100 Years of Inspiration

  • News Image
    Pot: M.C. Richards, Lavender Pinched Bowl, no date, stoneware with acrylic paint, 4.25 x 10.5 x 10.125 inches. Collection of Paulus Berensohn.
  • News Image
    M.C. Richards, Pinch Bowl, ca. 1990s, stoneware with acrylic paint, 3.25 x 4.75 x 4.75 inches. Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center Collection. Gift of the Artist.
October 26, 2016

Seminal artist and creative visionary Mary Caroline (M.C.) Richards, her pottery, writing, and painting, will be featured in the new Kohl Gallery exhibit opening Nov. 11. 

Kohl Gallery at Washington College is pleased to announce an exhibition celebrating the life and work of the potter, poet, painter, author, translator, and educator Mary Caroline (M.C.) Richards on the occasion of her centennial. M.C. Richards, Centering: Life + Art – 100 Years is curated by Julia Connor and Alice Sebrell and organized by the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC). After originating at BMCM+AC in June and traveling to Marywood University in September, the show will make its final stop in Chestertown, opening on November 11 with a public reception from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. The exhibition will be on view through December 21.

Richards (1916 – 1999) was born in Weiser, Idaho and grew up in Portland, Oregon. She graduated from Reed College and received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. From 1945 to 1951 she was faculty at the experimental Black Mountain College (1933-57) in western North Carolina where she taught writing. She was actively involved in both community activities, such as the school’s farm program, and landmark artistic events, including Theatre Piece No. 1, a multi-media experimental performance conceived by John Cage and David Tudor and often understood as the first Happening. One of the school’s most popular teachers in the late 1940s, she later wrote: “I have no criticism of Black Mountain, it was an entirely transforming, maturing and inspiring experience.” After leaving the college, she pursued her work as a potter, translator, teacher, and writer. Her 1964 book Centering: In Pottery, Poetry and the Person was immediately embraced by the crafts community and has remained in print since its first publishing.

M.C. Richards, Centering: Life + Art – 100 Years includes selections of Richards’ works in clay dating from her Black Mountain College years through the 1990s, paintings, poems, broadsides, as well as photographs and other ephemera from her life. The exhibition is accompanied by a digital catalogue featuring images of Richards’ work and essays by James C. Anderson, Paulus Berensohn, Julia Connor, Deborah Haynes, Diedra Heitzman, Sherry Wildfeuer, Matthew Fox, Irwin Kremen, Jenni Sorkin, and Jeffrey Spahn.

Kohl Gallery is located on the first floor of the Gibson Center for the Arts at Washington College. It is open Wednesday through Friday, 1 to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please email:

Last modified on Oct. 26th, 2016 at 12:18pm by Wendy Clarke.