Two years ago, it became clear to Michael Lukasek, the chair of the Clay Studio, that the mecca for aspiring and experienced potters badly needed an expansion. The studio, which was founded in 1974 by five artists, had grown from serving a small group of potters to providing services for over 35,000 people on an annual basis.
"I think there are wheels in the bathroom or something now," he joked during a press event.
The Clay Studio will be breaking ground on a 30,000-square-foot facility just outside Kensington later this year, designed by Philadelphia architecture firm DIGSAU. Construction begins in the fall and will end in 2020.
"We went to every neighborhood in Philadelphia to try to figure out what felt like home for us," Jennifer Martin, the studio's vice president, said. "We picked South Kensington because it already has a good art scene going on. There are lots of makers here and artisanal things happening, and we really wanted to be a part of that."
The studio's new facility, which will cost $5 million, is located at 1425 N. American St. and will include state-of-the-art equipment and vastly larger studio spaces, allowing new offerings such as designated youth classrooms, communal workspaces to allow for interaction across all skill levels, new exhibition space, and improved access for day campers and school groups. Martin said she expects the studio to double its capacity for classes.