Pinnell earns NCECA Fellow of the Council Award

Pete Pinnell
Pete Pinnell

Pinnell earns NCECA Fellow of the Council Award

calendar icon04 Apr 2024    

Lincoln, Neb.—Pete Pinnell, professor of art in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s School of Art, Art History & Design, received the 2024 NCECA Fellow of the Council Award.

The NCECA Fellow of the Council Award recognizes individuals who have made an outstanding contribution through service to the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). 

As was noted in the awards program, “Pinnell’s contributions to the ceramics field at large will be long-lasting, and NCECA has been a beneficiary of his generous spirit and belief in sharing what one learns with others.”

Pinnell served as president of NCECA from 2019-2023. The four-year commitment included one year as president-elect, two years as president and one year as past president.

“My term began in March 2019, and I became president just as COVID broke in March 2020,” Pinnell said. “I had thought, coming onto the board, that my job would consist of maintaining the status quo for a well-oiled machine that had been in existence for over 50 years. Instead, my term began in chaos, as we canceled our annual conference for the first time in NCECA’s history.”

The next two years of his term proved to be equally challenging.

“We put on our first international virtual conference in March 2021 and our first hybrid conference in 2022,” he said. “Our hybrid conference was held in person in Sacramento at the same time it was carried virtually to attendees around the world. These virtual events were a huge challenge, but it was exciting to get positive feedback from attendees all over the world, who took part even though the programming often occurred in the middle of the night for them.”

Pinnell’s term also had challenges following the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020.

“The time of reflection that followed caused many organizations to take a hard look at their practices. NCECA was no exception, and these events inspired us to work towards becoming a more equitable and inclusive organization,” Pinnell said. “At the same time we were planning virtual conferences, we recruited new board members and updated our practices. It’s this work that I’m most proud of, as NCECA became a better organization and one that more accurately reflects the U.S. and the world.”

This spring, Pinnell attended his first NCECA conference since leaving the board last year.

“It was our largest conference ever with well over 7,000 attendees,” Pinnell said. “I’d like to think that during the tumultuous time of the pandemic, we not only kept the organization going, but set it up to thrive for the next 50 years.”

Pinnell worked as a potter for 12 years before coming to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1995. In addition to his teaching, he has continued to exhibit widely with more than 120 exhibitions since 1995. His work has appeared throughout the U.S. and around the world. He has also been an active writer on ceramic art with articles in American and Australian ceramic journals and a regular column, “As far as I know…,” which appears in Clay Times magazine.