OPA’s Clay in Education Artists within Education program provides students with the opportunity to see and experience artists working and creating alongside them in the classroom.

This program plays a meaningful role in breaking down economic and social barriers, and increases students’ ability to think critically through engaging in the ongoing problem solving process that is inherent to creative work. OPA is excited to bring rich creative opportunities to economically and culturally diverse students, inspiring them to see themselves in future artistic careers and/or maker spaces.

We, the OPA, will coordinate, arrange for and train an Oregon potter/ceramic artist to spend one week (40 hrs)  in your class or school at zero cost for the school. We fully fund the artist who receives compensation for their time and work.

We will also provide the materials for all students for the project that is chosen. The artist will be responsible for the firing (the process of the clay going through a kiln) and returning artwork to the school and students. Firing costs are also covered by OPA.


In consideration of student and staff safety, every artist will abide by each schools requirements for being a visitor in their building for an extended period of time. We will coordinate with the school and artist to make sure all procedures are in place and followed.

We, the OPA, will provide the following trainings to all accepted applicants: 

  • Trauma Informed Care
  • Adult Sexual Misconduct
  • Child Sexual Abuse Prevention
  • OPA Anti-Discrimination Policy
  • OPA Anti-Harassment Policy

We understand that districts will require their own trainings for volunteers to enter an education setting for an extended period of time. All AWE applicants will need to complete the necessary district training and the required OPA training.


Even if your school has an established ceramic program, our ceramic artists can provide a different skill and perspective to your students. Many art teachers only know hand-building methods and not wheel-throwing. Let's get an artist into your school to show students how to throw on a pottery wheel!

The Artist Within Education program is always searching for new schools to partner with.

If you are Title 1, the cost to send an artist to your school is free. Non-Title 1 schools will be asked to contribute $925 of the total cost.

If your school does NOT have a kiln, do not let that deter you from applying.

The artist will work with our partnered ceramic studios or fire the ceramic work in their ceramic kilns at their home studios.

Schools interested in collaborating with the AWE program must fill out the 'School Placement & Agreement Form.' Interested schools will need a person of record or Site Coordinator and a signature from the building administrator.


How long will I be with students?

The Site Coordinator and AWE artist will discuss how often and how long students will meet with the artist. Some artists can meet with students for a couple of hours twice a week, while others can only meet with students once a week. It all depends on the schedules of the Site Coordinator and AWE artist. The artist has at least 40 hours to fill; this also includes firing times as well. 

How many groups of students will I be meeting with?

It depends on the school and site coordinators' availability. Some artists will be working with one class, while some will be working with multiple classes or grade levels of students. It depends on what the Site Coordinator decides is manageable with their schedule. 

Do I do different projects with each different group of students? 

Placed artists will typically use the project outlined in their AWE application. However, Site Coordinators will advocate the needs of their students and will sometimes suggest a topic or idea. Artists must work with Site Coordinators to determine what project best fits their students. It also depends on the artist's comfort level in managing multiple projects with multiple student groups. 

The school doesn't have a kiln; how do I fire projects?

The AWE Program Coordinator and/or Clay in Education Director will work with the placed artist to determine a good place to fire ceramic work. This could be with one of our partnering ceramic studios or at the artist's studio. The firing of ceramic work will be the responsibility of the AWE artist.

Will I be compensated for materials? 

Determine what materials the Site Coordinator has at their school. But AWE applicants will have a materials stipend of up to $450.

When will I know that I have been accepted as an AWE artist? 

After the submission window closes, applicants should expect to hear back from the AWE Program Coordinator between six to ten business days. Applying does NOT mean a placement is provided.   

Do I have to do a background check? 

In accordance to ORS 326.607, as stated by the Oregon Department of Education, "Background check policy for volunteers; authority of school districts and schools to obtain criminal records check of volunteers and applicants for employment."

To comply with Oregon Law and with OPA, accepted AWE applicants must undergo a background check if they want to enter an Oregon school for more than one hour. Those that refuse to undergo a background check will forfeit their AWE application.

For more information go to the Oregon Department of Education

No longer accepting Artist Within Education artist applications.

Please wait for further information.

Pilar Swanson, Clay in Education Director


Program Coordinator: Clay In Education Director

Email: education@oregonpotters.org




Oregon Potters Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization engaging in arts advocacy and educational and creative projects for a network and community of over 400 ceramic artists and the public at large in the state of Oregon. We’ve been growing our community and public awareness of clay arts for the last 40 years and have remained focused on education as a meaningful way to bring ceramic arts into the future of Oregon.

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Oregon Potters Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

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