Cochise College Pit Fire Art Event

Douglas, AZ
Event Start
5:00 PM on Oct 9, 2014
Event End
9:00 PM on Oct 9, 2014

8th Annual Pit Fire | Douglas Campus Art Department


Are you curious about the Cochise College Pit Fire? The 8th annual Cochise College Pit Fire Festival- produced by the Douglas campus Art Department- is inviting the public to discover a myriad of ceramics, sounds, tastes, and visual and performing artists from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Thursday, October 9th.


Alongside a large scale pit firing of over 1,000 ceramic works, the college transforms the ceramics studio and the surrounding area into a celebration of creative collaboration with local sounds, flavors, and talented performers united to form a beautiful scene of culture and diversity. This event is committed to participation that sparks the creative genius, and ignites the array of artistic talents in our community.

Do you want to participate in the ceramic pit fire? Center for Life Long Learning is offering a special class spanning four Saturdays where you will immerse yourself in designing and building your own piece of pottery or clay sculpture. The final work will be included in this year’s pit fire. For more information and enrollment please contact Sharon Gilman at 520-515-5382.

The Art Department is also signing up volunteers to help with stage production, security, pit stacking, and clean up. “This unique pit fire event will be a dazzling public spectacle,” said Tate Rich, Cochise College Ceramics Department instructor. “As we commemorate the best of education, we will be enriched by the passions of our community.”


While nurturing all types of visual and performing arts the Cochise College Art Department will celebrate the largest pit fire event held in Southern Arizona. This event draws participants from New Mexico, Mexico, northern Arizona, and California – just to name a few. Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration, and we are committed to a participatory ethic. Cochise College’s mission is to provide accessible educational opportunities that are responsive to a diverse population and lead to constructive citizenship, meaningful careers and lifelong learning. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. The evening will be full of non-stop movement and camaraderie that will ripple out into the community. 


The day of the event, artists will line a 200 foot trench with their ceramic artworks on the north side of the Douglas campus. Later in the evening, Flam Chen pyrotechnic theatre troupe will ignite the ceremonial pit fire as part of their performance. The following morning, all of the signature ceramic works will be cleaned and exhibited in a public gallery show in Bisbee as an extension of the educational aspect of pit firing.


Be sure to arrive early to have plenty of time to participate in booth activities, browse the artwork in our silent auction, and dance to the sounds of lively performances. There will be 3 Raku kilns producing glowing red pots that will be scorched in water, and the finished works will be displayed throughout the night. 


This year participants can become a “Friend” of the Cochise College Art Department with a donation of $10. With this donation, you will receive a handmade bowl made by Emi DePriest. Proceeds from the bowl sales will benefit the Cochise College Foundation Art Fund’s programs for future scholarships, materials, equipment, and workshops. Each bowl will be filled with complimentary soup made by a talented team of Cochise College culinary art students.


Ceramic pit firing is the oldest traditional method of firing clay wares dating back to the Mesopotamian era. Cochise County’s ancient roots can be traced through pottery shards found in archaeological digs surrounding the Douglas campus. As scores of participants converge for the Douglas campus Pit Fire, the ancient dialogue of firing pots in the ground will once again engage our ties to the history of our ancestors.

The Cochise College Pit Fire started in 2005 with collaboration between Cochise College instructors Tate Rich, Mike Garino, and potters invited to the college from a pueblo in Mexico called Mata Ortiz. These skilled artisans presented their daily practices and shared their pit firing methods with the Cochise community. Over the span of the next 6 years, the pit fire event evolved into a large-scale festival. Each year this communal pit fire rejuvenates ties from previous years while bonding individuals through a commitment in creativity. 


Everyone involved agrees that the hard work surrounding the event is a gratifying process- a yearlong journey that culminates in the building of an artistic community centered on clay. “We believe in creating a platform for transformation, whether in the individual or society,” said Mr. Rich. “And it occurs through collaboration, commitment, and deeply personal participation.”

Do you want to learn more about the Cochise College Ceramics Department? Stay up to date with the latest information, and “Like” our Cochise College Pit Fire Facebook Fan Page. 


We’ll see you at the Cochise College Ceramics Department at 4190 West Highway 80, Douglas, AZ 85607. The event is free to the public and runs from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 9th. Do you have questions, or want to participate? Call 520-417-4025.


Anyone needing an accommodation in order to attend should contact the Disability Services Office, 520-515-5337 or 520-417-4023, at least 72 hours in advance.



Event Start
5:00 PM on Thursday, October 9, 2014
Event End
9:00 PM on Thursday, October 9, 2014
4190 West Highway 80, Douglas, AZ

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