The closing of a ceramic dynasty

I got word last week that the Ceramics programme at Central Tech High School in Toronto is closing after over a 50+ year history as one of the leading spawning grounds for potters in this province. We can all thank Dug Ford for the abolition of art, music and libraries in this province. He is our wannabe Donald Trump who is the Conservative leader of our province.
Central Tech had teaching by Robin Hopper, Judi Dyelle, Roger Kerslake and countless other big names. Students include Tim de Rose, Kayo O Young and a long list of gooduns.
It's easy to sit here and say so what can I do? Well, you can protest. I don't normally use my blog as a political statement but this dude has put drinking cheap beer ahead of most of what I believe in- art, music, and books. Trouble is the numb skulls that drink cheap beer don't  go to libraries and art galleries.
They do go to music concerts but I doubt it is anywhere where words are part of the program.
Maybe that's not fair. I'm pissed and I'm taking shots.
I am sporting this badge in a very Conservative town. Maybe one person will change- dunno!!
Who needs libraries, anyway?

Stop Ford

Fickle finger of fate

Comments

smartcat said…
It always get me when bosses urge their employees to think out side the box, when the art programs that are the training spaces for outside thinking are the first to be squashed!
AAARRRGGGHHH!!!
Anonymous said…
Not only is the ceramics program gone, but an adult art program that is over 90 years old was also cancelled, and if you check out your Canadian art history, you'll find out how many famous Canadian artists got their art education at Central Tech.
Anonymous said…
There was a golden age of ceramics education at Central Technical School in Toronto, but for the past decade or more the level of ceramic education at Central Tech has been sub-standard at best.
Anonymous said…
Don't forget Bobs Cogill Haworth she taught ceramics at Central Tech from 1929 to 1963, and she studied ceramics at the Royal College of Art in London. At one time Central Technical School rivalled the Ontario College of Art in art education.
Unknown said…
Wow, Anonymous, thanks for that kick in the teeth start my day. As the main ceramics teacher at Tech for r he last 12 years, that's hard to hear. Yes things have changed. The adult art program has deteriorated from a three-year scaffolded program which included hand building, throwing, and glaze technology to a one-semester drop-in program. In an 18-week program, with 7.5 hours per week instruction, I'd love to see what you could do with students of all levels of experience in this scenario. I was educated by Walter Ostrom, among others, at NSCAD, so my instruction, while I'm a stickler for the technical, is more conceptual. I get why the work being produced might not meet the standards of the Leech-style Potters of Central Tech's past. That's ok.
I do want to tell you, Tony, that Doug Ford isn't the one behind this, though his class-average increase hasn't helped. The story here is about declining enrolment due to a bad reputation. When I started here in 2007, there were fourteen teachers in the art department. Now there are two. TWO. The high school program had three grade nine , two gr 10, one gr eleven and one gr twelve classes plus a one-semester portfolio program. We are now down to one grade nine class and one combined 10-11-12 class. If the students aren't here, it doesn't matter how great your teaching staff or program or facilities are... The historic Art Centre at CTS is in real jeopardy. It has been heartbreaking to be here and work so hard to keep up with what Robin Hopper called "administrivia" - the reason, he tells me, that he left the school system to teach elsewhere. It's a tough go working within the tdsb.
I would just say, Anonymous, I don't know if you are a former student at the school or an observer or what, but I think if you're going to critique, attach your name to your comment. And be mindful of how powerful (and devastating) your words - especially online - can be. For a teacher to hear that their program is considered sub-par after over a decade of tireless effort to keep it afloat, well, you can imagine, is pretty shitty.
Thanks for the post, Tony! The ceramics studio isn't going anywhere, the department will still continue to operate - differently of course, under Continuing Education. Stay tuned...
Jen Leis said…
Aaaaaand then my comment showed up as "Unknown" even though my selection was "google account"!!! Grrrr technology!!

That comment above is from me, Jen Leis!
Anonymous said…
Restructuring an institution like and art department can be painful, especially while the administration has to clear out the dead wood.
Anonymous said…
There are three community colleges in Toronto: Centennial College, George Brown College and Seneca College that all offer a variety of arts programming, and their facilities can't even compare to the Art Centre at Central Technical School. But what are great facilities when you don't have great teachers in those studios?
Anonymous said…
Of course the Art Centre at Central Tech has gained a bad reputation over the past few years, because it became a nest of lazy and useless teachers, resulting in dropping enrollment as students and their families chose not to attend.
Anonymous said…
I have mixed feelings about the 3 years that I spent at the Art Centre, 3 of the teachers were respectful of their students and had welcoming classrooms, 4 other teachers were just nasty and abusive.
Anonymous said…
So sad that the end is near, a rich history in ceramic and art education is over, but in recent times it just hasn't lived up to its potential.
Anonymous said…
At one time the Art Centre at Central Tech had a great reputation, graduates were given advanced standing to upper years of study at art colleges like OCAD, now days graduates are told to apply to foundation studies at colleges to get up to an acceptable level to apply to programs of their choice. Sad, just sad, the current state of art education at Central Tech.
Anonymous said…
The Toronto District School Board and Central Technical School administration have certainly dropped the ball in their failure to provide excellence in art education, shame on them!
Anonymous said…
It's all part of the educational pyramid scheme.
Why prepare students for jobs when graduating from high school, when you can get them into college and university for a BA, get no job and tell them they need a MA, still no job so they better get a Phd.
Anonymous said…
Toronto students could use a lesson from their French counterparts, when French students protest, the government always listens to them. So Central Tech students take on Doug Ford and the Ontario government, the Ministry of Education, the Toronto District School Board, and the school administration at Central Technical School and get your art programming back!
Anonymous said…
Anything 4 sale?
If they are closing the ceramics studio at Central Tech, is any of the studio equipment like wheels and kilns for sale. I'm sure interested in buying some used equipment.
Anonymous said…
The Toronto District School Board like all slum landlords operate rundown and deteriorating schools, these facilities are disgusting, go into the Art Centre at Central Tech, and you'd think that you were in a third world country school.
Anonymous said…
Sounds like a renoviction, let the place go to rot, and empty it out, then try and find a buyer.
Anonymous said…
Isn't it a heritage building?
Don't they have to maintain it?
Anonymous said…
Well we now know why Doug Ford and his finance minister crony is cutting funding for education and health care, they have to find money for the millions and possible billion dollars it will cost Ontario taxpayers to cancel a contract with the Beer Store, and get beer into corner stores. What moron thinks this is a good idea, and a good use of public money?
Anonymous said…
Typical conservative party, they don't understand the creative mind and the arts, so they try to stamp it out. Not realizing how important it is in the economy, how many people are employed in arts related jobs. These people are so short sighted, and are not investing in the future.
Anonymous said…
Toronto has Rosedale Heights School of the Arts and Etobicoke School of the Arts, interesting how an arts education is only available to upper/middle class white rich and privileged people. When I went to the Art Centre we didn't even have heat in the winter, we wore our coats, hats and gloves to class. And then when it rained, buckets and bowls all around the classrooms to catch the downpour of drips. And don't get me started on the washrooms, most gas stations have better and cleaner washrooms that the one's the students got to use at the Art Centre at Central Tech.
Anonymous said…
Central Tech art programs have been on life support for almost 40 years now, due to budget cuts and reduced funding, and mismanagement by the Toronto School Board and especially the administration at Central Tech. No wonder parts of the program like ceramics and the adult art program have finally been cancelled.
Anonymous said…
When is the last time they had any great artist/teachers at Central Technical School in Toronto? It has been ages, the late 60's and early 70's.
Anonymous said…
Real art education?

It was announced that the art education at Central Tech will be handed over to TDSB continuing education department. Is that real arts education or just recreation and leisure? Continuind ed, better known as old white woman art school classes.
Anonymous said…
Art students out, old paperwork in!
Some of the art studios at Central Tech are being used to hold file cabinets of old memo and other bits of paperwork waiting for the paper shredder, or what the TDSB and Central Tech admin are calling the TDSB's new archive. What a great use of art studios, couldn't they just rent a storage unit to store their old junk in?
Anonymous said…
Regarding the adult art program, its cancellation is simply age discrimination. Passing adults students off to the fluff offered through continuing ed is just discrimination by not offering adults access to real art education. Shame on you TDSB and Central Tech admin.
Anonymous said…
The ceramics program was doomed about 3 years ago when they retired their full-time ceramics technician, and allowed under-qualified part-timers from the continuing ed dept. to take over for the night school classes. There is just bad management at this school.
Anonymous said…
How is the protest going Mr. Clennell?

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2304932081/

Anonymous said…
You are never too old to learn, the TDSB and central tech must provide art education excellence to mature students, and reinstate the adult art program.
Anonymous said…
Arts education should be a right, not just an option for the privilaged few, fill the art studios at Central Tech with teachers, and not as a dumping ground for old storage items.
Anonymous said…
End the discriminatory practices of the Toronto District School Board, the school administration and teachers at Central Technical School, and bring back the 3 year adult art program, access to a good art education and being treated respectfully no matter what your age is as a student is a Human Rights issue.
Anonymous said…
We were treated like shit at Central Tech's Art Centre.
Anonymous said…
Build a wall around Central Technical School's art building and make it an adults only art school.
Anonymous said…
Age should not be a barrier to learning and getting an arts education, stop the treatment of mature students as second class citizens by the powers that be at the TDSB, school administration and certain teachers at Central Technical School. Restore funding to the Adult Art Program.
Anonymous said…
Cutting and ending of an art program based on the age of the participants is simply just wrong, it is simply discrimination. I wouldn't bother with a letter writing campaign and begging the school board, I would see a Human Rights lawyer, since this is a human rights issue.
Anonymous said…
Help us save the art classes at Central Tech in Toronto.
Unknown said…
Thanks for sharing, nice post! Post really provice useful information!


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Anonymous said…
Artists of the world unite and save Central Tech and its ceramics history!
Anonymous said…
The ceramics program is not the only thing under threat, they are planning on getting rid of the sculpture technician too. And for most of the past decade there has been a revolving door of teachers who knew nothing about sculpture at Central Tech. What does that tell you about the school's commitment to its arts program.
Anonymous said…
So sad to see the slow death of an iconic art institution, just goes to show you what mismanagement of the art dept. at Central Tech has caused.
Anonymous said…
If it wasn't for Adam Brockie the sculpture technician, the sculpture program at Central Tech would have ended almost a decade ago, after a string of useless teachers were assigned to take over teaching the subject. No thought given to what is best for the students, total mismanagement of an art education by school administration at Central Tech.
Anonymous said…
"Good teachers turn out excellent students", there you have the definitive reason why the ceramics program died at Central Tech.
Anonymous said…
Ode to my ceramics teacher at CTS.

She sat on her duff,
and made her own stuff.
She never walked around the classroom,
when you asked her a question she might as well be riding a broom.
If you had a problem or your project had a hitch,
if you needed her help, her teaching attitude was like a bumble bee with an itch.
Anonymous said…
LOL so so true!
Anonymous said…
The council has spoken.
You have been voted off the island.
Anonymous said…
It's about time the art building at Central Technical School was given its own Board to govern operations of the arts program, since it is obvious that the school administration is unwilling or incapable of properly running it. Seems they have finally run it into the ground.
Anonymous said…
The teachers there were really lazy, they would treat you like shit so you would drop their classes, so they had really small classes and less work to do.

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