Awarded to an Oregon student who shows creative and technical excellence in the field of ceramics.

High School Scholarship Program Application

The competition is open to all high school juniors and seniors living in Oregon and SW Washington and will award two $500 awards to two students who shows creative and technical excellence in the field of ceramics. It offers the highest juried candidates will receive a $500 scholarship for their entry into post-secondary education. The scholarship is awarded during a ceremony at the OPA Ceramic Showcase each spring, the all-clay show that OPA sponsors every spring at the Oregon Convention Center. The scholarship funds will be held in trust and paid directly to the college entered by the student. We recommend that students with exceptional imagination and technical skill enter this competition.

Entries may be either utilitarian or decorative objects made of clay. Only one entry per student. Application deadline is in March of each year.

Students and teachers are to physically bring scholarship entries to the Oregon Convention Center 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97232  on Wednesday, April 26th, and Thursday, April 27th, from Noon to 4 pm. Pieces need to be dropped off at the Gallery Booth.  

Important dates to Remember:

  • Application Due March 31st, 2023
  • Scholarship Awarded Saturday, April 29th

    If you, the instructor, have questions, please contact:

    OPA High School Scholarship Coordinator Meg Turner

    Clay In Education Director, Pilar Swanson

    Most commonly asked Questions ?

    1.Do I have to submit the piece I juried with or may I submit something I finished after I sent in my application?

    You must submit the exact piece that is juried.

    2. May I submit a piece that has been in the OPA Showcase before?

    You may not submit a piece that has been previously submitted to the Scholarship Program. However, you may submit a piece that has been shown the High School Gallery.

    3. Who is eligible?

    The Scholarship Program is open to High School Juniors and Seniors in Oregon and SW Washington.

    4. What percentage of my piece has to be clay?

    Each piece must be at least 75% clay.


    2023 High School Scholarship Winners


    Grant High School, 12th Grade

    Fading Coral

    This hand-built ceramic sculpture reflects the devastating transformation of coral bleaching, capturing the gradual loss of color from left to right. Crafted with the slab building technique, the sculpture features three distinct boxes, each adorned with pinched clay coral structures. The sculpture underwent a low-firing process in an electric kiln, after which I underglaze the coral formations, blending Mayco Underglazes to create a realistic finish. In addition, I added a few brush strokes of Pure Brilliance Clear Glaze in select areas. The sculpture is presented in a handcrafted Bird Eye Maple wood box, filled with white sand, creating a visual representation of the decay and loss of color in these organisms. This depiction is rooted in the scientific process of coral bleaching, also known as ocean acidification, which occurs when ocean temperatures rise as little as 2 degrees Fahrenheit, causing the coral to expel vital algae, known as zooxanthellae, resulting in the organism tissue turning white. My love for the ocean and concern about the pressing issue of climate change has always been at the core of my artistic expression. My work drives me to spark conversations and inspire action toward positive change.


    Corvallis High School, 12th Grade

    La Mezcia del Simbolismo

    Ceramics provides an outlet for relieving stress and enriching my life with creativity and art. Each of my pieces are filled with symbolism and history, which requires much research and critical thinking that serves to strengthen my skills in other parts of my education.
    This piece was created to explore my intersectional Mexican-Jewish identity. I wanted to mix powerful symbols of the two cultures into one cohesive piece to represent how these cultures have mixed within me. I used a goat skull with a traditional Jewish engraving to represent Judaism, and cempasuchil flowers to show Mexican culture. For this piece I used a variety of pinch pots and slabs which I connected with scratch and attachment method and sculpted. Using a wheel, I threw two tall cylinders, and then pushed them into the shape of a cone while adding pressure to create a horn-like texture. I used a needle tool to engrave the skull and created the flowers by sculpting each petal and then scratching and attaching each one. In the glazing process I used a combination of dipping and painting with high fire reduction glazes, and iron and rutile oxides on the flowers.

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