Ferrin Contemporary presents Paul Scott in "Our America/Whose America?". Installation for NCECA Richmond, 2024 at the Wickham House at The Valentine Museum, Richmond, VA. Image courtesy of The Valentine Museum.

Our America/Whose America?

Ferrin Contemporary at The Wickham House The Valentine Museum, Richmond, VA February 20 - April 21, 2024



Our America/Whose America? is a call and response exhibition between contemporary ceramic artists and commercially produced historic ceramic plates, figurines and objects placed in conversation with one another, installed on period furniture throughout the Wickham House at the Valentine.

Featured artists include Elizabeth Alexander, Chris Antemann, Russell Biles, Jacqueline Bishop, Judy Chartrand, Cristina Córdova, CRANK, Connor Czora, Michelle Erickson, Sergei Isupov, Steven Young Lee, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, Beth Lo, Justin Rothshank, Paul Scott, Kevin Snipes, Rae Stern, Mara Superior, Momoko Usami and Jason Walker. Historical Works include selections from Ferrin Contemporary’s collection of commercially produced ceramics.

This exhibit is organized by Ferrin Contemporary in conjunction with Coalescence, the 58th annual conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts held March 20-23, 2024 in Richmond, Virginia.

  • View the historic collection HERE
  • View The Wickham House HERE
  • View The Valentine Museum HERE
  • View the 2024 Press Release HERE


Throughout our forty-year history, we have used multi-artist survey exhibitions as a platform to explore social issues. We’ve focused on gender and feminist perspectives, broached relationship taboos, and challenged historical notions of ceramics and art.

The contemporary artists we’ve invited use their work to assert their autonomy and subjectivity by presenting intertwined cultural critiques through lenses of their own choosing, starting with race, gender, and class. Each of these categories is tentacular and touches upon myriad other ideas including nature, warfare, food and water inequity, and more.


Special Preview on February 21, 2024 from 5 – 7 pm

– Leslie Ferrin & Alex Jelleberg on-site Conference Preview with The Valentine

Coalescence, the 58th annual conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts takes place in Richmond, Virginia.


Women Working with Clay: A Shared Purpose

Mar 20, 2024 – Mar 23, 2024

Group Show with Linda Sikora

Location: The Valentine 10th and East Clay Street in historic downtown Richmond

This exhibition is organized by Dara Hartman in conjunction with Coalescence

50 Years in the Making – NCECA Richmond

Mar 20, 2024 – Mar 23, 2024

Group show with Lauren Mabry

50 Years in the Making will examine how 75 Residents since 1974 have coalesced to form the creative identity of The Clay Studio.

Opening Reception
Thursday, March 21, 2024 | 7-9pm

Location: Common House | 303 W. Broad Street, Richmond, VA


Location for All Events:

The Valentine 10th and East Clay Street in historic downtown Richmond

Wednesday, March 20, 2024 Ferrin Contemporary + Wickham House Tour – Regular Hours

– Alex Jelleberg & Isabel Twanmo on-site with docents to provide guided tours at scheduled times 
11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm

The Valentine is open regular hours during the conference. The Wickham House offers guided tours on the hour. Tours are free to the public with museum admission (free admission on Thursday, March 21!) & free for all NCECA attendees. First come first serve, limit 15 guests per tour.

Thursday, March 21, 2024 – NCECA – MEET THE ARTISTS 5 – 7 pm 

Open to the public all NCECA attendees – Alex Jelleberg  & Isabel Twanmo

OAWA Tour Graphic April 2024

Sunday, April 21, 2024 – Final Guided Tour of Our America/Whose America? | 2-3pm

Join Ferrin Contemporary’s Leslie Ferrin & Alexandra Jelleberg on-site with Valentine Museum docents to provide a final guided tour of Our America/Whose America? in the Wickham House – Open to the public.

The Richmond Stories™ section of this site, which includes an interactive history timeline, features many of the stories that bring history to life in creative, engaging and inclusive ways.

Through educational programs that engage over 14,000 students and teachers each year to community conversations, walking tours, group visits and more, the Valentine offers compelling experiences for visitors of all ages.

The Wickham House at the Valentine Museum, Richmond, VA. Image courtesy of The Valentine Museum.

The Wickham House at the Valentine Museum, Richmond, VA. Image courtesy of The Valentine Museum.

A dialogue-based guided tour of the Wickham House, a National Historic Landmark built in 1812, challenges guests to explore aspects of life in the early 19th century. The Wickham House was purchased by Mann Valentine Jr. and in 1898 became the first home of the Valentine Museum. This historic home allows us to tell the complicated story of the Wickham family, the home’s enslaved occupants, sharing spaces, the realities of urban slavery and more.



AUGUST 6 – OCTOBER 30, 2022

(Director & Founder) Ferrin Contemporary

Our America, Whose America presents a dialogue between contemporary artists and a collection of commercially produced ceramics. This collection of historical objects, collected across the span of several years by Founding Director Leslie Ferrin, is in the form of plates, souvenirs, and figurines from the early 19th through mid-20th centuries. The items were produced in England, Occupied Japan, and various factories in the USA. The exhibition title was chosen from a series of plates produced by Vernon Kiln that features illustrations of American scenes by the painter Rockwell Kent.

In response to this historical collection, contemporary works by nearly 30 participating artists will provide new context and interpretation of these profoundly powerful objects. Seen now, decades and in some cases centuries later, the narratives they deliver through image, characterization, and stereotype, whether overt and bombastic or subtle and cunning, form a collective memory that continues to impact the way people see themselves and others today.

Exhibition At Ferrin Contemporary

1315 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA


Ferrin Contemporary | Exhibition | 2022


Ferrin Contemporary | Exhibition | 2022

Exhibition and catalog production by Ferrin Contemporary staff, catalog layout by Rory Coyne with installation and artwork photography by John Polak Photography, 2022.

  • 58 Page Catalog
  •  Introduction by the Gallery
  • Featuring 23 Artists
  • Installation & Artwork Photos by John Polak Photography

Published by Ferrin Contemporary

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ILLUSTRATION AND RACE, Exhibition & Symposium at the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA


Zoom Webinar (online)
Welcome and Opening Program:
Friday, September 23, 2022
7 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Symposium Presentations and Panels:
Saturday, September 24, 2022
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


A series of compelling talks by Heather Campbell Coyle, Ph.D; Karen Fang, Ph.D; Michele Bogart, Ph.D.; Theresa Leininger-Miller, Ph.D.; and Leonard Davis, followed by conversation with the commentators.


Hidden in Plain Sight: Illustrated Ceramics and American Identity


0:00 Introduction to Symposium co-curators Stephanie Plunkett and Robyn Phillips Pendleton
23:00 Introduction
28:00 Leslie Ferrin Our America/Whose America? collection and exhibition
46:00 Jacqueline Bishop
52:00 Paul Scott
1:02:00 Elizabeth Alexander
1:11:00 Johnson
1:21:00 Judy Chartrand
1:37:00 Q&A

Hidden in plain sight, illustrations on porcelain and ceramic ware have, throughout history, transformed functional objects into message-bearers for a wide range of political and propagandistic causes, whether exchanged by heads of state or acquired for use or display in domestic settings. Leslie Ferrin of Ferrin Contemporary will discuss the imagery, drawn from popular nineteenth-century prints, that was reproduced on widely distributed ceramics portraying historical events, indigenous people, and notable explorers, inventors, and politicians through a white European lens. The panel will explore how these seemingly ordinary objects, including Rockwell collector plates, have helped to establish firmly held beliefs about American identity. Artists Elizabeth Alexander, Jacqueline Bishop, Judy Chartrand, Niki Johnson, and Paul Scott, will discuss contemporary ceramics, which reject systems of racial oppression and invite reconsideration of the sanitized version of history that was presented for generations.

Historical Perspectives on Illustration and Race

View the Entire Symposium Playlist from the Norman Rockwell Museum


00:00 START
00:13 Welcome
04:49 Opening Remarks
22:50 Panel: Hidden in Plain Sight – Illustrated Ceramics and American Identity

These concise presentations by Imprinted: Illustrating Race catalogue authors and exhibition lenders will focus on widely-circulated historical representations of race in the press and in popular culture that established a sense of American nationalism for white audiences through the subjugation of Indigenous, Black, and Asian people and cultures.

Witness to History: Collecting Black Americana
Leonard Davis, designer and collector


Ferrin Contemporary | Exhibition | 2022


Thursday, August. 11, 2022 | 5-7 pm
during Building 13 Art Walk


Special Guest Artist Paul Scott (UK)

Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022 |  5-7 pm

Closing reception of the ‘OAWA’ exhibition at Ferrin Gallery, with special guest artist Paul Scott (UK) in attendance, as well as select additional artists and the curators in the exhibition.

at Ferrin Contemporary, North Adams, MA


Historical Perspectives on Illustration and Race

Zoom Webinar (online)
Welcome and Opening Program:
Friday, September 23, 2022
7 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Symposium Presentations and Panels:
Saturday, September 24, 2022
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.