Cat Viera Akerman
Cat Viera grew up along the New England coast, exploring the dramatic changes in terrain and seasons. With generations of a family deeply rooted in artesian water well drilling, she developed an interest in rock formation and soil types. Her first job was in a coffee shop, fostering a love for listening to all the human stories pour themselves out over ceramic coffee mugs. After high school, she studied floriculture, became an avid gardener, and taught youth art classes at community centers. Later, she moved to Jacksonville, NC, working as a professional tattoo artist for 13 years. Running private studios allowed her to create a culture of safe space for clients to freely express their stories through her art. She found joy in plein air painting and volunteering at the Jacksonville-Onslow Council for the Arts. Community service inspired her to become a yoga teacher, assisting others through exploring shifts of comfort and discomfort. After observing a wheel-throwing demonstration during a military healing arts symposium, she decided to take a ceramics class. Viera now holds an Associate of Arts as well as an Associate of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from Coastal Carolina Community College, Jacksonville, NC. In 2022, she graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts concentrating in Ceramics and a Minor in Psychology. She has received numerous awards for her art and completed public art commissions from the Arts Council of Jacksonville-Onslow for the City of Jacksonville, NC, and Albert Ellis Airport. For numerous years, Viera directed the Art Institute for Sturgeon City while serving as an officer on the Board of Directors for the Arts Council of Jacksonville-Onslow. She was secretary of the Student Government Association at Coastal Carolina Community College, as well as the Ceramics Guild for East Carolina University. In 2021, she completed a five-week internship through the North Carolina Pottery Center at Crystal King Pottery. While exploring area potteries, she became fascinated with learning more about production pottery, combining both traditional and contemporary techniques, as well as utilizing a wide variety of firing methods. After graduating in 2022, Viera returned to Seagrove as the artist in residence at the NC Pottery Center, while working in communications at Starworks and teaching area yoga classes. July 2023, she accepted the job of Educational Programs Manager at NCPC and moved to Seagrove to pursue her passion for the craft.