EDUCATION

1984  MFA, New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University

1978  BFA, Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) 

 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2010  Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO

1999  Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO

1998  Grand Arts Studio, Kansas City, MO, exhibition of Rosettes, public art project work-in-progress, in collaboration with Al Frega, metal sculptor

1996-1992  Annual Open Studio Exhibition, Chapel Hill, NC

1994 Laramie County Community College, Cheyenne, WY

1992  Duke University Bryan Center Gallery, Durham, NC 

1991  Chapel Hill Preservation Society, Chapel Hill, NC 

1989  Holden Gallery, Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, NC 

1987  Durham Art Guild, Durham, NC 

1986  Glaxo Corporation, Research Triangle Park, NC 

1985  305 West Cameron Gallery, Chapel Hill, NC 

Greenwich House Pottery, New York, NY 

 

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2016  The Once and Future: New Now, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO 

Chromaphilia, Grand Arts Gallery, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO 

50 Women, American Jazz Museum, Kansas City, MO 

Archie Bray Foundation Resident and Visiting Artists, Belger Crane Yard Gallery, Kansas City, MO 

Every Semester: Collecting KCAI Ceramics 1995 – 2015, Belger Arts Center, Kansas City, MO 

Recent American Ceramics from the Dr. Harold F. Daum Collection, Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, MO 

Summer Invitational, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO 

2015  In Pursuit, H&R Block Artspace, Kansas City, MO 

Summer Workshop Artists Exhibition, Belger Crane Yard, Kansas City, MO 

2014  The Center is a Moving Target, Kemper at the Crossroads, Kansas City, MO 

Analagons, Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, MO 

2013  20th Annniversary Clay on the Wall Invitational Exhibition, curator, Glen Brown, Landmark Arts, Texas Tech University School of Art, Lubbock, TX 

2011  Narrow Margins, H&R Block Artspace, Kansas City, MO 

Bray Collaboration, Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT 

Islamic Influence, Crossroads Gallery, St. Petersburgh College, Clearwater, FL 

Kansas City Clay, Red Star Studios, NCECA Expo Gallery, Tampa, FL 

2010  Creating and Collecting: Kansas City and Contemporary Sculpture, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO 

(Re)Form, H&R Block Artspace, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO 

Six McKnight Artists, Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, MN (catalog) 

25th Anniversary Summer Exhibition, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO 

Connecting with Contemporary Sculpture, Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 

2009  Evermore: Pattern & Process, Epsten Gallery, Overland Park, KS (catalog) 

KCAI: Then and Now, Red Star Studios, Kansas City, MO 

2009-2007 Craft in America Exhibition and Catalog, venues: Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AK 

Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, OR 

Mingei International Museum, San Diego, CA 

Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston, TX 

Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI 

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, OK 

Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA

2008  Kansas City Flat Files, KCAI H&R Block Artspace, Kansas City, MO 

2007  It’s Only Natural, KCAI H&R Block Artspace, Kansas City, MO 

2004  Tile: Matter and Motif, Baltimore Clayworks, Baltimore, MD 

Connoisseurs of Clay: Collecting Contemporary Ceramics (catalog), St. Petersburg, FL 

Works by Artists in Residence at the International Ceramics Studio, Kansas City Artists Coalition, Kansas City, MO 

2003  21st Century Ceramics in the United States and Canada (catalog), Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, OH 

Facets of Clay, Macalester College Art Gallery, Saint Paul, MN 

Scripps College Annual Invitational, Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Claremont College, CA 

2002  Evidence, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO 

Sculptural Clay Invitational (catalog), Daum Museum, Sedalia, MO 

Out of Academe, Manhattan Arts Center, Manhattan, KS 

Gathering Influence: The Artist as Collector, KCAI H&R Block Artspace, Kansas Ctiy, MO 

KCAI Ceramics Faculty 1996-2002, Vanderslice Hall, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO 

2000  Artistry in Tile, Greater Reston Arts Center, Reston, VA 

The Summer Show, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO 

2000-1999  Flora and Fauna in Ceramics Sculpture (catalog) 

Traveling exhibition curated by Cary Esser, venues: 

Florida Craftsmen Gallery, St. Petersburg, FL 

KCAI H&R Block Artspace 

Karl Drerup Gallery, Plymouth State College, Plymouth, NH 

Pensacola Museum of Art, Pensacola, FL 

1999  Clay Invitational, Kansas City Artists Coalition, Kansas City, MO 

Departures from the Midwest, Baltimore Clayworks, Baltimore, MD 

1998  Living With Tile: The Art of Installation, Wayne Arts Center, St. Davis, PA 

1996  Clay Works: A National Invitational Exhibition, Zephyr Gallery, Louisville, KY 

1995  Tile ’95 (catalog), Pewabic Pottery, Detroit, MI 

Keepers of the Flame, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO 

1993 Visual Arts Faculty Exhibition, Duke University Museum of Art, Durham, NC 

Another View, University Art Gallery, University of Massachusetts at North Dartmouth, MA 

Six Women Who Make Art With Clay, Arts Council of Wilson, Wilson, NC 

1992  Archie Bray Foundation Benefit Exhibition, Owen Patrick Gallery, Philadelphia, PA 

1991   Ceramics Walls, Brainard Gallery, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL 

1990  Artists in the Garden, Peden Gallery II, Raleigh, NC 

LSU Ceramics Exhibition, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA 

1989  North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowships 1988-89 (catalog), City Gallery of Contemporary Art, Raleigh, NC 

Ceramic Sculpture in Open Spaces, Charlotte Kemper Gallery, Kansas City, MO 

1987  Ceramic Sculpture Exhibition at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 

1985  A Centennial Celebration: Highlights from Kansas City Art Institute Alumni, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO 

1984  40th Western New York Exhibition, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY 

1982  Architectural Ceramics, Women’s Interart Center, New York, NY 

Annual Scripps College Invitational Ceramics Exhibition, Claremont, CA 

 

PUBLICATIONS and MEDIA

2016  Order and Entropy, essay by Cary Esser, Studio Potter, Volume 44, Number 2, Summer/Fall 2016 "Function/Architecture 

Cary Esser: A Ceramicist for the 21st Century 

• profile by Elizabeth Kirsch, KC Studio, March/April, pp. 50 – 53 (cover photo) 

• video by Randy Mason, KCPT public TV, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUmE868Y4N0

Made Of Clay, interview by Gina Kaufmann & Matthew Long-Middleton, Central Standard, KCUR 89.3, http://kcur.org/post/made-clay#stream/0 

The Story Behind Cary Esser's 40-Year Passion For Clay, interview by Laura Spencer, KCUR 89.3, http://kcur.org/post/story-behind-cary-essers-40-year-passion-clay#stream/0 

Top 50 Moments of NCECA's 50th, review by Julie Hanus, March 20, 2016, http://craftcouncil.org 

Sculpture Techniques, book, edited by Bill Jones, published by The American Ceramics Society, Westerville, OH, pp. 102-104 

Kansas City Collection IV Catalogue 2016-2017, essay by Liz Cook, pp. 36 – 39 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUmE868Y4N0 

2015  Cary Esser: A Vital Geometry, photos, profile by Glen R. Brown, Ceramics Monthly, February 2015 

2014  Regional Artists Tackle Global Concerns With Vigor, review by Alice Thorson, The Kansas City Star, June 8, 2014, p. D1 

Meditations from the Middle, photo, review by Alicia Eler, Hyperallergic, May 2, 2014, http://hyperallergic.com/124051/meditations-from-the-middle/ 

2014  Summer Visual Art, Photo, preview by Alice Thorson, Preview Section p. 22, Kansas City Star, May 15, 2014 

2013  Terra Sigillata, book by Sevim Cizer, Baser Publications, Izmir, Turkey 

The Songbird and the Architecture, profile by Tanya Hartman, Ceramics: Art and Perception, issue 91, 2013 

20th Annniversary Clay on the Wall Invitational Exhibition Catalog, essay by Glen Brown, Landmark Arts, Texas Tech University School of Art, Lubbock, TX 

2011  Lay of the Land, review by Glen Brown, Ceramics Monthly, February 

Kansas City Clay: What’s Happening Now, article by Tara Polansky, Ceramics: Art and Perception, Issue 88 

2010  Six McKnight Artists, Exhibition Catalog, essay by Robert Silberman, Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, MN 

Art Institute’s Feats of Clay, review by Elisabeth Kirsch, Kansas City Star, Oct. 24, 2010 

A Voyage of Ideas and Reflections, review by Aarik Danielson, with photo, The Columbia Daily Tribune, January 4th 2010 

2009  Episode V: Process, Craft in America, documentary produced by Carol Sauvion, air date October 7th Public Broadcasting Service 

Epsten Gallery Explores Pattern and Process, radio interview with Marcus Cain and Laura Spencer, arts reporter, KCUR 89.3FM Radio, January 14th 

Patterns at Play, review by Sarah Mote, The Kansas City Star, The Arts section, January 4th 

2008  Evermore: Pattern and Process, exhibition catalog essay by curator Marcus Cain, Kansas City Jewish Museum, Overland Park, KS 

2007  Craft in America: Celebrating Two Centuries of Artists and Objects, book by Jo Lauria and Steve Fenton, published by Clarkson Potter 

2006  Myra Morgan Collection at Dennis Morgan Gallery and Belger Center, review by Andrea Norris, Review magazine, February 

2004  Matter and Motif, Clay Times, September/October 

2003  21st Century Ceramics in the United States and Canada, Ceramics Monthly, December 

21st Century Ceramics in the United States and Canada, exhibition catalog edited by Bill Hunt, The American Ceramics Society 

2002  Regeneration, NCECA Conference Preview, article by Cary Esser, Ceramics Monthly, March 

TRAX Exhibition Brochure, curator’s statement by Cary Esser 

Sculptural Clay Invitational Catalog, essay by Sherry Cromwell Lacy, Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, MO, March 

KANSAS CITY: New Territory, review by Stephanie Bowman, Art Papers, July/August 

Curating Clay: A Troika of Tactics, review by Alison Zimmer, Review, May/June 

Glaze Daze, NCECA exhibitions preview by Kate Hackman, The Kansas City Star, PREVIEW, March 15th-21st 

The Penland Book of Ceramics, by Angelica Puzo, Lark Books 

Cary Esser Gives Kansas City an NCECA Look, interview by Marcus Cain, Review, March/April 

Openings, Review Magazine, photo, listings and comments by Kate Hackman, March/April 

2000  Humans, Nature, and Human Nature, review by Elizabeth Kirsch, The Kansas City Star, April 16th 

KCAI and the Capacity for Ceramics, by Elizabeth Kirsch, The Kansas City Star, April 16th 

An Elegant Show of Naturalistic Clay Sculpture, review by Kate Hackman, Review Magazine, April 

1999  Flora and Fauna Exhibition Catalog, curator’s essay by Cary Esser 

Timeless Tiles, by Cara Walz, Pitch Weekly, November 11-17 

Surface Decoration, by Lynn Peters, Lark Books 

Kansas City Art Institute Ties, Ceramics Monthly, September 

No Shortage of Variety, by Elizabeth Kirsch, The Kansas City Star, May 29th 

Living with Tile, by Nancy McCroskey, Clay Times, January/February 

Gallery Section, American Craft, December 1998/ January 1999 

1998  Making Molds, by Pierce Clayton, Lark Books 

1995  Celebrating Ken Ferguson, by Patricia Degener, American Craft, October/November 

Tile ’95 Exhibition Catalog, Pewabic Pottery, Detroit, MI 

Keepers of the Flame Exhibition Catalog, Kemper Museum, Kansas City, MO 

1992  When Art Goes Public, by Kate Dobbs Ariail, Independent Weekly, January 15th 

1989  North Carolina Arts Council Artists’ Fellowships 1988-89 Exhibition Catalog, by Vernon Pratt, City Gallery of Contemporary Art, Raleigh, NC 

1985  Architectural Clay Focus, Ceramics Monthly, April 

1983  Scripps Invitational, Ceramics Monthly, February 

 

COLLECTIONS

Kansas City Collection IV

Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art

Daum Museum of Contemporary Art

Belger Collection

el dorado architects

North Carolina Arts Council Artworks for State Building

First National Bank and Trust Company

FGI Corporation

Glaxo Corporation

City of Sanford, North Carolina

Montgomery County, Maryland, Art-in-Public-Architecture

Archie Bray Foundation

John Michael Kohler Art Center

 

RESIDENCIES

Present - 2014  Belger Crane Yard Studios, Kansas City, MO 

2010  Northern Clay Center, McKnight Residency, Minneapolis, MN 

2003  International Ceramics Studio, Kecskemet, Hungary 

1999  Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, Newcastle, ME 

1982 Arts and Industry Program, Kohler Manufacturing Company, WI 

1982-1980  Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT 

 

AWARDS and HONORS

2016  Kathleen Collins Chair of Ceramics, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO 

2013  Distinguished Achievement Award, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO 

2014-1996  Faculty Development Grant, 13 grants awarded 1996 – 2014, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO 

2009  McKnight Foundation Ceramic Artist Residency 

2003  Lighton International Artists Exchange Program, Kansas City, MO 

1994  Professional Development Grant, Duke University Institute of Arts, Durham, NC 

1993  Research Grant, Duke-UNC Program in Latin American Studies, Durham, NC 

1988  Visual Artists Fellowship, North Carolina Arts Council, Raleigh, NC 

 

COMMISSIONED PUBLIC WORKS

1999-1996 Old Revenue Building, Raleigh, NC 

• Contracted to collaborate with metal sculptor Al Frega to produce found-metal and carved ceramic sculpture with wall relief for lobby of renovated building. 

• Funded by Artworks for State Buildings Program, North Carolina Arts Council, Department of Natural Resources. 

1994-1990  Heritage Park, Sanford, NC 

• Designed and produced four ceramic murals, installed fall 1994. Funds received from City of Sanford, private donations, and New Works grant from the North Carolina Arts Council. 

• Artist/designer with landscape architect Carter Crawford and Downtown Revitalization Corporation, to develop master plan for pocket park and murals (1994-1990). 

• Led workshops for 150 Lee County residents to facilitate community brick murals. 

1989-1988  Paint Branch High School, Burtonsville, MD 

• Designed, produced, and installed two ceramic relief murals. 

• Funded by the Montgomery County Art-in-Public-Architecture program (Percent for Art). 

 

CURATORIAL EXPERIENCE

2016  Every Semester: Collecting KCAI Ceramics 1995 – 2015, Belger Arts Center, Kansas City, MO 

2005  The Eye of the Collector: Art Pottery and More from the Morgan Collection, Belger Arts Center, Kansas City, MO 

2004  Tile: Matter and Motif, Baltimore Clayworks, Baltimore, MD 

2002  TRAX: An Exhibition of Sited Sculpture and Performance, Union Station, Kansas City, MO 

New Territory, Belger Arts Center, Kansas City, MO 

Evidence, Sherry Leedy Gallery, Kansas City, MO\ 

2000-1999  Flora and Fauna in Ceramic Sculpture, a nationally traveling group exhibition 

 

TEACHING

Present-1996  Kansas City Art Institute, Professor and Chair, Ceramics, Kansas City, MO 

1994-1990  Duke University, Artist-in-Residence, Durham, NC 

Courses: 

• Architectural Ceramics 

• Re-creating Pre-Columbian Material Culture, (co-taught with Dr. Dorie Reents-Budet, Curator of Pre-Columbian Art, Duke University Museum of Art) 

• Public Art/Private Concerns (co-taught with Professor Vernon Pratt, Department of Art and Art History) 

• Ceramic Sculpture 

• Introduction to Drawing 

1996-1989  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 

Adjunct Professor, Art Fundamentals for Elementary Education (1996-1990) 

Visiting Lecturer, Ceramic Sculpture (1991-1989) 

1991  Louisiana State University, Visiting Instructor in Ceramics, Baton Rouge, LA 

 

LECTURES AND WORKSHOPS

2015  Belger Crane Yard Studios, Kansas City, MO 

2011  University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK 

2010  Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, MN 

Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS 

2004  Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO 

Baltimore Clayworks, Baltimore, MD 

El Camino Community College, Torrence, CA 

2003  International Ceramics Studio, Kecskemet, Hungary 

University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 

University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK 

Kansas City Artists Coalition, Kansas City, MO 

2001  Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT 

2000  Kent State University, Kent, OH 

1999  Florida Craftsmen and St. Pete Clays, St. Petersburg, FL 

1998  Forrest Park Community College, St. Louis, MO 

1997  New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 

Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT 

1996  Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass Village, CO 

Boulder Potter’s Guild, Boulder, CO 

American Crafts Council Southeast Conference, Louisville, KY 

1994  University of Wyoming & Laramie County Community College, Cheyenne, WY 

1992  University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 

Public Art Symposium, Wake Forrest University, Winston-Salem, NC 

1991  National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), New Orleans, LA 

American Crafts Council Southeast Conference, Jackson, MS 

Peters Valley Craft Center, Layton, NJ 

University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 

Lee Brick Company, Sanford, NC 

Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL 

Southeastern Massachusetts University, New Bedford, MA 

1990  Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI 

National Council for Education of the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), Cincinnati, OH 

Wilson County Public Schools, Wilson, NC 

Paint Branch High School, Burtonsville, MDd 

 

RELATED EXPERIENCE

2015  Visiting Artist, Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT 

2010  Grant Panelist, Jerome Award Panel, Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, MN 

2004  Juror, Regional Juried Student Exhibition, NCECA conference, Indianapolis, IN 

2002-1999  On-Site Liaison and Board Member, NCECA conference, Kansas City, MO 

2001  Juror, Emerging Artists Program, NCECA conference, Charlotte, NC 

1999  Juror, Missouri Scholastic Awards, Kansas City, MO 

1997  Juror, Kentucky Craft Marketing Program, Lexington, KY 

1993-1992  Design Advisory Group, North Carolina Pottery Museum, Seagrove, NC 

1992  Selection Panelist, Artworks for State Buildings Program, North Carolina Arts Council, Durham, NC 

1991  Grant Panelist, Visual Arts Project Grants, North Carolina Arts Council, Durham, NC