about the Center

FRONT & CENTER

Building a Future
for Craft

We serve makers, museums, academics, and the local community investing in Field Building and Creative Placekeeping.

Founded in 1996 view timeline

The Center for Craft is a national nonprofit 501c3 organization dedicated to advancing the field of craft through fostering new ideas, funding craft scholarships, and backing the next generation of makers, curators, and critics.

We envision a thriving national craft field built on a deep understanding of the history of craft, lively critical discourse, thoughtful making, and a strong next generation.

Field building

We advance the understanding of craft by encouraging and supporting research, critical dialogue, and professional development in the United States.

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.

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.

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.

Our Focus

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

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

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

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.


Field Building

our building

Creative people make amazing things when they’re together.

It’s happening here.

The Center is developing our home in Asheville, NC into an national craft innovation hub that coalesces a local and national community of diverse constituents including emerging artists, designer-makers, craft scholars, and craft collectors, as well as tourists, the general public, and entrepreneurs from various creative sectors. Whether exploring craft through technique, form, or philosophy of making, or discovering the pervasive cultural force of craft for the first time, visitors to the Center come together in a shared experience of human ingenuity.

In August 2013, a generous gift from the Windgate Foundation allowed the Center to purchase its historic 1912 facility. The Center is working diligently to maximize the gift’s impact on the field and has developed a property development plan that elevates craft by putting it in context to other creative disciplines including design, the maker movement, fine and performing arts, craft beverages, and product development/creative-sector entrepreneurship.

The property development plan is grounded in the Center’s vision to create a thriving national craft field. The Center is investing in an urban campus that puts craft at the heart of the creative sector; that embraces the history of craft while promoting leading research and lively critical discourse; that nurtures thoughtful making; and that inspires the next generation of makers, curators, and critics. The Center is building a home for the future of craft.

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.

Building Schematic

We’re building 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

  • Barbara Benisch

Vice President

  • Aaron McIntosh

Treasurer

  • Edward A. (Ed) Bresler

Secretary

  • John Delaloye

Members

Peter Alberice, Stephanie Mercer, Cathy Adelman, Nadia Arbelo, Ken Buchanan, Diane Charnov, Mike Davis, Stoney Lamar, Marthe Le Van, Dick McCracken, Sara McDonnell, Robert Milnes, Ron Porter, Rob Pulleyn, Cindi Strauss

Program Advisory Council

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

Our Staff

Stephanie Moore
Executive Director

Mike Marcus
Assistant Director

Marilyn Zapf
Assistant Director

Katie Cornell
Development Manager

Erika Kofler
Operations Manager

Lauren Gray Roquemore
Gallery Coordinator

Mellanee Goodman
Gallery Associate

Field Building