MFA Ceramics Candidate Rachel Clark has been selected as a Niche Award Finalist

East Carolina University is home to one of the top five ceramic finalists for the Niche Award

MFA ceramics student, Rachel Clark, was one of the chosen top five ceramic artists as a Niche Award Finalist.

Sponsored by NICHE magazine, the NICHE Awards program began in 1989 to celebrate excellence and innovation in American and Canadian fine craft. Artists are recognized in both professional and student divisions.

Nearly 2,000 entries are received each year from professional and student craft artists from across the U.S. and Canada. Each year, a prestigious panel of judges is selected by the editors of NICHE magazine, including gallery owners, guild and museum directors, curators, craft industry experts and arts advocates.

After the judging process is complete, and counts are tallied, the top-scoring pieces—5 in each category—become NICHE finalists. Out of these five, the highest-scoring piece in each category wins the NICHE award.

The NICHE Awards ceremony takes place each January during the American Made Show. The winners are revealed at the ceremony and each winning artist receives a trophy.

At the ceremony, student and professional winners take the stage side by side. Students benefit by meeting masters in their fields. Yet many attendees have noted that inspiration flows both ways. “The professionals inspire us with their technical mastery and their understanding of the role of craft in shaping culture,” says Hope Daniels, editorial director of NICHE magazine. “The students thrill us with their risk-taking vision of what craft is today and has yet to become tomorrow.”