If you’re a young artist trying to make your way in the world, finding the time and space to work on your art is difficult. Thanks to a grant from the Westchester Community Foundation for a fellowship program, Jose Tlaczani spent the last year the Clay Art Center in Port Chester learning and growing.


The Emily and Harold E. Valentine and Evelyn Gable Clark Scholarship Fund was set up at the Foundation in in 2005 to “afford needy artists and musicians scholarships to attend institutions of their choice in the fields of art and music.” When making his estate plans, Harold Valentine, a passionate musician, wanted to support young artists as they made their art and pursued their careers. The Fund was opened, and has been helping artists throughout Westchester ever since.


With the culmination of his residency and his exhibition on display until July 15th, Jose shares some thoughts on his experience at Clay Art Center, his personal and artistic development and how important it is to share through the arts.


Jose says, “I think everything I made has a purpose. Someone in the beginning of my residency told me that the process is important and not to throw anything away. That helped me to see how things grew from the beginning and helped me get to the body of work I created today. Coming to Clay Art Center I felt so lost and out of place, I felt like my work was still awkward. Clay Art Center has given me a place and a deep appreciation for clay. It has also helped me to rediscover how much I love to draw.”

Valentine fellows can be found in all corners of the globe. They are filmmakers, musicians, and sculptors and visual artists. Some have earned national recognition for their work, too. From the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, Valentine fellow Tara Clune was recently selected to be a Sundance Institute Ignite fellow for her work in the Institute’s “What’s Next” challenge for up-and-coming filmmakers.

Jose was guided by mentors at Clay and other professional artists. About the fellowship, Jose says, “Yes, this is a step that I’m happy I took.  But it’s kind of hard at the same time.  Since I started the fellowship I’ve been feeling more confident of myself. 

Jose Tlaczani: One happy fellow

And it’s giving me the chance to try new things.  And that’s what this body of work is about that I’m working on.  And I appreciate all of you guys.  When I’m at Clay Arts I feel like part of family.  So, thanks.”

You're welcome, Jose, and best of luck!

Jose's year at Clay Art Center helped him develop his talent and find his true self. Below, visitors Diane & Lloyd Prezant chat with Jose about his work.