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American Clown Academy

If  you looking for affordable clown training in a great location check this out!


The American Clown Academy came to life in 2012. Since then it has had a unique and honored place in the halls of Education in the Clowning Arts.

The Academy started as a partnership between two friends: Jeffrey Potts and Mike Wesley. They wanted to create the very best value and opportunity for clowns and other performers to polish their skills. The numbers say that they have succeeded.

Jeffery Potts began his entertaining career 30 years ago, entertaining kids and adults all over the Canton Ohio area. He moved on to teaching and sharing his appreciation for the arts 15 years ago. In that time he has helped many people to hone their skills and become better entertainers and clowns. His very strong connections to the clown teaching community make it possible for the Academy to continue to attract the finest instructors who wish to help others to achieve their goals of becoming the best entertainers that they can possibly be.

Mike Wesley started clowning 25 years ago, when he founded a weekend clown convention called ClownTown in Newark Ohio. The desire to create a learning environment has continued from those early ClownTown days right up to the present with the American Clown Academy. His organizational skills make sure that the Academy has all the facilities that it needs to continue its mission.

The co-directors of the Academy, Jeff Potts and Mike Wesley, met in the early years of the ClownTown experience. They formed a friendship that has continued to the present day. They had a series of conversations in 2011 where they discussed what would the perfect clown education experience look like. They knew that the best education would occur when students could meet the best instructors in the very smallest class sizes, so that skills could be passed along in a one-on-one type of situation. (Oh, and it should be affordable so that as many people could benefit as possible.)

The Academy is the result of those discussions. Here, the instructors are all the very best in their particular fields. They are given great latitude in their teaching assignments so that they are able to teach what they feel is most important, in the way that is the most beneficial. Their dedication to passing along their knowledge is a cornerstone in the Academy experience. The class sizes are kept as low as possible so that the individual learning experiences can occur. The ratio of students to teachers is approximately  3 to 1.

Another key to making the Academy experience work is the setting. The Academy happens in a small Midwestern town called Newark, in central Ohio. The facilities are a kid’s summer camp, named Camp O’Bannon. This camp has been providing a free summer camping experience to hundreds of kids a year for the past 90 years. And during one week in August, it is the home of the Academy. Due to space limitations at the camp, there will never be more than 50 students. Thus, our goal is not a greater quantity of students, but rather a better quality experience for those students.

The camp experience starts with possibilities for daily exercise. Then it moves on to a full breakfast in the dining room. Lectures fill up the rest of the morning, leading into a camp lunch for everyone. There is an opportunity every day for campers to practice their entertaining skills before an audience of their peers and instructors. This provides a means of getting feedback on what they are doing, and how to improve it. Then there is the afternoon lecture, followed by a catered dinner each day. One more lecture in the evening rounds out the day. All the time after that is open, to allow for a chance to socialize and chat with friends, and to collaborate with others.

The American Clown Academy has pioneered giving students the best individualized education at the lowest possible cost. We take our pioneering status very seriously, and we will keep striving to make the Academy experience the very best in the clowning and entertaining arts.

American Clown Academy Web Page

American Clown Academy on Facebook


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Clown Interview Careful TheClown

Today we have the great pleasure of getting to know Careful TheClown.  I first found Careful on Facebook.  He was always quick to comment on various post and to give words of encouragement on my paintings.  Careful is a night owl like myself. He always seemed to be online late at night when I would be finishing up painting for the evening and would post a quick photo of the progress for the night.  I look forward to all comments and he is always excited to see the progress and quick to make comments.

Careful TheClown is not a circus clown and in the clowning industry he is a relative newcomer.  He has however I feel established a certain relationship with his clown persona that has helped him through some difficult personal health issues.  I have followed his story for the last year and I can honestly feel that the clown is as much a part of his personality as his fingers are to his hand.

You may ask how his clown persona has helped him with his struggle through treatment for cancer.  It seems that when his spirit was crushed and the Chemo had taken all the strength out of him.  Careful would still be there with a joke to make the nurses and Dr.s’ laugh.  As you may guess laughter is the best medicine for a clown, it lifted his spirits and helped him through the difficult treatments.  As he was recovering at home he found that if he did find the strength to venture out it was dressed as Careful TheClown if only to hand out a nose or two and a sticker at the grocery store.  The body may be weak, but the mind is always thinking of a new joke to tell and the laughter he receives in return is nurturing to the sole and can only help in the healing process.

(I had a Doctor appt. today…I asked him about my nose…he was concerned about the redness…the nurses were concerned about how swollen it was…they all agreed that it would get better…I had a great time…who knew going to see the Doctor could be so much fun?)

Below are the answers to the questions I asked Careful.  I have also completed a painting of him which will be posted along with this post so look for it.

1.Who inspired you to become a clown?

A family friend told me about a clown school in the area at Adult Classes at a Technical school where I was taking Conversational Spanish. She said “That’s the school where I attended Clown classes”…my curiosity led me into it. Emmett Kelly and Red Skelton are my inspirations.

2. Where did you receive training?
I went to the Klown Kollege of Komedy Knowledge in Fairborn, Ohio.

3. How long have you been a clown?
I received my certificate in November of 2004 and clowned at the Special Wish of Dayton banquet in December, 2004…then received my first check at an event in March of 2005.

4. Are you involved with any clown organizations?
I belong to the Giggles and Grins Clown Alley and was the Boss Clown in 2010 and 2011.

5. How do you feel your clown has evolved over the years?
My clown started as a Tramp and veered towards an Auguste…and, now, I call my Clown a Misfit because sometimes he wears less makeup but always dresses outrageously and many people say I look like a Walking-Toy-Store. I am mainly a Walk-around and carry a lot of little props.

6. I have learned a little more about clowns and I know there are different types of clowns, What kind of clown are you and what do you feel is your clowns most interesting characteristic?
I am a Non-traditional, a Misfit. A Red Nose. My most interesting characteristic is that I have an answer for everything and no matter what type of balloon animal someone asks for, I always twist either an Alien Sword or Princess Wand…but, if they insist I will make a Dog…I enjoy arguing with children (light-heartedly) because “They started it !” You have to be a Kid and you have to let them win!

7.Have you ever worked in a Circus and if so which ones?
Sadly, no…maybe someday.

8. What kind of functions are you hired for example: conventions, parties…
Block parties and Birthday parties. And, Charity Events.

9. Do you have bits that are standard in the clown world or do you create your own acts?
I mainly improvise…I use my rubber chicken as a cell phone and also have a programmed robot. I tell groups that I don’t have an act and start twisting balloons to get people to crowd around me (I don’t encourage lines) and then I proceed to pull out props…twist 3 or 4 balloons, do a prop, balloons, prop, etc.

10. I see you use  props?  What kind?

A lot. And, my robot, monkey, rubber chickens, puppets, etc. all have the same name: JoJo…but they all have a different spelling. The audience catches on pretty quick that every prop animal has the same name!

11. Did you make the props yourself?

No…I find props in the oddest places: Pier 1, Dollar General, Pet stores, etc.

12. If you are in a parade do you ride anything? Bike, Unicycle, Clown car?
Segway !!!

13. Is there video we can watch of you on the web acting as a clown for us to enjoy?
Youtube…search for CarefultheClown

14. Do You have A Memorable Clown Moment – Careful TheClowns most memorable clown moment…every time I clown is memorable and exciting and fun…but, actually, there was one thing: I was working at IRS and there were about 200 of us working at the nearby base (WPAFB) shortly after 9/11…the base was on high alert and I was working nights…I was doing a clown gig and would have to rush into work one night. I called my manager to alert the gate that a clown was coming through. The gates were manned by heavily armed soldiers. I was in full make-up, costume and red nose. It was just turning dark. I pulled up to the gate and I couldn’t tell if the soldier saw my clown persona or not. He asked for my ID and looked at the photo then bent down to compare it with me. As soon as he saw me he jumped back and his rifle barrel came up and was pointed right at my red nose! He recovered immediately. “Sorry about that. They said there was a clown coming through. Is everything secure?”

I replied, “Yes, but I’m afraid I’ll have to change my pants when I get into work!” That’s a true story. After that, I tried to at least remove most of my make-up before I arrived at the gate.
15. Why the name Careful TheClown –  “Things just pop into your head,” he said. “I tell everybody that when I was little, I was always attracted to bright, shiny things, and whenever I’d go toward something to investigate, my mother would holler, ‘Careful! Careful!’ The name stuck. I’m just glad she wasn’t hollering, ‘Don’t touch that!’ Or else I’d be ‘Don’t Touch That the Clown.’  Quote from New Carlisle News by Kate Seegraves

16. What kind of presence do you have on the web, FB, web page, blog…?

Careful’s Facebook page

Careful TheClown 16 X 20 Acrylic on Canvas by PSOVART

Article about Careful in the New Carlisle News

By Kate Seegraves

Local Man Passionate For Art of Clowning

Article in The Washington post  that mentions Careful  by By ASHLEY M. HEHER

Careful Clowning for the Camera

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know a special clown.

I hope you have enjoyed this post about another wonderful clown.  Please follow his links and read more about him on his Facebook page and his Clown Blog.

Until next time. Happy Clowning!

Thanks to Careful for all his help in creating this blog.

Patty Sue O’Hair – Vicknair Clown artist to the world

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Please like this blog and share among your clown friends.  All comments are welcome!

Careful the Clown original painting has sold.

I am sad to report that in the month of May 2014 Careful the clown went to the big circus in the Sky.  He will be missed.

Patty Sue


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