Capturing and Maintaining Creativity and Innovation in the Community

Nancy Gottovi

Saturday, June 27, 2015 @ 4pm - 5pm

Nancy is the executive director of STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise, an incubator program for craft in the small town of Star, NC. She’ll talk about the role and challenges of using arts to create and diversify local economies and how a program like STARworks can benefit artists. Whether you’re working to get your small business off the ground, or an advocate for arts in the community, you’ll be engaged as Nancy shares the tips and benefits that innovative programs like hers teach, engage, and benefit small businesses, artists, and communities alike.


Nancy Gottovi

Nancy Gottovi is the Executive Director of STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise. Gottovi travels and speaks frequently and passionately about the role and challenges of using arts to create and diversify local economies. She earned her Ph.D. at UNC Chapel Hill in cultural and economic anthropology. In 2005, shortly after Gottovi became Executive Director of Central Park NC, an eight-county rural sustainable economic development organization, the organization took over an abandoned sock factory in the small town of Star, NC (pop. 800).

Dr. Gottovi began focusing on small-scale businesses related to ceramics and glass and metal arts as a not very costly means of capturing and maintaining creativity and innovation in the community. STARworks businesses and programs include glass studio equipment manufacturing, clay manufacturing, glass blowing, ceramic education, and metal arts, including residency and internship programs in glass, and beginning in 2015, a new international ceramics residency program. STARworks hosts wood firing workshops and other ceramics education programs, and its annual Fire Festival. Recent visiting artists to STARworks include Takashi Nakazato, Cristina Cordova, Pablo Soto, Che Rhodes, Greg Fidler, and others.

STARworks has been successful in not only providing a place for young rural people to engage in innovative, creative work in a poor rural community, but it also continues to attract young people from all over the United States and the world to come to the small town to work and learn. STARworks recently was recognized as one of America’s leading “Creative place-makers” by a consortium of national funders including Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and others. Under Gottovi’s direction, STARworks has been hailed as a “new strategy for an old crisis” and is rapidly becoming a model for rural arts-based economic development.

Gottovi lives in the historic Seagrove North Carolina pottery community with her long-time partner and American wood-firing potter, David Stuempfle. She and Stuempfle have traveled to study traditional ceramics in Japan, South Korea, and Europe. Both Gottovi and Stuempfle helped build the first wood kiln in Estonia that has since been the focus of the annual Kohila International Symposiums of Woodfired Ceramics in Estonia.