Awarded to an Oregon student who shows creative and technical excellence in the field of ceramics.

High School Scholarship Program Application

The competition is open to all high school juniors and seniors living in Oregon and SW Washington.

The High School Scholarship winner will be chosen by a jury of professional ceramic artists. The awards ceremony will be held at the show on the evening of Saturday, April 29th 2023.and will award two $1000 awards to two students who shows creative and technical excellence in the field of ceramics. It offers the highest juried candidates will receive a $1000 scholarship for their entry into post-secondary education. The scholarship is awarded during a ceremony at the OPA Ceramic Showcase each spring, the all-clay show that OPA sponsors every spring at the Oregon Convention Center. The scholarship funds will be held in trust and paid directly to the college entered by the student. We recommend that students with exceptional imagination and technical skill enter this competition.

Entries may be either utilitarian or decorative objects made of clay. Only one entry per student. Application deadline is in March of each year.

2024 HS Scholarship will have an entry cap of 50 entries, but only the top ranking 25 entries can physically show at Showcase.

We had nearly 25 entries last year, the cap is in place due to limited booth space.

Two 1st Place entries will receive $1000
2nd place entry $800
3rd place $500
4th place $200

Two Honorable mentions with potential gift cards from Blick Art, Georgies Ceramics, and/or Clay Art Center Tacoma (you will need to secure these gift cards).
The Sponsor for the HS Scholarship, Kyle Chown of Chown Hardware, has increased the total amount of the 2023 HS Scholarship.  The OPA is giving out $3500 in HS Scholarships in 2024!

  • Winning entries will need to bring their pieces to the HS Gallery Booth at Ceramic Showcase  Wednesday or Thursday afternoon the weekend of Showcase~April 17th/18th between noon and 4 pm, to be displayed for exhibition.  Oregon Convention Center 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97232 


Important dates to Remember:

  • Application Due Friday,  March 15th, 2024
  • Scholarship Awarded Saturday, April 29th

    If you, the instructor, have questions, please contact:

    OPA High School Scholarship Coordinator Meg Turner

    Clay In Education Director, Pilar Swanson

    Most commonly asked Questions ?

    1.Do I have to submit the piece I juried with or may I submit something I finished after I sent in my application?

    You must submit the exact piece that is juried.

    2. May I submit a piece that has been in the OPA Showcase before?

    You may not submit a piece that has been previously submitted to the Scholarship Program. However, you may submit a piece that has been shown the High School Gallery.

    3. Who is eligible?

    The Scholarship Program is open to High School Juniors and Seniors in Oregon and SW Washington.

    4. What percentage of my piece has to be clay?

    Each piece must be at least 75% clay.


    2023 High School Scholarship Winners


    Grant High School, 12th Grade

    Fading Coral

    This hand-built ceramic sculpture reflects the devastating transformation of coral bleaching, capturing the gradual loss of color from left to right. Crafted with the slab building technique, the sculpture features three distinct boxes, each adorned with pinched clay coral structures. The sculpture underwent a low-firing process in an electric kiln, after which I underglaze the coral formations, blending Mayco Underglazes to create a realistic finish. In addition, I added a few brush strokes of Pure Brilliance Clear Glaze in select areas. The sculpture is presented in a handcrafted Bird Eye Maple wood box, filled with white sand, creating a visual representation of the decay and loss of color in these organisms. This depiction is rooted in the scientific process of coral bleaching, also known as ocean acidification, which occurs when ocean temperatures rise as little as 2 degrees Fahrenheit, causing the coral to expel vital algae, known as zooxanthellae, resulting in the organism tissue turning white. My love for the ocean and concern about the pressing issue of climate change has always been at the core of my artistic expression. My work drives me to spark conversations and inspire action toward positive change.


    Corvallis High School, 12th Grade

    La Mezcia del Simbolismo

    Ceramics provides an outlet for relieving stress and enriching my life with creativity and art. Each of my pieces are filled with symbolism and history, which requires much research and critical thinking that serves to strengthen my skills in other parts of my education.
    This piece was created to explore my intersectional Mexican-Jewish identity. I wanted to mix powerful symbols of the two cultures into one cohesive piece to represent how these cultures have mixed within me. I used a goat skull with a traditional Jewish engraving to represent Judaism, and cempasuchil flowers to show Mexican culture. For this piece I used a variety of pinch pots and slabs which I connected with scratch and attachment method and sculpted. Using a wheel, I threw two tall cylinders, and then pushed them into the shape of a cone while adding pressure to create a horn-like texture. I used a needle tool to engrave the skull and created the flowers by sculpting each petal and then scratching and attaching each one. In the glazing process I used a combination of dipping and painting with high fire reduction glazes, and iron and rutile oxides on the flowers.

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