On Sunday, June 23rd during a reception to show appreciation for a diverse group of volunteers, center director Dwayne Hess was kind enough to offer this writer a personal guided tour of Clay Pots, a community center located at 1635 West Pratt Street in southwest Baltimore.
Founded in 2002, Clay Pots fills what was once an old corner store and a neighboring rowhouse. There is a large gathering space, kitchen, classrooms, computer lab, and even an art gallery. The third floor, which has not yet been rehabbed, will provide even additional classroom and meeting space. Although it is a wonderful old building, the real magic of Clay Pots is in the energy and spirt of the organization’s many volunteers, who represent a real cross-section of Baltimore in age, race, and sexual orientation.
Clay Pots is a safe space that provides a place to grow not just for residents of the Hollins Market area neighborhood, but is welcoming to anyone regardless of age, income, or residence. Clay Pots offers GED classes, ESOL classes (English for speakers of other languages), wellness workshops, job coaching and support, and recovery support groups. It’s also just a nice place to relax.
Three days a week Clay Pots becomes a community coffeehouse, with free coffee, tea, free wi-fi, and a chance to meet people, read, use the computers, or just decompress. Community coffeehouse hours are Thursday, 7:30 to 10 pm; Friday, 9 am to noon; and Saturday 9 am to noon.
Clay Pots is a nonprofit 501c3 and will be hosting its “White Napkin Affair” fundraiser on Saturday, September 28th from 6 to 10 pm. To learn more about Clay Pots visit Claypotsbaltimore.org, find them on Facebook, or call 410-233-1133. With all that’s going on in the world today, everyone can benefit from a safe place to grow. Clay Pots is that place
- Rodney is originally from Hagerstown, Maryland and for many years has lived in Baltimore. In April 2017, Rodney was sworn in for his 10th year as the President of the ShipMates Club of Baltimore. He has been involved in the leather community for many years, but often denies that he sold Jell-O shots at The Last Supper. He has been writing THE LEATHER LINE for the BALTIMORE OUTLOUD newspaper (Baltimoreoutloud.com.) for over fourteen years. He has produced the Mr. & Ms. Baltimore Eagle Contest and the Maryland LeatherSIR/Leatherboy Contest. In 2001 he was proud to serve as Maryland Mr. Drummer 2001. Rodney also does stand-up comedy and in 2013 was thrilled to perform at Philadelphia Leather Pride Night. He has been nominated multiple times for a Pantheon of Leather Award, was selected Leather Man of the Year in 2013 by COMMAND M.C. and by the Baltimore Leather Association of the Deaf in 2006. The 11th annual 12 Days of Christmas benefit show was dedicated to Rodney and his partner Sir Steve. He has been twice selected as ShipMate of the Year. He has judged Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2015, Atlantic States LeatherSIR / Leatherboy and recently judged Mr. Eagle NYC 2018. He is delighted to be able to bring news of his beloved leather community to his readers every issue.