2012 ASAP Award winner Rafil Hughes' artwork from the Morean Arts Center for Clay

Rafil Hughes didn’t have to travel far this summer to have an out-of-this-world art experience. The 8th-grader won a Gold Key Award from the Pinellas County Art Region and earned an Alliance Summer Arts Program (ASAP) Award that allowed him to learn about and create ceramics at the finest and largest pottery in the Southeastern United States: St. Petersburg’s own Morean Arts Center for Clay.

“It’s a great experience,” Rafil tells us, “learning a wide variety of skills: how to work with clay in many forms, mastering hand building, pottery, and painting techniques.”

His latest project, which he holds in the photo to the left, shows his intense style and the level of imaginative detail he brings to each piece. This one, his teacher says, reminds her of alien life forms!

“The theme of the week was Earth, Sun and Moon,” Rafil explains. “So I let my imagination run free, as usual.”

Clay Studio Coordinator Valerie Scott Knaust admires Rafil’s energy and creative curiosity. “Rafil’s continuous quest for answer is so refreshing—he so genuinely wants to learn everything about clay and we are delighted to have him here.” The next step for Rafil, says Valerie, will be to keep him on the wheel longer so he can become a better potter. Rafil is more than ready to go: “I’m having a real blast!” he says.

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