Michael Strand ’94 ’96 has earned Ceramic Artist of the Year honors for his efforts in the field.
Strand was chosen for the award, presented by Ceramics Monthly, for taking ceramics in a new direction. He uses his artwork to engage people in an effort to promote community cohesion and social change.
His ArtStimulus blog chronicles his projects to gift cups to individuals in underserved, rural communities in Dwight, Neb., Dwight, N.D., and Red Lodge, Mont. His Misfit Cup Liberation Project started at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, N.D.
Through the project, Strand gave new, handmade cups to people in exchange for unwanted cups and the histories of the objects. The unwanted cups and their stories became an exhibit. The project has fanned out nationally and internationally, revealing themes ranging from celebration to healing and moving on.
He is expanding the project to Brazil and South Africa this year with plans to bring it to Asia and Australia in the future.
Strand gives lectures and leads workshops around the world. He also serves as head of the visual arts department at North Dakota State University.
Ceramics Monthly is the largest circulation publication in the ceramic arts field. The Ceramic Artist of the Year award includes a $1,000 cash award and a $500 purchase award. Strand was featured in the Ceramic Arts 2015 Yearbook.