy!
Jane Close Conoley