Exploring the History of Clay Art in Omaha, Nebraska

From the moment Iggy first encountered clay in a pottery class as a child in Detroit, they were captivated by the fire and heat, and the strength needed to work with the heavy material. With the help of their instructor, they were able to ask questions and explore ideas, learning from their successes and failures alike. In 1999, a group of creative individuals in Omaha, Nebraska sought out a space to collaborate and work together more efficiently. This led to the formation of the Hot Shops Art Center, a highly collaborative and supportive community of artists.

The mission of this community is to build a clay community in Nebraska by connecting artists and providing opportunities for exhibition, learning, and sales. There are no membership fees, and the guild is open to ceramic artists of all styles and levels of experience.


art merges the natural world with industry in an ambiguous and thought-provoking way. They have been featured in numerous exhibitions around the world, including Art Now '78 at the Hyogo Museum of Modern Art in Japan, Sculptors & Their Drawings at Dorothy Weiss Gallery in San Francisco, Masters in Clay at Leuven Art Academy in Belgium, A New Expression of the Earth at Luis Seoane Foundation in A Coruña, Spain, Jun and Fumi Kaneko at Mark Masuoka Gallery in Las Vegas, NV, Jun and Fumi Kaneko at Leedy Voulkos Gallery in Kansas City, MO, IN Otsuka Ceramics at Maronie Gallery in Kyoto, Japan, Høvikodden Fjord Project and Høvikodden International at Høvikodden Art Center in Oslo, Norway, Midlands Invitational at Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE, IN Otsuka Ceramics at Otsuka Ceramic Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, Jun Kaneko at LeWallen Contemporary in Santa Fe, NM, Jun Kaneko at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, MN, Jun Kaneko at The Art Center in Hargate St., Jun Kaneko at Maurine Littleton Gallery in Washington DC, Jun Kaneko at Pewabic Pottery in Detroit MI, Jun Kaneko at Joslyn Art Gallery in Omaha NE, Bronze Heads & Klein Art Works in Chicago IL, Jun Kaneko at Daum Museum of Contemporary Art in Sedalia MO.

Sumnik's power of observation is often overlooked but highly appreciated. He has created a series of large-scale sculptures from 1982-1983 as part of his Omaha Project; from 1992-1994 as part of his Fremont Project in California; and currently as part of his Mission Clay Project in Kansas. He arrived in the United States from Japan in 1963 to continue his studies at Chouinard Art Institute where he focused on sculptural ceramics under Fred Marer's tutelage. Sumnik has received numerous scholarships and awards throughout his career including an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in London.

He continues to be an inspiration for aspiring ceramicists everywhere.

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