2017-18 KC Clay Guild Board Candidates: 

The candidates were asked to tell the voters about themselves and to answer the following questions:

1. Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

2) Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you would like to use them as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.


Elissa Keiser

1. I would like to be more involved with the clay guild and hope to bring forth fresh ideas to the table. It would also give me a chance to learn about the board does and give ma a chance to network with more people who love ceramics and art in general.

2. 1998 graduate of Iowa State Univeraity with a BFA in Fine Arts- visual design.15+ years experience in interior design, graphic design, and merchandising. I also work with memberships in my current role at Topgolf. I am finishing up as an officer at my daughter's high school where I have been secretary/VP for the past two years for band parent's association. Everyone pretty much knows me as the Wednesday afternoon monitor. 

Kevin Hughes

I would be honored if you accept my request to be considered for a position on the Kansas City Clay Guild's Board of Directors. I am in my twenty-sixth year of teaching in higher education, and service to others has become an integral part of who I am. My personality leads me to seek new challenges in my work and in the classroom as I challenge myself and the students that I work with each semester. I am interested in being on the KC Clay Guild's Board of Directors to serve a quality organization that I am highly interested in and to challenge myself to take a step out of the classroom and accept more responsibility in serving a region of the state that I live in. 

My skills range from organizational to hands-on construction. I am great at generating ideas but can have some issues on follow up if I get overwhelmed with to many things to do at once. I am at my best as a member of a team working towards a goal. I have basic construction skills and am good at building and painting. During my time as an educator in ceramics I have had the opportunity to build numerous shelf units, tables, etc. As an artist I have built my own crates to ship my work nationally and internationally. In education, I have served on and chaired numerous committees ranging from retention and enrollment to building coordinator. I have also served as Assistant Department Head for two years. I have developed a vast quantity of patience as an educator and have had the privilege to teach a wide variety of students and learning challenges. I have the ability to "see the forest" when others "are only able to see the trees." 

My professional research includes ceramic sculpture and wheel-thrown functional ware. I have had the opportunity to travel abroad and spend time creating my work in other countries. I have experience with a plethora of firing ranges and techniques that I utilize in my work when I feel that it brings another layer of depth to what I am expressing.

I have a wonderful sense of humor and a laugh that is identifiable and allows people who know me to find me in large crowds or spaces. I enjoy life, serving others, and seeking new challenges. As I stated, it would be an honor to be considered for a position on the Kansas City Clay Guild's Board of Directors where I could share my talents and experiences to help the KCCG continue to grow. 

Liz Scavuzzo

Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

I like the opportunity of creating events and bringing people together to interact, create and enjoy the arts. I always have. Being a part of the KC Clay Guild’s growth is an educational experience that has allowed me utilize my administrative and organizational skills in developing further awareness of what the guild offers, as well as being a board member, given me the opportunity to be a part of the positive membership and community growth.  I have been with the guild since May 2006 and a board member since, I believe, May 2008-9 and only hope to be a positive part of its continued growth.

Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member. –

Skills: I am an active ceramic artist, but I am also an administrative assistant. My administrative experiences, such as mass mailings, production of media and events and organizing membership and communications are support activities that I truly do enjoy and welcome each new opportunity to explore, design and/or organize in being successful and profitable whenever possible.

Experience: I have been a ceramic artist since 1979 and an administrative assistant with everything from large and small organizations, profit and not-for-profit. During the past, almost 30 years as an administrative support unit, I have learned a great deal regarding how to put functions and communications together, database building and maintenance, etc., but more importantly how to bring people together to accomplish whatever goal set: profit and fun!

Interests: During the past 11 years with the guild, I have become a part of the clay community and with my involvement with its growth, I just want to be a positive part of, have fun and grow creatively. 


Janet Reuss

Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

I have been working with clay in places like the guild for the last 25 years.  I have served on the board this past year as Advertising Chair and have worked as a monitor for the last four years.  The guild is a tremendous resource for the members and the community, and I feel I have the time and abilities to help the guild continue to grow and improve.

Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.

My background is in engineering and management.  I have worked as an engineer, project leader, supervisor, and trainer for General Electric and Corning.  For the last 10 years I have been at home with my children. 

I have been part of organizations like the guild in three other states and can share experiences about how these other organizations have run.

I have strong communication, organization, and computer skills.  From managing projects, to communicating with and organizing groups of people, I feel I can contribute to most any role the board needs.

This past year I have co-chaired our first and second Spring Sales, and organized the David Schuh memorial sale in addition to working on advertising.  I hope to continue to serve the guild in some capacity in the coming year.

John Devaney

1.  The KCCG is a volunteer run, not for profit ceramic studio and education center.  It is essential for the viability of KCCG that members actively participate in its management. I want to use service on the Board as one of my contributions to the Guild.  

2.  I have had the opportunity to serve on the KCCG Board for the last three years.  The first two I was Chair of the Building and Maintenance committee, coordinating the upkeep and improvement to the inside and outside of our studio building and property.  This last year I have served as the Chair of Education Committee overseeing the marketing and organization of the studio classes.  I am a "hobbyist" potter and have been a member of the Guild since 2012.  I have a background in architecture and law and would like to continue to serve in any capacity that would result in a successful KCCG.

Susan Speck

1) When I get involved with an organization I like to give my all.  I become very involved.  I serve on the Board to help make sure it runs as smoothly as possible, to promote KCCG and ceramic arts in general, AND because I love KCCG.  I have been a member since the beginning...1988.

I have been in Ceramics for over 40 years...making, selling, exhibiting, taking classes and teaching classes (K-12 and college).  I live and breathe pots and clay, run a studio in my  home and have a large collection in my home...some 360+ pieces. 

2) I have been on the Board since 2002 and have served as President, Workshop Chair and Gallery Chair.  I chair the KCCG Teabowl National and have served on KCCG committees for NCECA twice, 2002 and 2016.  I also instituted the Resident/Intern program and the 2nd Wednesday Workshops.  I am also a member of long standing in NCECA and Potters Council.

Aimee Adams

I am close to finishing my 1st year on the board, coordinating our Wednesday Workshops. I would love to continue in this role in order to educate our community by providing a sneak peek into a ceramic artist's methods, knowledge, & experiences. Workshops can provide more than knowledge, they provide community & inspiration. I pledge to seek ceramic artist's that I believe will inspire others as much as they inspire me.

Typically reserved around strangers this position has allowed me to strengthen my networking skills. I reach out in various ways to bring artists into the guild that I believe fit the interests of the guild's community. I feel I have a grasp of this through conversing with members and visitors, participating in most KC Clay Guild events, as well as sending out an online survey last year. The guild has become a 2nd home to me over the last four years and I seek to continue to make it as great an experience for everyone as it has been for me. If I am re-elected feel free to contact me with your ideas and desires concerning our Wednesday workshops.

Melynda Steward

1) Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

I enjoy spending time at the KC Clay Guild and would like to continue its success as an organization and help ensure we continue to serve the clay community

2) Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.

I have served as Treasurer on the Board since late 2009. I am a former business owner and am proficient at Quickbooks. I am a buyer as a professional and enjoy seeking out the best deals for the Guild and ensuring the organization manages its money responsibly.

Jon Trimble

My name is Jon Trimble and I'd like to thank you for considering me for a 2017 board position at the KC Clay Guild. The guild is a fantastic institution and I'd love the opportunity to support it.

1) Why am I interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

I want to help bring the arts to everyone. Art is incredibly enriching and rewarding and it is through the work of institutions, like the KC Clay Guild, that art is made open and accessible. When I saw the turnout for Raku Night, I knew that the Guild was something truly remarkable; I want to be a part of that.

2) My skills, experience, and interests and how I'd like to use them as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.

I have a BFA in Graphic Design from Utah State University and have worked as a graphic designer for 7+ years creating content for websites, video games, and the arts. I've worked with clients from Disney and Pixar to Boonville Clay Co and Eccles Community Art Center. I specialize in creating digital and print content for branding, advertising, promotion and marketing. In my design career, I've worked with many teamslarge and small and managed someand enjoy working with others. I am task oriented, dependable, and dedicated.

Graphic design is as much collaborative as it is creative and I can contribute to the guild as a board member in many capacities. Where I feel I could make the greatest positive impact is a position where I can use my knowledge of effective advertising and marketing to oversee and produce impactful and efficient promoting of the Guild and its many offerings. I would work to increase mindshare and membership through quality promotion on social media and beyond, expanding the community and reputation of the guild among residents of Kansas City and artists nationally.


Gretchen Allen-Johns

I’d like to throw my hat in the ring for the board!

 1) Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

I am interested in serving on the board because the guild is an amazing resource for our area; one where I’ve found a community, and I believe on giving back.  I belong to a volunteer organization and know well that they don’t run without volunteers.  Which is why I’m working with Josh to become a monitor.  Plus, I’m at the guild a lot anyway, and I might as well be useful.  And, I hear I might be able to get a shelf.  J

 2) Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.

In my day job, I am essentially a project manager.  I do long term planning and organization for a call center.  I am good with schedules, forward planning, and Excel.  I am organized, can work in groups or on my own, and can keep to a schedule.  I am also reliable and good at written communication. 

 I am also a member of another volunteer organization, a medieval re-enactment group.  I have held a variety of positions within this group over the last 20 years; chapter president, heads of a few committees, and was in charge of the four-state area for a term. 

 I also am an accomplished cook; I’ve run kitchens for multi-course dinners for 100+ people, and have catered a wedding.  If we have any culinary aspects to any of our activities, or would like to add them, I would be happy to run that aspect of the event. 

Chanda Baker

Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

My work life has provided me the luxury of being able to afford the necessities in my life.  For that I am truly blessed.  Thus, I feel that it is important to share my wealth, not only financially but also by giving my time to worthwhile organizations.  Over the years I have been able to contribute by participating in cancer walks, marathons and other events to raise money for numerous organizations, as well as donating money.   The KC Clay Guild provides our community with the opportunity to learn about pottery and ceramics.  With the reduction in the arts programs for public education this is a much needed resource, thus I would like to donate my time and energy in making sure the KC Clay Guild continues its valuable services.

•Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.

I always say I am a product of both my parents.   My father has an MBA and my mother is a dance choreographer.  Thus I find myself a person who has a balanced desire to create as well as be a leader/organizer.    These skills make me a good team player who can work with anyone to accomplish goals.   In addition I am an avid photographer who can take photos to utilize in promotion of the KC Clay Guild.    Over the past year I served as the KCCG Secretary and would be interested in continuing in this position.   Thank you for your consideration.

Elly Biggerstaff

I would like to continue to serve on the guild's board. I have been a member for 20 years and have served in various positions on the board for over 15 years. I've seen many changes through the years and feel my experience and history with the guild can continue to lend improvements to the guild's future. I feel like I'm skilled in communicating and working with the community and the guild members, organizing events and coming up with strategies to offer new events to members or the community.

Josh Wood

1) Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

I am very passionate about ceramic art and KCCG.  I believe in making art available to Waldo and the greater KC Metro area, and I believe that KCCG provides an excellent venue to do just that.  The Guild has provided an excellent opportunity for area artists and I want to do my part to see it continue to thrive, improve, and grow. 

2) Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.

I have been a member for 10 years and on the Board, as Vice-President for the past 3 years. I have been working with clay since 1998.

I am a Fleet Manager for a local municipality and in this roll manage employees, develop budgets, seek grants, and speak to professional groups and City Councils.  I also have served on a Professional Board called Heartland Emergency Apparatus Technicians as Vice President and Director for several years.  I believe all of these skills directly translate into helping the Guild continue to succeed.

Over the past several years I have done grant defense presentations for KCCG, helped organize shows and auction pieces for KCAC, and served on other committees, in addition to my regular duties as Vice President.  

I am dedicated to the success of the KC Clay Guild, and would be honored to be selected to serve on the Board again this year!

Mark Maurer

1) Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

After having monitored for a few years and gotten the feel for the vibe and needs of the Guild, I became a board member last year to take on a little more “big picture” responsibility.  My interest is in maintaining and improving the creative environment previous members have built. This facility and it’s governing volunteer staff are truly unique and a KC treasure to share.  Being a board member affords me the greatest opportunity to contribute my time and talent.

2) Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.

My introduction to ceramics goes back to my Rockhurst High School days as a student of Fr. Jim White.  I was reintroduce to ceramics about 4 years ago via KC Clay Guild’s Groupon effort (there’s the bait), and haven’t left.   My professional background includes 10 years as a commercial/industrial electrician and over 25 years as a licensed electrical engineer.  I have already put a good chunk of that experience to work for the Guild, and would like to continue to do so in a board member capacity.



KC Clay Guild is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. 200 West 74th Street, Kansas City, MO 64114

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