Kirk Mangus grew up on the border of Ohio in Sharon, PA. His parents taught art in the area high schools. His father, Charles Mangus, became interested in pottery and studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art.
Through his father’s encouragement Mangus went to Penland and the Cleveland Institute of Art when he was a teenager, which reinforced his interest in ceramics and art. He was accepted at the Rhode Island School of Design where he received his B.F.A. During four summers in the early 1970’s Mangus worked at the Earth Air Fire and Water Workshop, a month long workshop dedicated to wood firing in California.
After graduating RISD, he was a resident of the Clay Studio in Philadelphia for two years. Mangus received his M.F.A. at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington in 1979. He was a resident at the Archie Bray Foundation in 1980 before returning to Pennsylvania to build a large wood kiln. This was made with handmade bricks which he completed at his parents farm in 1982.
Kirk Mangus has been the Head of Ceramics at Kent State University since 1985. He has taught at Alfred University Summer School, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cranbrook Academy of Art, University of Georgia Athens Cortona,Italy Program, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Appalachian Center , Penland, Peter’s Valley Craft Center and numerous other institutions. He has lectured in China, Japan, Korea, France, Italy, Finland, Lithuania, Canada and throughout the United States. He has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 4 Ohio Arts Council Fellowships, a Pennsylvania Council of the Arts Fellowship, and a McKnight Fellowship.
Professor Mangus has exhibited his ceramics and drawings extensively nationally and internationally. His work is in the collections of museums and individuals all over the world.