Clayworks, a nonprofit ceramics space in Baltimore.

Baltimore’s Clayworks Closes Its Doors After Thirty-Seven Years

After thirty-seven years in business, Baltimore’s nonprofit ceramics space Clayworks will close, Tim Smith of the Baltimore Sun reports. Last year the board of directors announced a plan to relocate and sell the center’s studio and gallery buildings in Mount Washington in order to pay off its debts, totaling more than $1 million, but it was unsuccessful.

“We’ve had to make the difficult decision to file Chapter Seven [bankruptcy] and shut down operations,” interim executive director Devon Powell said. “We’re sad about the totally avoidable and unnecessary loss of Baltimore’s jewel of a ceramics organization.”

A deal to sell the organization’s facilities to Itineris, a Baltimore-based nonprofit that provides job training for adults with autism, for $3.7 million fell through last week. An appeal to the public to raise funds only brought in 10 percent of its $50,000 goal. The Clayworks Community Campaign, a grassroots organization that formed after learning about the organization’s financial troubles, successfully raised $200,000, which it offered to Clayworks in exchange for representation on the board, but was turned down.

“It was not enough, nor in enough time, to stave off bankruptcy,” Powell said. “An infusion of an immediate $200,000 would have allowed us to file for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, giving us time to continue operations and restructure, to continue to seek a buyer for our [properties], to work with the steering committee, and, potentially, to survive.”

Clayworks, which has had an annual budget of about $1.2 million, will be closed until further notice, or until a court-appointed trustee can assess the situation. As of now, it is unclear when artists will be able to retrieve their artworks from its facilities.