Alfred University News

Alfred University School of Art and Design secures $80,000 Windgate Foundation grant to replace, rebuild kilns

The interior of the kiln building, where three kilns will be replaced and four new test kilns built
The interior of the kiln building, where three kilns will be replaced and four new test kilns built

Alfred University’s School of Art and Design has been awarded an $80,000 grant from the Windgate Foundation, based in Little Rock, Ark., to replace three kilns in Harder Hall and build four new test kilns, SOAD Dean Lauren Lake announced this week.


ALFRED, NY – Alfred University’s School of Art and Design has been awarded an $80,000 grant from the Windgate Foundation, based in Little Rock, Ark., to replace three kilns in Harder Hall and build four new test kilns, SOAD Dean Lauren Lake announced this week.

Lake said the new kilns will serve faculty and student artists, in addition to artists-in-residence who visit Alfred University through the international Randall Chair the Turner Teaching Fellowship, the summer residency program for BIPOC artists, and the summer ceramics workshop series, through which ceramic artists from around the world

She characterized the kiln replacement project as a continuation of Alfred University’s commitment to art research, noting each of the Harder Hall kilns is fired on average 150 times per year; at any given time during fall and spring semesters there are over 150 users of the ceramic kiln facility.

“Arts practice and research,” she said, “will be vital to our economic recovery from a year of the COVID-19 pandemic, and also a continuation of our mission and dedication to arts and culture. Arts research and practice is the creation of new knowledge in, through, and about the arts, which is why I believe the problems of the future will be addressed not only by science and engineering, but also by art and artists.”

Alfred University President Mark Zupan extended his thanks to the Windgate Foundation, noting the grant would have a significant positive impact on ceramic art and students at the University.

“We are immensely grateful to the Windgate Foundation for their willingness to invest in our University’s distinction, excellence, and impact in ceramic art,” Zupan said. “Many generations to come of Alfred University students, faculty, and staff will benefit from the Windgate investment—as will the broader ceramic art field.”

The new kilns will be manufactured locally through Frederickson Front Loading Commercial Electric Kilns and built to SOAD specifications, processes, temperature, load, and physical size specific to studio needs. The four test kilns will be built onsite by senior kiln specialists and student interns, under the direction of Shawn Murrey, Head Kiln Specialist.

The Windgate Foundation funds projects connected with not-for-profit organizations, notably educational institutions, involved in contemporary craft arts, visual arts, and arts education.