Philadelphia, PA (2019)

Clay Studio


Community-based nonprofit develops a new maker space and hub for ceramic arts and entrepreneurship


  • NMTC Amount: $9,500,000
  • Total Project Cost: $13,009,456


  • 20 FTE jobs
  • 53 construction jobs
  • 5,000 projected participation in youth arts education programs


Project Description

When The Clay Studio, a nonprofit focusing on education using ceramic arts, was founded in 1974 in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood, it was in good company with other artists and makers bringing new life to abandoned factories. By 2019, the organization served as the primary studio for over 50 artists and serves over 32,000 people annually through classes, community outreach, and exhibits. Demand for its services had exceeded its space and capacity, and 75 percent of classes had waiting lists.

As demand for The Clay Studio programs increased, so did the cost of real estate in Old City, and they could not find affordable space to meet their needs. Eventually, The Clay Studio found a vacant lot in South Kensington and built a new facility that houses the organization’s ceramic arts programming as well as retail, studio rental, and light-manufacturing prototyping space. The move to South Kensington made sense. Through its Claymobile Program, The Clay Studio was already calling the growing artist and maker community a second home.

The studio spent several years raising funds through a $6 million capital campaign. But for the subsidy provided by PIDC Community Capital through the NMTC, the $12 million project would have a large budget gap and would be unable to proceed. Reinvestment Fund provided bridge financing as the capital campaign continues, and LISC provided an additional mortgage loan.

With its new facility, the nonprofit can expand its services and spaces by 67 percent. The new prototyping space allows more entrepreneurs to access the space and equipment. Before the relocation, the artist residency and studio space served as an incubator space for several artists who have started companies in Philadelphia. The new building has space to host 12 resident artists in private studios, increasing Clay Studio’s capacity to be an artist-entrepreneur incubator. The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance estimates the new facility will generate an annual economic impact of more than $8.4 million on the local economy.


Address: 1425-43 N. American Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122

Census Tract: 42101014400

PDF Profile

Related Projects