Artist in Residence

In order to further support artists, Union Project created our Artist in Residence program. This residency provides the opportunity for an emerging artist to focus on their artwork and build their body of work, while taking part in a thriving ceramics community and serving the greater Pittsburgh community through teaching community arts programs and classes.

Current Artists in Residence

In October 2015, we welcomed two new Artists in Residence (AIRs) to the Union Project community. Stop in and see Mark and Claire honing their craft in our studio!

Mark Vander Heide

Mark hails from Holland, a small town on the shores of Lake Michigan. In 2009, he moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan to attend Calvin College but it wasn't until his final year that he stumbled across the ceramics studio. There, he found a vibrant and hospitable community and was immediately drawn to clay. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in sociology, Mark continued to create in Calvin's ceramic studio as a studio technician and a guest artist. In June of 2015, Mark moved to Pittsburgh to teach art at a youth summer camp for Union Project. Mark is thrilled to be an Artist in Residence at Union Project. Union Project's commitment to creativity, hospitality, and inclusion resonate deeply with his ideals for an art studio and a way of life. He's excited for the space and facilities to grow in his studio practice as a ceramist, for the opportunities to teach and take classes, and for the relationships he'll foster.

Claire Thibodeau

Claire moved to Pittsburgh after graduating from Alfred University with a BFA in Ceramics, hearing of Pittsburgh's reputation for a strong arts and ceramics community. She was thrilled to find Union Project as a place to continue her work and also immerse herself in the ceramics community. During her residency, Claire will be honing her studio practice while also participating in teaching opportunities and ceramic community events. She is looking forward to learning from and with others, so feel free to stop by and visit her! "Union Project has a wonderful energy and I am so thankful that I have already found my ceramic community. There is no better feeling than having a place to fully indulge in all of your creative ideas and be surrounded by those who understand it. Not only am I thrilled to have the time to solidify my body of work, but I am also excited to grow and learn within the Pittsburgh community. I believe that everyone has his or her own relationship with clay and that fascinates me. Whether its kids or adults, everyone has their own history that influence their approach to ceramics. Clay is a malleable material that creates a community while also providing a personal connection."

Welcome Mark and Claire!


Past residents include:

Mattie Cannon, a Pittsburgh artist and arts educator.

Ryan Myers, a Pittsburgh potter.

Erica Nickol, a Pittsburgh ceramic sculptor. To learn more about Erica and her work, visit her Facebook page or webpage.

Evan Church, an international watercolor and oil painter. Check out Evan's work at his webpage.

For inquiries and additional information about our current Artist in Residence, contact Jenna Vanden Brink at or 412-363-4550. If this residency program does not meet your needs, please contact Jenna to discuss other opportunities.