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

Craft and Community Vitality

Communities that embrace and invest in craft enrich their culture and enhance their members' health, well-being, and resilience. Craft artists play a critical role in this process.


While there is growing interest in understanding the connection between health and the arts, little to no research is dedicated to understanding craft's impact on community health, wellness, and vitality. 

2023 Craft and Community Vitality Grants

In 2023, the Center for Craft partnered with the UNC Asheville-UNC Gillings Master of Public Health (MPH) program to explore the impact of craft on community health in Western North Carolina.

The Center for Craft launched a pilot grant program for six regional artists and art organizations to use craft to engage with their communities in Western North Carolina. Projects took place during Fall 2023.  Each selected artist was paired with a UNC Asheville-UNC Gillings Master of Public Health MPH student. 

Learn more about the artist’s projects here.

While the pilot grant is complete, the relationships are ongoing. Some craft artists will continue to work with the MPH program to measure their work's influence. The Center for Craft, Dr. Batada, and the MPH program are considering additional activities to learn about and share how craft plays a role in community vitality.

Craft & Community Health, Wellbeing, & Vitality

We are excited to share the initial outcomes of this 2023 pilot program with anyone seeking to document the value of craft in community well-being.

More resources are also available on the UNC Asheville-UNC Gillings Master of Public Health Practice & Research website.

The initial findings indicate the potential of this work to serve as a region-wide effort to refine the framework, engage other sites, and extend the reach of the measurement toolkit. 

The report illuminates the health advantages of six unique craft projects created by artists. It uncovers emerging themes such as navigating grief, sparking self-awareness and discovery, promoting healing and a sense of belonging, and spotlighting historically marginalized communities.

In addition, Dr. Batada has developed a measurement resource, “How Does Crafting Affect Health? A Resource for Understanding and Measuring the Impact of Crafting on Health” (February 2024). This resource draws on a literature review to provide users with a guide for measuring the impacts of making craft on health.

In Action
























We continue to seek additional funding to ensure the success of this project.


Meet the 2023
Craft and Community Vitality Grants Recipients

2018 Center for Craft Windgate Fellows

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To Ayumi Horie who through conversations with the Center for Craft planted the seed for the Craft Archive Fellowship, helped with grant development and generously contributed funding to make this program possible! Read more in our interview with Ayumi here.

Selection panelists

Trey Adcock ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ, Cherokee Nation; Professor, Director of American Indian & Indigenous Studies; International Studies, Executive Director of the Center for Native Health, Located in Asheville, NC

alexandria monque ravenel, founder of Noir Collective,  and Managing & Equity Director YMI Cultural Center, Located in Asheville, NC

Jamie Karolich, Craft Your Commerce Program Manager and printmaker, Located in Bakersville, NC

Field Building