Lydia Thompson – Keynote
Lydia C. Thompson is the new chair of the department of art and art history at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. She has held positions as the director of the School of Art at Texas Tech University, department head at Mississippi State University, assistant dean of undergraduate studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, assistant dean of multi-cultural affairs at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and director of the educational opportunity program at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. She has served on the boards for NCECA (National Council of Education for Ceramics), NCAA (National Council of Arts Administrators), and most recently the Lubbock Arts Alliance in Lubbock, TX.
Lydia’s work has been included in galleries, art centers, and museums such as the Society for Contemporary Crafts, Pittsburgh, PA; Baltimore Clayworks; the Ohr O’Keefe Museum in Biloxi, MS; the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft; Te Temauta Gallery in New Zealand, and Guldegaard in Denmark. She has completed public commissions for businesses and her work is in private and public collections in North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, New Zealand, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. She has conducted community workshops with children, adults, and universities, given lectures throughout the United States, and has served as both juror and curator for national and regional exhibitions.
Lydia received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The Ohio State University and her Master of Fine Arts degree from the New York College of Ceramics at Alfred University. She received a Fulbright Hayes grant to conduct research on traditional architecture in Nigeria, a VCUarts Institutional Grant for research at the International Ceramic Research Center Artist-in-Residency in Denmark, and also completed a residency at the Medalta Ceramic Center in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada.
Her creative scholarship explores agriculture plant life as they relate to cultural identity, migration patterns, and traditional African utilitarian and ceremonial objects. She utilizes these images to create figurative amorphic forms and landscape patterns that may capture a particular geographic region. The abstract forms such as a group of floating cotton speak subtly to the connectivity of atmosphere, earth, and human existence, as well as cultural signifiers. She is also interested in how the atmosphere is controlled by commodity and nature.
Cynthia Bringle – Endnote
Cynthia Bringle is a ceramic artist who lives and works in Penland, NC. Although she is best known for her ceramics, she is also a painter and printmaker. She earned a B.F.A. from Memphis Academy of Art and an M.F.A. from Alfred University. She runs a gallery in Penland with her twin sister, where she sells her pottery. She has taught many workshops nationwide and at Penland School of Crafts for many years. She is a fellow of the American Craft Council and a recipient of the North Carolina Award for Fine Art. Her work is in the collection of the Mint Museum of Craft and Design, Burlington Art Centre, and the High Museum of Art.