about the Center
We serve makers, teaching artists, researchers, organizations, and institutions by activating resources and catalyzing craft communities activating resources and catalyzing craft communities.
We increase access to craft by empowering and resourcing artists, organizations, and communities through grants, fellowships, and programs that bring people together. We believe that craft matters.
For over 25 years, the Center for Craft has been at the vanguard of the craft movement, advancing the understanding, prominence, and historical significance of craft, and identifying and cultivating the next great researchers and artists in the field. Now, the Center is building on this remarkable foundation through a realigned strategic plan, Craft Matters. Focused on activating resources, catalyzing craft communities, and amplifying craft’s impact, Craft Matters will not only shape the Center’s direction for the next five years, but will have far-ranging influence.
The Center for Craft’s focus remains on the educational value of craft, but future programs will approach the idea of scholarship more comprehensively than has been true historically, in recognition of the many paths people may take, including through craft schools, community colleges, and trade schools that reach wider populations. This broadened lens more accurately reflects the reality of craft and allows the Center more opportunities to empower and resource emergent, groundbreaking, and unconventional talent, including in historically underrepresented communities. The Center will be realigning resources and focus to support the many paths into and within craft, serving as a platform to resource, catalyze, and amplify how and why craft matters.
Our work is concentrated on the most creative and original artists and ambitious research in order to fortify the field with rigorous standards of making and intellectual inquiry.
The future of the craft field is in the hands of the next generation. We support the ideas, voices, and the professional development of emerging craft makers, curators, scholars, and critics.
We understand craft as relevant and meaningful to a broad spectrum of disciplines. We invite “cross pollination” through collaborations, discussions, and sharing across subjects.
We respect, value, and celebrate the unique attributes, characteristics and perspectives that make each person who they are. We foster open communication of diverse perspectives and bring a broad range of individuals together to enrich and support programming.
We intentionally work both lean and efficiently, expanding and contracting our resources to fit the needs of each project.
We value the importance of higher education to train both makers and researchers. We also recognize that learning happens outside of formal educational systems, including studios, galleries, and other alternative spaces.
By joining forces we can build audiences, and increase capacity. Partnerships allow us to strengthen the craft community and leverage shared resources.
We encourage and stimulate inquiry and dialogue. This allows the craft field space to dance with a concept – to clarify, examine, and document a complexity that allows for growth and deeper understanding. We work to address the scarcity of intellectual engagement with craft in higher education and museums by supporting research and scholarship.
We focus on these three areas because they are what build a future for craft.
Valuing and cultivating the voice of the next generation by providing unrestricted grants to promising undergraduate seniors and by placing internships in prominent institutions. We make a concentrated effort to invite emerging perspectives in the development, participation, and evaluation of programs.view our grants & fellowships
Recognizing the importance of craft research by providing financial support to graduate students, scholars, and faculty with an effort to expand research and publications within the United States. The broad goal is to create a supportive climate within academia for future artists, curators, and faculty to study craft history, theory, and criticism. The Center for Craft is the only organization in the United States functioning as a catalyst for scholarly research in craft.Learn more about our research
Providing leaders with an opportunity to listen and respond to the needs of the craft field through our annual Craft Think Tank. We convene to spur learning, to provoke new ideas, to collaborate, and to appreciate voices from within and outside the craft community. This strengthens our professional networks and provides opportunities to produce programs across institutions and disciplines to stimulate conversations and critical thinking.Learn about craft think tank
How craft is a particular approach to making with a strong connection to materials, skill, and process.
How craft contributes to the economic and social wellbeing of communities, connects us to ourcultural histories, and is integral to building aresilient future.
The Center for Craft will guide our strengths into expanded spheres of influence:
Craft is a particular approach to making with a strong connection to materials, skill, and process. Artists, makers, scholars, and curators continue to grow the field, embracing new definitions, technologies, and ideas while honoring craft's history and relationship to the handmade.
Craft, in all its forms, demonstrates creativity, ingenuity, and practical intelligence. It contributes to the economic and social wellbeing of communities, connects us to our cultural histories, and is integral to building a sustainable future.
Study commissioned by Handmade in America recommends a new organization to integrate craft, craft history, and craft criticism into education at the college level.
Center for Craft is established as an inter-institutional, public service center of the University of North Carolina (UNC) by the Board of Governors and General Assembly in May, 1996.
Center for Craft receives 501(c)(3) non-profit authorization on July 22, 1998.
Kellogg Center (Center for Craft’s first home) opens in Hendersonville, NC.
Center for Craft holds the first Craft Think Tank, gathering thought leaders from around the country to address needs of the craft field.
Center for Craft awards the first round of Craft Research Fund grants, which award $95,000 annually to craft researchers, museums, students, and scholars for craft-related exhibitions, publications, and projects.
Center for Craft awards the first ten Windgate Fellowships, providing $15,000 to ten undergraduate students annually.
Center for Craft supports the launch of the Journal of Modern Craft, the first peer-reviewed academic journal to provide an interdisciplinary and international forum in its subject area.
Center for Craft published Makers: A History of American Studio Craft, the first comprehensive survey of studio craft in the United States.
The Craft Research Fund expands to include Exhibition Research grants.
Center for Craft purchases historic, three-story building in downtown Asheville and consolidates efforts under the 501(c)(3) as an independent entity from the UNC system.
The Center’s gallery opens to the public, exploring contemporary processes of making.
Elissa Auther is named the first Windgate Research Curator, a collaborative position between the Museum of Arts and Design, Bard Graduate Center, and Center for Craft.
Center for Craft celebrates its 20th Anniversary.
UNC Asheville partners with the Center for Craft to launch the Center for Creative Entrepreneurship, now called Craft your Commerce.
Center for Craft launches Curatorial Fellowship initiative to support emerging curators presenting new ideas about craft in Benchspace Gallery & Workshop.
Warren Wilson College partners with the Center for Craft to launch the first Masters level program in critical and historical craft studies in the United States—a major achievement for the organization and the field of craft.
Center for Craft establishes the Stoney Lamar Craft Endowment Fund to support fellowships and internships for emerging artists and curators.
Center for Craft hosts a Grand Reopening celebration following the renovation of their facility at 67 Broadway.
Center for Craft celebrates its 25th Anniversary.
Center for Craft develops and launches renewed mission and strategic plan, Craft Matters.
The Center for Craft is catalyzing craft communities in the heart of downtown Asheville, North Carolina, through development of the national craft innovation hub – a physical space that coalesces diverse constituents including emerging artists, designer-makers, teaching artists, and craft scholars, as well as tourists, the local community and entrepreneurs from various creative sectors.
In August 2013, a generous gift from the Windgate Foundation allowed the Center to purchase our historic 1912 building to demonstrate how and why craft matters. To maximize the gift’s impact we have developed a property development plan to elevate craft and other creative disciplines.
Collaborative coworking space, lecture hall, classrooms and conference rooms to incubate and grow creative ideas, businesses, organizations and projects. Designed for and by makers.
Expanded gallery space dedicated to building a future for craft through creative placekeeping and field building.
A national craft innovation hub to connect students, makers, artists, designers, scholars, entrepreneurs, and the businesses/services that support them, for a shared experience of human ingenuity.
property development concept
Craft Innovation Hub
Redevelopment of Parking Deck