Founded by a group of Moore artsits—Jill Bonovitz ’74, Janice Merendino ’74, Betty Parisano and Kathie Regan ’74 and Moore faculty member Ken Vavrek—The Clay Studio, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, has evolved over time from a workspace for artists into the thriving hub of Philadelphia’s ceramic arts community.

The organization plays an important role in promoting ceramics to all levels of student interest, proficiency and financial means, and elevates the work of emerging artists through exhibitions and programming. Originally located in Old City, The Clay Studio opened its new space in Kensington in 2022, which features the latest in ceramics equipment and has the physical capacity to host more artists.

“When we started The Clay Studio, we never imagined it would become the organization it is today,” said Bonovitz, one of the original co-founders. “There are so many people who helped us grow along the way. Our new space, which is phenomenal, reflects our amazing community.”

In addition to being founded by Moore alumni and faculty, The Clay Studio has served as a studio, workplace, community hub and second home to many Moore alumni. For Janie Gross ’74, a member of Moore’s Board of Managers and longtime associate at The Clay Studio, the organization has played a pivotal role in her journey as an artist.

“With my background in graphic design, I wanted to expand into 3D work and loosen up my design style,” explained Gross. “Having worked in a vast range of artistic mediums, I am most inspired by the endless potential of working with clay. The Clay Studio is a dream come true where all ages, backgrounds and abilities come together in complete harmony.”

In March 2024, Bonovitz hosted an event at The Clay Studio for Moore’s annual Alumni Reunion, which included a mixer in the organization’s rooftop space, hand-building clay activities and a tour of the Founders & Foundations exhibition, showcasing work by Moore alumni.

For more on The Clay Studio’s 50th anniversary, visit


Main image: Kathie Regan Dalzell '74, Jill Bonovitz ‘74, Ken Vavrek and Janice Merendino ’74 (far right) at the opening of the Founders & Foundations exhibition at The Clay Studio. Photo: Chris Baker Evans.