Experience Clay in Northern Indiana

The Northern Indiana Clay Alliance serves as an organizer of resources within the region, promoting artists, funding programming, and providing opportunities to ceramic artists of all ages. We seek to advance the ceramic community and increase awareness of regional artists while building up the next generation of potters through opportunity, scholarship, and relationships.

Michiana Pottery Tour

The Michiana Pottery Tour includes more than 40 artists at multiple locations across northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan. The two-day tour takes place on the final Saturday and Sunday of September every year.

Found in 2011 by local ceramic artists Dick Lehman, Mark Goertzen, and Justin Rothshank. In recent years, this event has brought in over $100,000 in annual sales and thousands of visitors to the region.

Many of the participating artists are local to Indiana and Michigan. However, several guest artists from neighboring states and beyond will also be participating. This tour is a great opportunity to view a wide variety of work and discover new local artists. Many of the participants have lived or worked in the Michiana area at some point in their careers.

Marvin Bartel Scholarship

The clay community in northern Indiana since 1970 has many connections to the work and teachings of Marvin Bartel, EdD. After arriving at Goshen College in 1970, Marvin helped build a robust ceramic community in the region. Many of the artists locally and more around the world have a connection to Marvin in some way.

A self-described “active artist, writer, and traveler”, Marvin’s fingerprints can be found throughout the region. His family tree of ceramic artists includes Dick Lehman, Justin Rothshank, and many others.

The Marvin Bartel Scholarship is awarded on a biennial basis to northern Indiana graduates going on to study art at the university level. Having completed one semester of ceramics education in high school is a requirement.

The first award will be announced in the spring of 2024.

Emerging Artist Opportunities

Northern Indiana is home to nationally recognized graduate and high school art programs. Many of the area’s ceramic artists are the product of northern Indiana’s school systems. The Northern Indiana Clay Alliance recognizes the importance of building our region’s next generation of artists.

Equally important is the desire to establish northern Indiana as a destination for aspiring ceramic artists. This is particularly true for people of color, underrepresented populations, and the LGBTQ+ community.

NICA’s goal is to develop programming to support emerging artists with opportunity, education, and community to make our region a place where everyone can thrive.


Artistic Documentation

With a history dating back over 300 years, northern Indiana has long been home to ceramic artists. The region’s natural resources have made it a destination for potters and more since the mid-18th century.

The Northern Indiana Clay Alliance strives to collect and catalog information from the region’s history to preserve it for future generations. Through a digital catalog initiative, support from regional authors, and local artist storytelling, NICA will serve as the historical record of clay in the area.