The Clay Studio
137-139 North Second Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Currently on display from:

May 31, 2019-July 14, 2019


Timelapse of my installation at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, PA. USA

for The Graduate Student Biennial Exhibition 2019.

The Clay Studio | Graduate Student Biennial 2019

Ciro Di Ruocco




Medium & Materials:
Porcelain, hand blown glass, LED light

15" x 7" x 31"


I was deeply moved by “how understanding our past informs our present and, more importantly, our future.” As I researched Whitman’s work, I loved seeing how he celebrated everyone; even the “The opium-eater reclines with rigid head and just-open’d lips” from his poem “Song of Myself.” This poem is often used in the recovery community to teach addicts/alcoholics that they need to forgive and love themselves. I also identified with his ability to be of service to others in an advocacy capacity. “You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.” I reach global audiences through contemporary activist art that touches people’s emotions and gives a voice to those who are most vulnerable. I believe graduate studies are reserved for people who aspire to change the world, and this is what I am doing.


The Clay Studio Graduate Student Biennial June 30th Artist Reception 2019
Photo by Jennifer Zwilling


The Clay Studio | Graduate Student Biennial 2019

Our Graduate Student Biennial has a long history of showing work by future Resident Artists, NCECA Emerging Artists, and major grant recipients. Prizes for the top three works in the show will be awarded.

Opening Reception: Friday, May 31st, 6-8pm


Best in Show Award – Katie Sleyman, Perfect Posture

Curator’s Choice – Jennifer O’Connell Reid, Monuments for Love

Collector’s Choice – Elspeth Schulze, Flux


About the show’s theme:

Walt Whitman (1819–1892) is a colossal figure in American literature and art.

His writings were incredibly wide ranging, addressing issues of nature, environmentalism, sexual orientation, beauty, travel, democracy, transcendentalism, and much more. He pioneered the new type of poetry called free verse, and self published his writings. He was born in New York, lived for many years in Brooklyn, lived the end of his life in Camden, and spent great amounts of time in Philadelphia.

Whitman has been called America’s “poet of democracy.” The 200th anniversary of his birth this year provides an important opportunity to reassess his estimable contributions to American life at a time when our country is so polarized. The Clay Studio Graduate Student Biennial will offer young artists from around the country an opportunity to reflect on his legacy and to examining their place in the world. Consider these immortal lines:

“I am large, I contain multitudes”

“Forever Alive, Forever Forward”

“I celebrate myself and sing myself”

We encourage you to take this opportunity to learn about this important American artist — there is something for everyone. Whether this will be your first time exploring Whitman, or you are already inspired by Whitman’s work, we believe that exploring this graduate student biennial of ceramic artists will be eye-opening. The show was juried by Judith Tannenbaum, Artistic Director of Whitman at 200.

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