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The Northwest Clay Club held its annual art sale Nov. 20 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Nov. 21 from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. in the foyer of the Fire Arts Building.

This event is for art students to showcase their work, network and make money to purchase their art supplies for future projects. Students sell personal projects and any projects they create in their classes.

One main goal of this event is for students to network and promote their businesses for when they graduate.

“If you want to be an artist as a career, part of that is probably going to be selling, marketing and merchandising your work,” said Veronica Watkins, assistant professor of ceramics. “This is a way for them to practice doing that.”

Sam Grisby, a member of the Clay Club, said it is not uncommon to see students promoting their Instagrams or handing out business cards to buyers.

Another goal of the art sale is for students to raise money in order to fund their art supplies for future projects.

Watkins said the University doesn’t fund art supplies for art students because it’s an additional fee on top of classes. Similar circumstances would be buying a supplemental textbook for a class or paying an additional fee for software.

“It’s just like your education,” Watkins said. “The University doesn’t pay for your education; you pay for your education.”

Two art students who have participated in the art sale in the past said they don’t end up making enough money for all of their supplies, but the sale does help.

Grisby said he usually makes a few hundred dollars off of the projects he sells.

“It’s not too much for all the work we put in, but it is something to help,” Grisby said.

Grisby said that while he is losing money, it’s still fun to do. He said he spent about 400 dollars for his two classes that he’s in, but also spent a lot more on materials outside of that.

“I do a lot of my own gathering of resources,” Grisby said. “So for that I spend a lot on gas … I’m definitely losing money for sure, but it’s fun to do, and that’s all that matters.”

Ashliegh Erikson, the Clay Club president, also said she usually makes around the same amount.

“The money I make goes straight into my savings to help pay for fees or anything extra,” Erikson said.

Alongside the art sale is the Empty Cups fundraiser. Empty Cups is where artists can put mugs up for sale and half of the profits earned on each sale are split between the Bearcat Food Pantry and the Maryville Ministry Center.

Grisby said he always makes extra mugs to put onto the Empty Cups table so that he can help people out and make a difference with his art.

“I do believe we’re making a pretty good impact there,” Grisby said. “I know a lot of us put a decent amount of cups into that.”

There were a few changes made to the event this year because of COVID-19, including six feet social distancing, wearing masks, only allowing 10 people in the room at a time and not advertising the event to the Maryville community.

Watkins said the last part may have a big effect because in past years community members made up the majority of sales.

“Under normal circumstances we have a lot of community support,” Erikson said. “They usually like to come and look at what we have, do some Christmas shopping.”

Community members are still welcome to attend the event, and three forms of payment are accepted: cash, check and students can use their 919 numbers.

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