Tom Schumacher first began working with clay in his home state of Kentucky. He attended Northern Kentucky University where he received a BFA degree in Ceramics. Continuing his formal education Tom moved from Kentucky to Providence, Rhode Island and attended the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). It was at RISD where he began his teaching career instructing beginning ceramics courses in a mixed class of RISD and Brown University students. As a Graduate Student he continued teaching at RISD where he also coordinate the “Summer Clay Workshop Program”. He received a MFA degree in Ceramics with a minor in Metalsmithing from RISD in 1977.
Tom’s first “full-time” job as an Art instructor began in the summer of 1977 when was hired by RISD to start a summer ceramics program at a branch site in Provenience, Massachusetts. He set up a ceramics program for RISD at the “Proviencetown Fine Arts Workshop Center” in a former coal storage facility building both the studio and kilns. Later that year he accepted another teaching position at the Verde Valley Campus of Yavapai College in far away Clarkdale, Arizona.
At the Verde Valley Campus, Tom has worked in many leadership positions including Campus Executive Dean, Division Assistant Dean and Dean of Instruction. From 1980 – 85, he was the Director of the Clarkdale Art Center (CAC) of Yavapai College, in historic downtown Clarkdale. He has taught classes in many subject areas including Jewelry, Design, Sculpture, Photography and Digital Photography. His ideas and vision in innovative instructional technologies served as the basis for Yavapai’s cutting edge degree in Digital Media Arts (DMA). He served as both consultant and advisor to the Sedona Logistics Committee, whose mission was the planning and operation of the ($3.5 million) Sedona for Arts and Technology Center. He actively participated in the planning and major ($6.5 million) renovation of the Verde Campus. His most recent venture was the creation of the Viticulture and Enology programs for Yavapai College and developing the concept of the Southwest Wine Center.
Tom has been both the Coordinator and Lead faculty for Art on the Verde Valley Campus. His current duties include full-time teaching shared between Ceramics and Photography and never enough time to pursue his true love, working with clay. Tom’s Raku platters have earned the honors of “First Place” and “Best of Show” and his ceramic works have been exhibited nationwide.
Tom is also an active volunteer in the community serving as a Board member and invitational coordinator for the “Cottonwood Clippers” swim team. He has been a member of the Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization (VVREO) the former President of the Cottonwood Economic Development Council (CEDC) and is the President of the Verde Valley Wine Consortium (VVWC).