Greenwich House Pottery: A Haven for Clay Enthusiasts
Greenwich House Pottery (GHP) in New York’s Greenwich Village has become a sanctuary for those seeking solace and creativity through ceramics. With its rich history spanning 122 years, GHP has seen a surge in popularity, making it increasingly challenging to secure one of the coveted 400 spots per term. Waiting lists have grown to as many as 140 people in recent years, a stark contrast to the past when classes had to be scaled back due to lack of demand.
According to Fabio J. Fernández, the director of GHP, the recent surge in interest can be attributed to the art world’s embrace of ceramics as a once-marginalized medium and a broader wellness trend that predates the Covid-19 pandemic. People are yearning for a sense of community and the opportunity to create something tangible with their hands, rather than spending their days swiping screens.
To meet the growing demand, GHP is opening a 5,000 sq. ft annex on February 19th. Located in a 1928 Art Deco building at the corner of 14th Street and Eighth Avenue, the sixth-floor space offers expansive views of Chelsea and can accommodate an additional 270 students per term. The purpose-built annex features two classrooms for wheel throwing and hand building, along with three electric kilns. The buildout was funded primarily by the landlord, who was eager to rent out the vacant office space.
In conjunction with the new annex, Fernández is leading a $7 million capital campaign to modernize and expand GHP’s original 1928 Colonial Revival townhouse on Jones Street. The phased renovations, designed by Ogawa Depardon Architects, will include a new rooftop classroom, a renovated basement for staff, the addition of an elevator, and other accessibility improvements. The townhouse’s backyard garden will also be restored for community use and events.
Established in 1902 by Mary Simkhovitch, a progressive social worker, Greenwich House encompasses various institutions, including the pottery school, a music school, a nursery school, a methadone treatment clinic, and four senior citizen centers. Over the years, the pottery school has attracted illustrious students such as Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock, who worked there as a janitor to offset the cost of classes. In recent times, GHP has welcomed prominent contemporary artists, including Rirkrit Tiravanija and