Center for Craft 25th anniversary logo in red
Center for Craft 25th anniversary logo in red

about the Center

Craft
Matters

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.

Center for Craft evolves strategic direction to explore how and why 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.

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.

READ THE STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK

Field building

Founded in 1996 view timeline

The Center for Craft is a national nonprofit 501c3 organization dedicated to resourcing, catalyzing, and amplifying how and why craft matters.

We envision a culture where communities celebrate and embrace the centrality of craft in everyday life.

Field building

We resource, catalyze, and amplify how and why craft matters.

Field building

Our Values

Best Practice

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.

Emerging Voices

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.

Cross-Disciplinary

We understand craft as relevant and meaningful to a broad spectrum of disciplines. We invite “cross pollination” through collaborations, discussions, and sharing across subjects.

Diversity

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.

Efficiency

We intentionally work both lean and efficiently, expanding and contracting our resources to fit the needs of each project.

Learning

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.

Collaboration

By joining forces we can build audiences, and increase capacity. Partnerships allow us to strengthen the craft community and leverage shared resources.

Critical Thinking

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.

Our Focus

We focus on these three areas because they are what build a future for craft.

Seven young people posing together.

Next Generation

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

Craft Research

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
Panel of six people on a stage with one woman holding a microphone and speaking.

New Ideas

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

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Our Focus

We recognize the vital role that the Center for Craft plays in the national conversation about craft—bridging two major ideas:

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:

Diverse and interdisciplinary ideas about craft's future

Healthy craft communities demonstrated by inclusion and resilience

Promoting how and why craft matters

Field Building

What is Craft?

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.

Our History

1994 – 1995

Mentorship program created to give emerging craft curators a platform to explore and test new ideas about craft.

1996

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.

1998

Center for Craft receives 501(c)(3) non-profit authorization on July 22, 1998.

2001

Kellogg Center (Center for Craft’s first home) opens in Hendersonville, NC.

2002

Center for Craft holds the first Craft Think Tank, gathering thought leaders from around the country to address needs of the craft field.

2005

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.

2006

Center for Craft awards the first ten Windgate Fellowships, providing $15,000 to ten undergraduate students annually.

2008

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.

2010

Center for Craft published Makers: A History of American Studio Craft, the first comprehensive survey of studio craft in the United States.

2012

The Craft Research Fund expands to include Exhibition Research grants.

2013

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.

2014

The Center’s gallery opens to the public, exploring contemporary processes of making.

2015

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.

2016

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.

2017

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.

2018

Center for Craft establishes the Stoney Lamar Craft Endowment Fund to support fellowships and internships for emerging artists and curators.


2019

Center for Craft hosts a Grand Reopening celebration following the renovation of their facility at 67 Broadway.

2021

Center for Craft celebrates its 25th Anniversary.

2022

Center for Craft develops and launches renewed mission and strategic plan, Craft Matters.

Field Building

our building

Creative people make amazing things when they’re together.

It’s happening here.

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.

National Craft Innovation Hub mezzanine wayfinding graphicNational Craft Innovation Hub second floor wayfinding graphicNational Craft Innovation Hub gallery wayfinding graphicNational Craft Innovation Hub front door wayfinding graphic

Public Galleries

National Craft
Innovation Hub

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.

Renovation gallery

We’re reopening our new National Craft Innovation Hub on November 16!

Renovation progress continues on–site at our historic building at 67 Broadway St in downtown Asheville, NC. Sign up below to receive our e-Newsletter with updates on the renovation, grand reopening events, and upcoming exhibitions.

Building Schematic

A home for the future of craft.

the vision

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

Phase 1

Craft Innovation Hub

Phase 2

Craft Makerspace

Phase 3

Redevelopment of Parking Deck

Center for Craft Building Schematic

Board & Staff

Board of Directors

President

  • Doug Beckstett

President-Elect

  • Bernie Herman

Treasurer

  • Libba Evans

Secretary

  • SHENEQUA

Members

Steve Aceto, Peter Alberice, Diane Charnov, Margi Conrads, Libba Evans, Jennifer Calvert Hall, Ray Hemachandra, Cheri Hoffman, Stoney Lamar, Diana N'Diaye, Julie O'Keefe, Meaghan Roddy, Cindi Strauss, Tim Tate, Laura Way, David Worley, Emily Zaiden

Program Advisory Council

Elissa Auther, Helen Kearney, Libby O'Bryan, Cindi Strauss, Jenni Sorkin, Namita Gupta Wiggers

Our Staff

Stephanie Moore

Executive Director

Erika Kofler

Director of Operations

Marilyn Zapf

Director of Programs and Curator

Mellanee Goodman

Grant Program Manager

Olivia Hutto

Development Manager

Madison Tenney

Communications Coordinator

Lisette Gallaher

Executive Associate

Jena Gilbert-Merrill

Grants Writer

Patti Behzad

Visitor Services Coordinator

David Shurbutt

Visitor Services Associate

Rebecca Foffanof

Visitor Services Associate

Lex Turnbull

Cowork Community Coordinator

Stephanie Moore
Executive Director

Marilyn Zapf
Assistant Director

Katie Cornell
Development Manager

Erika Kofler
Operations Manager

Lauren Gray Roquemore
Gallery Coordinator

Mellanee Goodman
Gallery Associate

Field Building