Appalachian Hills of Ohio Territory, The Muskingum County Community Foundation, Seilers’ Studio & Gallery and the Artist Colony of Zanesville, with support from the Ohio Arts Council, Mayco, and the Pioneer School of Zanesville Clay Center, present the Zanesville Prize for Contemporary Ceramics, the largest best of show prize in ceramics in the Western Hemisphere. The 2017 Zanesville Prize Best-of-Show award will be $20,000. An additional $11,000 in prizes will be awarded to other successful competitors. This event is the third of a competition for the Zanesville Prize that is now held every two years.

Jurors will select up to 100 entries into the exhibit from the images of works that will be submitted worldwide to the competition. From those finalists the jurors will choose the Zanesville Prize recipient and the other award recipients.

New for 2017, there will be four categories of entries – each will receive a Best Of ​award – ​except for the Zanesville Prize winner, which will be selected from the four category winners:

  • Functional
  • ​Sculptural
  • ​Vessel
  • ​Mixed Media

The three jurors for 2017 are Mary Jo Bole, past professor of art at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; Leslie Ferrin, director of FerrinContemporary and Project Art, North Adams, Massachusetts; and Tony Marsh, Ceramics Program Head, California State University, Long Beach, California.

Past jurors for the first two Zanesville Prize competitions:
2014 Zanesville Prize: Sherman Hall, editor of Ceramics Monthly; Brad Schweiger, Professor of Ceramics at Ohio University, and Angelica Pozo, an award-winning ceramist from Cleveland, Ohio.
2015 Zanesville Prize: Garth Johnson, Curator of Ceramics, Arizona State University Art Museum in Tempe; Julia Galloway, Professor & Director, School of Art, University of Montana in Missoula; and Doug Jeck, Associate Professor & Chair, School of Art, University of Washington in Seattle.

The idea for the Zanesville Prize came after a group from Zanesville, sponsored by MCCF, visited Paducah, Kentucky, where the city hosts an annual quilt competition. The community captured the attention of quilters with a $25,000 best of show prize more than 25 years ago. The quilt competition is the second largest tourist event in Kentucky, second only to the Kentucky Derby. It brings millions in tourism dollars to the Paducah area each year during the last week in April.

In a series of meetings following the Paducah visit and with the help of Harvey Sadow, ceramist, educator and founding director of the Paducah School of Art, the creators of the Zanesville Prize (David and Katherine Mitzel, Rob and Susan Sharrer, Michael and Kathy Seiler, Jim Warren and Linda Regula) decided to organize the event. Michael Seiler, President of the Artist Colony of Zanesville, gained the commitment of his organization to the event.

MCCF provided seed money and held meetings with artists and supporters of the arts to plan the event. During the planning process, organizers met Carolyn Dorr, the Director of Potters Council, at the Alabama Clay Conference and found out that she was a Muskingum County resident. Soon the Potters Council became a partner in the inaugural 2014 event.

The 2017 Zanesville Prize for Contemporary Ceramics show will be held at Seilers’ Studio from October 8, 2017 through November 18, 2017.

During the public viewing of the show (October 8, 2017 –November 18, 2017) all finalist entries will be offered for sale with the commissions used to support the Zanesville Prize competition in 2019.