Front & center
Since 2005, the Center for Craft has supported 223 projects in 39 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia by distributing over $1,800,000 through the Craft Research Fund grant program.
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ASHEVILLE, NC (February 2, 2023) – Since 2005, the Center for Craft has supported 223 projects in 39 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia by distributing over $1,800,000 through the Craft Research Fund grant program. This program is the longest-running grant program offered by the Center and many have credited this program with integrating craft into the canon of art history, embracing craft as a serious matter of study, initiating a new discipline of craft studies, and raising the value and profile of craft in prominent cultural publications, exhibitions, and conferences. One of the primary funding sources for scholarship on American craft, this investment has catalyzed a new discipline of study by diversifying the areas of exploration and scholarship.
The Center for Craft notes that the grantees, the recent Craft Think Tank, and strategic planning efforts have shown how advancing craft research and scholarship deeply impacts the lived experience of craft artists and the value of their work. In a recent virtual program, CRF recipient, artist, woodworker, and educator, Deirdre Visser, was interviewed about her CRF grant-funded book, Joinery, Joists, and Gender: A History of Woodworking for the 21st Century (Routledge, 2022). "The single greatest surprise was how amazingly rich and unexpectedly varied the history of women in wood actually is…. the history goes back much further than I ever imagined,” Visser reflected. The rich history of women woodworkers should not be a surprise - it should be widely known and celebrated. Research and publications like Vissers’ are correcting the historic record and signaling to current and future generations of craft artists that they have a place in craft’s history and future.
In 2019, the Center added a new Craft Research Fund Artist Fellowship category to meet the growing interest and number of artist-researchers. An award is granted to artists pursuing craft research through projects that culminate in an exhibition of new work at the Center for Craft’s galleries. These are vital and highly-sought after grants, meeting a need to catalyze mid-career artists’ practice through research. This year, the Craft Research Fund Artist Fellowship awarded $10,000 to five, mid-career artists to support research projects that advance, expand, and support the creation of new research and knowledge through craft practice.
In total, the 2023 Craft Research Fund Artist Fellowship, Exhibition Grant, and Project Grant awarded $119,719.60 to fourteen organizations, curators, artists, and scholars in support of craft-centered research, exhibitions, catalogs, and projects in the United States.
Learn more about the recent awardees:
Dana Davenport (Los Angeles, CA) - $10,000
Dana’s Beauty Supply: Research
Dana Davenport is an interdisciplinary artist, who shifts between installation, sculpture, video, and performance. Within her practice, Davenport addresses the complexities that surround inter-minority racism as a foundation for envisioning her own and the collective futurity of Black and Asian peoples. Davenport's research titled “Dana's Beauty Supply: Research,” examines Black hair and hair care as a material that binds Black Americans and Korean Americans through the beauty supply industry, an industry that is overwhelmingly Korean-owned with a primarily Black customer base.
Nastassja Swift (Petersburg, VA) - $10,000
Hooded Figures: A History of Fashion and Power
Nastassja Swift is a sculptural fiber artist, whose work exists figuratively in full or often fragmented forms that speak to geographical histories, womanhood, language, and community. Swift’s needle felted portraits morph into a form of storytelling that references the above themes while incorporating quilting, beading, and other traditional and non-traditional materials. Swift’s research, titled “Hooded Figures: A History of Fashion and Power,” examines hoods across centuries, closely identifying the social and racial associations of the garment and how its symbolism has shifted over time. Using felting, quilting, and beading, this research project will produce re-imagined images of Black subjects adorned in a hood.
Emily Robison (Vega Alta, PR) - $10,000
An Investigation of American Byssus
Emily Robison is a textile artist whose work incorporates place and cultural experience. Building upon their work with byssus fiber, a textile fiber produced by clams and traditionally used throughout the Mediterranean, Robison will research 18th and 19th century published descriptions of byssus production and the feasibility of adapting these techniques to North American pen clams.
Alexis Rosa Caldero (Dearborn, MI) - $10,000
Beyond Ergonomics: Furnishing Healing
Alexis Rosa Caldero is a first generation Ecuadorian-American and Puerto Rican disentangling from the inherited experience of forced assimilation. Informed by experience with wood, education, and art direction, Caldero’s craft strives to evoke beauty, unearth stories, and build connection. Their research, titled “Beyond Ergonomics: Furnishing Healing,” asks what studio furniture can learn from anti-racist, fat positive, body-centered activism. It proposes a hands-on analysis of how everyday furniture can play a role in one’s healing journey through somatic study and community building.
Rose Buttress (Baltimore, MD) - $10,000
Rose Buttress is a self-trained machinist and programmer. Buttress’s research, titled “FULL,” uses a novel design of fabric cutters to prefigure small batch garment fabrication efficiency with the goal of generating a new philosophy of inclusive design. Her research attempts to renegotiate the constraints on the industry through a methodology of developing new equipment that places the leading industrial mass production techniques and processes within small workspaces.
Columbus Museum of Art (Columbus, OH) - $8,000
Sarah Rosalena: In All Directions
Sarah Rosalena: In All Directions is the first solo museum exhibition for Sarah Rosalena [née Brady], a multi-racial First Nations and Latinx American artist whose interdisciplinary work brings traditional indigenous craft practices into contact with state-of-the-art digital technologies, such as AI and machine learning, remote sensing, 3D printing, and digital fabrication.
Minnesota Center for Book Arts (Minneapolis, MN) - $13,500
Paper Is People: Challenging Colonial Definitions of Paper
Paper Is People: Challenging Colonial Definitions of Paper is an exhibition that opens a conversation around what paper is across cultures, through indigenous and oral traditions in the U.S. and in a global context. This is the first exhibition of its kind to reimagine and decolonize the practice of papermaking.
The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum (Long Island City, NY) - $5,000
Toshiko Takaezu Exhibition and Monograph
Support for the exhibition and monograph on artist Toshiko Takaezu. Over the course of a seven-decades-long career, Takaezu created work in ceramic, painting, and weaving, and is best known today for her innovative ceramic closed forms. This will be the first nationally touring retrospective of Takaezu’s work in 20 years.
Madison Square Park Conservancy (New York, NY) - $5,000
"My Neighbor's Garden" by Sheila Pepe
In the exhibition My Neighbor’s Garden, artist Sheila Pepe will drape vibrant and optimistic web-like structures across the walkways, revitalizing Madison Square Park’s nineteenth-century design. The webs will be made out of domestic and industrial materials including string, shoelaces, outsize sustainable rubber bands, and more. Parkgoers will gaze up at the playful canopies as they stroll through the park.
Aleia M. Brown (Greenville, NC) - $10,906
Disrupting the Loop of Recovery
Disrupting the Loop of Recovery: Black Women’s Engagement with Textile Art and Political Thought is a research project that evinces the solidarity economy that developed alongside collaborative aesthetics in the Alabama Black Belt and Mississippi Delta regions.
Ceramic Materials Atlas: Rose Schreiber-Stainthorp (Alfred, NY) & Del Harrow (Fort Collins, CO) - $7,500
Ceramic Materials Atlas
The Ceramic Materials Atlas was co-created by Rose Schreiber-Stainthorp & Del Harrow as a public-facing storytelling project and research tool that links global industry, environmental justice, and contemporary ceramics. It aims to foster a more critical understanding of our raw materials: their unique social and political histories, environmental costs, and poetic resonances.
Amanda Thompson (Providence, RI) - $7,313.60
Florida Native Seminole and Miccosukee Patchwork in a Settler Colonial Context
“Florida Native Seminole and Miccosukee Patchwork in a Settler Colonial Context” is a dissertation that considers patchwork in the intercultural contexts of tourism, development, and appropriation, to understand craft as a site of Native agency, and settler colonial negotiation.
Janelle Dunlap (Stone Mountain, GA) - $5,000
Body of the Swarm: History of Encaustic Painting in the American South
Body of the Swarm: History of Encaustic Painting in the American South is a research project that identifies & explores the history of paint making from bee products such as encaustic paint in the American south. This research explores the cultivation of this nature-based medium as a praxis for eco-conscious art making.
Jess Jones and Susan Richmond (Avondale Estates, GA) - $7,500
Lost Weavings of Atlanta: Mapping Works, Remnants, and Removals
Lost Weavings of Atlanta: Mapping Works, Remnants, and Removals is a public craft history project focusing on Atlanta’s corporate fiber art commissions from the 1970s through the 1990s. The intended outcome is a public-facing, interactive digital story map that provides a contextual study of each commission.
The selection panel for the 2023 Craft Research Fund Artist Fellowship included Blanca Serrano Ortiz de Solórzano, Ph.D. Project Director at the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art, Independent Researcher and Curator; Forrest Riise Pelsue, Writer, Researcher, and Historian; Robell Awake, 2022 Craft Research Fund Artist Fellow, Carpenter/Woodworker.
The 2023 Craft Research Fund Exhibition and Project Grants panel included Nicole Archer, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Art and Design, Montclair State University, and Editor-in-Chief of Art Journal Open, for the College Art Association; John Chaich, Curator and Designer; Ellen Huang, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Humanities & Science, Art Center College of Design; and Jason Young, Ph.D. Associate Professor of History, University of Michigan.
The Craft Research Fund grants are offered by the Center for Craft and supported by the Windgate Foundation. For inquiries regarding the Craft Research Fund or other grant opportunities at the Center for Craft, contact Mellanee Goodman, Grant Program Manager, email@example.com.
The Center invests nearly a third of our budget every year so that our resources (and yours) pay dividends to the craft community for decades to come. To learn more about how we may put your invested funds to meaningful use, schedule a meeting by reaching out to us at 828/785-1357 x 112 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Center for Craft is a 501(c)3 national nonprofit that increases access to craft by empowering and resourcing artists, organizations, and communities through grants, fellowships and programs that bring people together. Founded in 1996, the Center is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential organizations working on behalf of craft in the United States. For more information, visit www.centerforcraft.org.