Arts & Entertainment

Ceramics funding struggles

Lilly Mulligan and other ceramic 2 students working on the wheel (Photo: Sophia Hughes, The Puma Prensa)

By Sophia Hughes, web editor and Briana Jauregui, staff writer

It’s no secret that Carrillo’s Encore Arts program is quite popular among students, and recently the ceramics class that Carrillo offers has gained a sudden influx of new members. With this recent growth in numbers, the current amount of funding might not be enough to cover costs for a highly popular class like this one.

With benefits like completing graduation requirements and allowing experimentation with different interests, the ceramics program has been able to accumulate a large number of students in the past few years. Around 250 students initially signed up for the class this year and only 165 students, the maximum number, were able to enroll due to budget considerations, especially regarding sufficient supplies, and difficulties in running the class. 

Classes with a lab or unique supplies have a limit on student enrollment. If the class limit is exceeded, “overages” need to be paid to the teacher to support the larger class sizes, said Carrillo Principal Monique Luke. Gail Bowers, the Carrillo Choral Director said the Encore Arts program receives $12,000 divided equally between the entirety of the Encore program, including choir, art, drama, etc. With the given budget, the ceramics class simply can’t afford more than the maximum number of students permitted within a class. Many students couldn’t get into the class or dropped out due to the large class sizes. 

 Janelle Herfurth cutting clay (Photo: Sophia Hughes, The Puma Prensa)

A senior, Felicity Hughes, was one of several who couldn’t get a seat. “I was stung when I couldn’t get in because art means a lot to me, so the possibility of being challenged in art in a new way intrigued me, but I understand the class is packed and there are limited supplies,” said Hughes. 

Ceramics is in no way a cheap elective. Charles Zweig, Carrillo ceramics teacher, shared the general cost for the basics: clay and glazes are around $5,000 at a minimum, and last year the total funds they received were about $4,280. Funding differs per year depending on the clay used and what tools and glazes need to be replenished. Tools and glazes can last around one to two years but clay needs to be replenished frequently, leading to most of the funds being used by the end of the year.

Zweig said that school funding is “not enough to cover all expenses” and that any sort of donations would be greatly appreciated by him as well as the students. The more money donated, the more things students can try. 

Many students enjoyed the class and have positive things to say about it. “It’s an easy non-stressful class where I can develop my art skills,” said Mackenzie Larson, a junior in her second year of ceramics. In addition, Alexander Ramirez, junior, commented, “It’s popular for a reason, it’s a great class.” It’s safe to say that many students who walk into the class at the beginning of the year walk out at the end with a positive experience in ceramics.

After a few challenging years due to the pandemic, ceramics has battled its way back to its original glory of being a highly desired elective. Over zoom, students were able to complete a fair amount of projects and had an impressive amount of students, but once they sent air-dry clay out to students there was no repurposing the clay. Additionally, they received no donations of quarantine. Hopefully, with the surge of students, ceramics will be able to continue to improve the class with new materials and receive more support through donations. If you would like to donate you may visit the ceramics website on the Maria Carrillo web page.

A junior as well as former ceramics student, Daniella Hinojos, said “Ceramics is a fun class, I would definitely recommend it!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *