3rd Place recipient

Potter, portrait

Anne Drew Potter

I was born and grew up in Berkeley, California. My childhood and education were permeated with an activist social awareness – from packing up school supplies to send to Guatemala in grade school, to petitioning against nuclear weapons in Junior High, to volunteer tutoring in Oaxaca, Mexico during what would have been my last semester of High School. I felt both motivated and burdened by my concern for humanity.

I left the West Coast for Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania to get a solid liberal arts education. In particular, my studies in history and dance both directly informed my developing artwork, in terms of content and form. I increasingly contextualized my experiences and observations in terms of larger historical-social-political narratives, and sought a way to express these ideas in my sculpture. Modern dance, particularly the form of Contact Improvisation became an important source of information for the physical experience of the body that I wished to address. In my senior year, I attended a lecture by Leslie Feinberg that introduced me to some of the language and theory that described my concerns with gender and identity.

After Swarthmore I took a job working in social services in North Philadelphia, where I interacted primarily with middle- and high-school youth. While I enjoyed my work, I realized that I needed to pursue art full time and began the long process of graduate education. I received my first Master of Fine Arts degree from the New York Academy of Art in Manhattan, which consisted of a rigorous education in the human figure, both from observation and conceptual models. Upon graduating from the Academy, I was awarded a travel fellowship to the U.K. through the Royal Academy of Art in London. In order to have more concentrated studio time, and to have the opportunity to apply my academic training to my thematic concerns, I pursued a second Masters, in ceramics, at Indiana University, Bloomington, where I received a full fellowship. During my time in Bloomington I began to show nationally. Upon graduating, I recieved the Matsutani Fellowship at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT, where I was a resident through the fall of 2009. Also in 2009, I recieved an Emerging Artist award from the National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). I am now based in West Lafayette, Indiana, but traveling frequently.