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Holly Hanessian

Published August 10, 2015

Department of Art                                                                   Curriculum Vitae


Social Media


I have taught, lectured and exhibited projects and sculptural artworks internationally and extensively in the United States. My record of achievement includes serving in a leadership role as President of the National Council on the Ceramics and Education. I am a member of the International Academy of Ceramics. Additionally, I have written reviews on exhibitions, essays on culture and technology at the intersection of Contemporary art, craft and design and am a member of the Socially Engaged Craft Collective, and


  • Post-Graduate Studies Alfred University, Alfred, NY, 1996
  • MFA. University of Georgia, Athens, GA, Ceramic Sculpture, Mixed Media, 1989
  • BA. University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, Ceramics, 1981

Research & Teaching Areas of Interests & Expertise

I teach primarily in the ceramics studio art program and Graduate and BFA courses. Her current work is based in social practice projects, including a Hurricane Emergency Art Kit that is designed to address both the physical and mental health of hurricane victims and provide items such as a mini water filter, books and small ceramic art pieces. Her current projects include working with at-risk communities to gain access to clean water, reduce reliance on single-use plastic water bottles, and to help with hurricane disaster relief through the RIDER Center on campus.

Select Scholarly & Creative Works (Top 5)

All of my work has been shown in museums and other places of interest, been highlighted at conferences, cited in books, and in articles.

My first social practice project, Touch in Real Time project explored the power of touch at the crossroads of performance, clay and neuroscience. Between 2012-2015, I crossed the country and held hands with people or asked others to hold hands. Over 2,000 pieces were collaboratively made. As we held hands, we swapped stories, sometimes the bonding hormone oxytocin was released into our bodies. The clay handshakes were fired and became an artifact of the moment that later became a series of art exhibitions.
The next project, New Histories: The Gadsden Farm Project explored the agricultural stories of 12 people from Gadsden County. I worked with a team from the State of Florida Archives, we were able to build relationships with over a dozen farmers, including first generation immigrants, fourth generation shade tobacco farmers, livestock farmers, organic vegetable growers, and an elder whose family owns large acreages of longleaf pines. The installation includes a custom designed dinner table with embedded speakers that play excerpts from conversations, as well as a cross section of a greenhouse with an adobe floor that houses video monitors playing recordings of farmer interviews. The archive of the project is a series of photographs, audio interviews, video recordings, and hand-made ceramic plates, and represents the living history of Gadsden County agriculture and the relationships forged between all of the collaborative partners.

My current research expands from the initial Hurricane Emergency Art Kit, that links plastic bottled water to increased hurricanes and global warming. It has both functional parts (a water filtration system), along with a book, lovely ceramic objects to calm and give pleasure while waiting out the storm. It is intended to evoke scarcity while serving as a soothing and functional moment during a hurricane and is part of an ongoing social practice project for Floridians.

Notable Accomplishments

  • The Ceramic Reader, edited by Kevin Petrie and Andrew Livingstone, Bloomsbury Press, London, England 2015 “The Digital Future: Re-imagining Ceramic Education in the 21st Century (In press)
  • Tainan University of the Arts, Tainan, Taiwan, 2010
  • Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute, Jingdezhen, China, 2009
  • Ningbo Museum of Art, Ningbo, China, 2008
  • Yixing Museum, Yixing, China, 2005
  • Curating:
    • Shared Journey’s; American Art in China, Shanghai, China, Jingdezhen, China 2008
    • NCECA 2008 Invitational Exhibition, “VOICES”, The Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh, PA 2008
    • NCECA 2006 Invitational, The New Utilitarian: Examining our Place on the Motherboard of Ceramics, The Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR, 2006