News Column

Artists rally to help clay studio damaged by June tornado

August 3, 2014

By Gayle Worland, The Wisconsin State Journal

Aug. 03--The violent storm and tornado that ripped through the Dodgeville area June 29 caused significant damage to Adamah Clay Studios of Bethel Horizons, a nonprofit art education and retreat center known for its artist workshops and summer clay camps.

Now some of Adamah's artists and other fans are stepping forward to help, with a fundraiser planned for Funk's Pub in Fitchburg on Wednesday.

Works by key local ceramics artists will be offered in a silent auction, and there will be music by the Fixed Income Band, Primitive Culture Band and eight-time MAMA award winner Sam Lyons.

The event falls on the sixth anniversary of the death of Adamah founder Don Hunt, a beloved ceramics teacher at West High School known for founding the Habitat for Humanity Souper Bowl and other philanthropic efforts.

Phil Lyons, a former student of Hunt's who now teaches ceramics at West, recalls how he helped Hunt convert an old rural barn into a summer studio for ceramics. The vast, breezy studio would become the hub of the Adamah campus, which today also includes a year-round studio building and a newly constructed, 18-bed retreat center that was nearing completion when the June tornado struck.

The storm collapsed a quarter of the summer studio, said Don's widow and Adamah consultant Kathy Hunt. The building was self-insured, meaning money had been set aside for repairs but it was not fully insured, she said.

"It hasn't been decided yet whether it's better to take the whole building down and rebuild, or to somehow shore up the foundation and fix the exterior wall and the roof," said Hunt, who said that cost estimates for either option have not been determined yet.

The roofs of the campus's year-round studio and kiln house also were damaged, but those buildings are insured, she said.

"We had a whole grove of trees that were in back of the kiln house, and that grove of trees is basically wiped out," she said. "It was more devastating than what we would have liked, but on the other hand nobody was hurt and you have to count your blessings."

Wednesday's fundraiser doesn't have a dollar goal, but any contribution would be helpful, Hunt said. The benefit "was initiated by the artists," not by Adamah Clay Studios, she said.

Its purpose is to "let people know this happened," she said. "And it's about the community of artists who've come together to make (this benefit) happen, because that's what Don was all about -- building community and helping each other and working together for a common goal."


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Source: Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI)

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