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

News Article

Front & center

December 21, 2021

Celebrating 25 Years of Investing in Craft Artists

To mark our 25th Anniversary, the Center for Craft awarded twenty Windgate-Lamar Fellows with an additional unrestricted $10,000 to encourage continued practice in craft, in addition to participation in career consultation sessions and networking opportunities.

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In celebration of the Center for Craft’s 25th Anniversary, we are reflecting on the impact of the Windgate-Lamar Fellowship, a program that recognizes and invests in emerging craft artists at a critical moment when they graduate from college. Now in its sixteenth year, the Center for Craft’s Windgate-Lamar Fellowship marks $2.4 million awarded to 160 emerging craft artists nationwide.

As an organization that has supported makers for 25 years, we have witnessed the many ways recipients navigate establishing a career in craft and charting their path forward. After receiving their awards, Windgate-Lamar Fellows have forged new definitions of what it looks like to be a working artist all while engaging in their craft practice. Many travel to learn from peers or focused traditions, some set up shared studios, and others focus on a new body of work outside of the academy.

A recent study by BFAMFAPhD showed only 10% of arts graduates in the United States make their primary income from their practice.  As 2012 Fellow Aaron Decker explains, "During the day, I work as a product development manager and bench jeweler, where I oversee production and quality-control for a luxury goods company’s national jewelry line. I only walk into my studio after a long day of meetings deliberating product specifications, CAD files, and meeting with manufacturers. Nonetheless, my day job is a part of my studio practice; the skills I have refined as a product development manager directly improve the work I create after dinner."

As the Center listens to our Fellows to understand their challenges we are finding that many share similar short-term goals such as procuring a studio, purchasing equipment, participating in more exhibitions, and promoting their work all while continuing their craft practice. 2008 Windgate-Lamar Fellow Jon Watanabe describes this desire to rely less on a day job, “I find myself in a common artist’s dilemma: on the one hand, I need the money from my day job as a production glassblower and glassblowing teacher to support the build-out of my studio. On the other, I devote so much time and energy to my job that my studio progress has been slower than I’d like.”

Many of these short-term goals contribute to the big picture: becoming a prolific artist, establishing greater visibility, and making a difference in their communities by using their talents. 2014 Windgate-Lamar Fellow Niki Grandics describes her vision, “In the long term, I continue towards my goal of being part of a responsible and equitable jewelry industry through creating works that celebrate the beauty of our Earth, education for both end consumers and the industry, and helping the next generation of jewelers navigate the industry and make responsible choices for their own practices.”

To mark our 25th Anniversary, the Center for Craft awarded twenty Windgate-Lamar Fellows with an additional unrestricted $10,000 to encourage continued practice in craft, in addition to participation in career consultation sessions and networking opportunities.  Selected fellows were chosen through a competitive review process. As we look ahead to the next 25 years, the Center is committed to continued investment in emerging artists to sustain their practice in the craft field.

Here are the fellows receiving additional support:

Max Adrian, Lees Summit, MO
2015 Fellow
Fibers/Textiles, Soft sculpture

Siara Berry, Milwaukee, WI
2015 Fellow
Multidisciplinary

SHENEQUA, Kansas City, MO
2014 Fellow
Textiles/Sculpture

Danielle Burke, Carrboro, NC
2015 Fellow
Textiles

Kate Casey, Brooklyn, NY
2008 Fellow
Woodworking/Weaving

Andrea Clark, Bowling Green, KY
2013 Fellow
Ceramics

Aaron Patrick Decker, Ypsilanti, MI
2012 Fellow
Jewelry

Andrea Donnelly, Richmond, VA
2007 Fellow
​​Textiles/Weaving

Niki Grandics, Carlsbad, CA
2014 Fellow
Jewelry

Sarah House, New Orleans, LA
2007 Fellow
Ceramics

Kassandra Huynh, Marine on St. Croix, MN
2014 Fellow
Speculative Design/Furniture

KIra Keck, Powell, OH
2016 Fellow
Fibers/Textiles

Jenna Macy, Honolulu, HI
2016 Fellow
Multimedia 

Jennie Maydew, Ridgewood, NY
2016 Fellow
Textiles/Social Practice

Colin Pezzano, Philadelphia, PA
2014 Fellow
Wood/Sculpture

Ben Reid, Durham, NC
2010 Fellow
Multimedia

Kento Saisho, Los Angeles, CA
2016 Fellow
Metal/Sculpture

Wes Valdez, Aldan, PA
2011 Fellow
Glass, Multimedia

Yulie Urano, Kansas City, MO
2011 Fellow
Fibers/Textiles/Paper

Jon Watanabe, Providence, RI
2008 Fellow
Glass

Learn more about the Center for Craft’s grant programs and fellowship opportunities here.