Penn State Distinguished Professor of Art Chris Staley was touched by student Taylor Watkins during his short lifetime, and is now working to raise money for a scholarship in Watkins’ memory. Staley, whose work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and European Ceramic Work Centre, Netherlands, among others, will be selling his pottery at the Lemont Art Alliance, 824 Pike Street, on Saturday, Oct. 24, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Eighty percent of proceeds will go to the Taylor Watkins Ceramic Award.
Watkins, an alumnus of the Penn State School of Visual Arts, died of cancer in 2013. A promising ceramicist, he was planning to pursue graduate studies before his life was abruptly cut short. The award will provide financial support to undergraduate students enrolled in the College of Arts and Architecture who have demonstrated outstanding talent in ceramics.
Before Watkins died, Staley flew to Florida to spend some time with him. Chris told Taylor he made a positive impact on everyone he met, and that he wanted to create an award in his name. “I will never forget the smile of gratitude on Taylor's face,” said Staley. Watkins died two weeks later.
Staley and friends have been working to raise $20,000 to establish the award. The pottery sale will supplement money raised during a crowdfunding campaign that took place in fall 2014 (https://sova.psu.edu/story/taylor-made-campaign).