Art Attack

One of the outstanding educational programs at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities (6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, 720-898-7200, is in the field of ceramics. The center offers classes and workshops about clay that are geared to either children or adults, and sometimes both.

In a few weeks — with time running out for registration — there will be a very special workshop to be held on Saturday and Sunday, August 2 and 3, to be conducted by Japanese National Treasure, Takashi Nakazato (pictured) in Arvada’s pottery studio. The cost for the two-day event which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days is $160. Nakazato will be instructing on wheel-throwing, as well as on hand-building and coiling.

Nakazato, who lives and maintains his studio in Karatsu, Japan, also spends several months a year in Colorado, teaching at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, which made taking on the brief gig at Arvada feasible for him. Nakazato is the descendent of one of Japan’s oldest pottery-making families, and his father and first teacher was Taraoumon Nakazato, who was declared a living national treasure of Japan. The younger Nakazato went on to study at the renowned Ceramics Institute in Kyoto before launching his own distinguished career. His work combines traditional Japanese ceramic conventions along with a host of innovations of his own invention.

No stranger to the Front Range, back in 1999, the Denver Art Museum’s Ron Otsuka mounted a solo given over to Nakazato that was one of the best ceramics shows ever presented in town. (see review, “Here’s Mud in Your Eye,” Westword, December 23, 1999.) And in spite of the fact that it was installed on the Asian art floor of the Gio Ponti tower, every piece had been made right here in Colorado at the artist’s time-share studio in Snowmass. Now almost ten years later, the Arvada Center will follow Otsuka’s lead and will not only be hosting Nakazato in the studio this summer, but in the galleries this fall. The center will be presenting a Nakazato exhibit there which will be on view from September 18 through November 16.
July 11-Aug. 2, 2008

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Michael Paglia is an art historian and writer whose columns have appeared in Westword since 1995; his essays on the visual arts have also been published in national periodicals including Art News, Architecture, Art Ltd., Modernism, Art & Auction and Sculpture Magazine. He taught art history at the University of Colorado Denver.
Contact: Michael Paglia