Mr. Huang: Molding the Future of Bellarmine Ceramics

By: John Nguyen ’19

With the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, Mr. Jonathan Huang stepped in to fill the shoes of former ceramics instructor Ms. Diane Levinson.

Upon setting foot in the ceramics studio, Mr. Huang described his pleasure in seeing the robust art facilities that Bellarmine offered.

“The students are extremely fortunate to have this facility. I’ve taught at many different studios. You won’t see this much of an investment to art and ceramics at any other high school,” he said.

What initially attracted Mr. Huang to Bellarmine was its emphasis on social justice. He cited how going on a retreat during his college days at Biola University really opened his eyes to injustice in the world.

“I didn’t know much about the Jesuits, but when I found out about their commitment to social justice and that Fr. Greg Boyle was a Jesuit, I was sold.”

Mr. Huang has over 10 years of ceramics experience. He has taught at numerous schools and studios including Berkley Art Studio and the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View, where he taught adults as well as young kids. He still teaches at a studio called Higher Fire in San Jose and Mountain View.

A few of his initial highlights at Bellarmine included Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Justice Summit Assembly talk, the Town Hall meeting about the Bellarmine football team kneeling, and the seven guidelines for dialogue shared in the homerooms.

“What I liked about the Town Hall meeting was that there were dissenting opinions, but it was civil. I wish more adults could be like that,” he said.

Mr. Huang explained how a mastery of ceramics involves understanding multiple disciplines.

“It encompasses every discipline. Clay involves scientific topics like geology and chemistry; math is involved through the mixing of glazes. It has also been a fundamental aspect of human nature since ancient times, from ancient pottery to folklore like clay Golems in the Jewish culture. If you look in any architectural magazine, you will see a piece of pottery accompanying the beautiful architectural designs,” he said.

Mr. Huang finds inspiration for his work in everything from nature to the radio.

“I love the Jesuit belief that God is in everything. The same is with inspiration,” he said.