Center for Craft 25th anniversary logo in red

Press Release

Front & center

June 18, 2019

Center for Craft Announces Two New $20,000 Craft Research Fellowships for Mid-Career Artists

In celebration of ᏔᎷᏣ The Basket

Photo courtesy of

Brian Fleetwood. Image courtesy of the Artist.

ASHEVILLE, NC (June 16, 2019) - Artists seeking support to research their creative practice and create a new body of work now have two more opportunities for funding. The Center for Craft is excited to announce two $20,000 “Craft Research Fund Artist Fellowships” as the newest part of their longest-running grant program, the Craft Research Fund. These fellowships expand the definition of “research” and make funds available to mid-career artists for projects that would not otherwise be possible, culminating in an exhibition of new work at Center for Craft’s gallery in downtown Asheville, North Carolina and a presentation of their research at an upcoming symposium.

Center for Craft receives many inquiries from artists seeking funds to support their creative practice and research. Now, artists who fall outside of existing Craft Research Fund categories of Graduate, Project, and Exhibition grants have a complementary platform through which to seek funding. Mid-career artists, artisans, designers, makers, sculptors, and others who identify their practice within the field of craft are invited to submit proposals by October 1, 2019, through a process that combines both external nominations and self-nominations.

Opening two channels for nominations will ensure that applicants outside academic and traditional craft circles will be able to participate, widening the conversation around what research can look like – and who gets to conduct it. “Artists are actively expanding the definition of research,” said Cindi Strauss, a member of the Center for Craft’s Board of Directors and  Sara and Bill Morgan Curator of Decorative Arts, Craft, and Design at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. “And I am pleased to see the Center for Craft continuing to demonstrate their leadership by recognizing and supporting this new direction in craft practice.”

This new fellowship evolved out of a two-day meeting on July 26-27, 2018, when nine national leaders in the fields of art, craft, and philanthropy met at Center for Craft to discuss grantmaking strategies to increase the award’s impact on the field of craft. The group contextualized and discussed definitions of “practice-based research” and considered comparative models for funding arts research and mid-career grants before finally making recommendations for the new grant program. Participants included:

  • Sarah Anne Carter, Curator and Director of Research, Chipstone Foundation
  • Deana Haggag, President & CEO, United States Artists
  • Aaron McIntosh, Assistant Professor and Fiber Area Head, Virginia Commonwealth University; Vice President, Center for Craft
  • Robert Milnes, Ceramic artist; Board of Directors, Center for Craft
  • Jessica Gaynelle Moss, Independent artist, academic, curator and entrepreneur
  • Stephanie Syjuco, Assistant Professor in Sculpture, University of California, Berkeley

Acting on the recommendations of the working group, the Center for Craft added the Artist Fellowship category to advance, expand, and support the creation of new research and knowledge through craft practice.

“This fellowship will go a long way toward supporting experimental and research-based craft artists in a time where the arts are a pivotal force in producing, preserving, and expanding our nation’s cultural diversity,” said Stephanie Syjuco, Assistant Professor in Sculpture, University of California, Berkeley and a member of the new Fellowship’s working group. “Contemporary craft artists are the voice of our creative heritage — and our collective future.”

The Craft Research Fund is a visionary grant program that has radically transformed the field of craft as we know it. Since 2005, the Center has granted $95,000 annually to academic researchers, independent scholars, curators, and graduate students writing, revising, and reclaiming the history of craft. In total, the Center has disbursed $1.2M dollars to over 150 scholars. The Craft Research Fund - including the new Artist Fellowship category - is generously supported by the Windgate Foundation.

Grant recipients are actively building the field of craft by participating in and curating cutting-edge exhibitions about craft, presenting their research at conferences, making documentaries, publishing articles in leading journals and magazines, teaching in universities, and authoring some of the most seminal works in craft discourse today, including Glenn Adamson’s Thinking Through Craft (2007), and, more recently, Jenni Sorkin’s Live Form: Women, Ceramics, and Community (2016). The Center is thrilled to be able to expand this program to support mid-career artists pursuing research in university and non-university settings.

“Artists have a unique way of digesting information, generating new ideas, and disseminating research. The Center for Craft is proud to encourage and facilitate this new area of artistic practice,” said Stephanie Moore, the Center’s Executive Director. “The Center for Craft is one of the leading organizations supporting craft research in the United States and this program will help us support the most cutting-edge developments in craft practice.”

The Center will continue to seek applications for the Craft Research Fund’s other grant categories: Graduate, Project, and Exhibition. Proposals are welcome from curators, researchers, independent scholars, and graduate students.

Applications are now open for all four categories of the Center for Craft’s Craft Research Fund grants.

Application Deadlines

Craft Research Fund Graduate, Exhibition, Project, and Artist Fellowship applications are due October 1, 2019 11:59 pm EST. For more information please visit