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Press Release

Front & center

February 17, 2021

Center for Craft Awards $135,000+ for Exhibitions, Projects, and Research to Advance the Field

In celebration of ᏔᎷᏣ The Basket

The Center for Craft annually grants $135,000 to academic researchers, scholars, and curators writing, revising, and reclaiming the history of craft through the Craft Research Fund Grants.

two conservators using a high magnification camera to observe a textile

Photo courtesy of

Conservators analyzing a printed textile with high magnification. (Image courtesy of the American Institute for Conservation and Foundation for Advancement in Conservation)

ASHEVILLE, NC (February 17, 2021)—The Center for Craft annually grants $135,000 to academic researchers, scholars, and curators writing, revising, and reclaiming the history of craft through the Craft Research Fund Grants.

Now in its second year, the Craft Research Fund Artist Fellowship expands the definition of “research” and culminates in an exhibition of new work at Center’s gallery in downtown Asheville, North Carolina, and a presentation of their research at an upcoming symposium.

A visionary program dedicated to supporting craft research in the United States, the 2021 Craft Research Fund awarded twelve organizations, scholars, and artists, who will receive a total of $136,291 through the Artist Fellowship, Exhibition Grant, and Project Grant.

Artist Fellowship

Macon Reed: $20,000 (Kingston, NY)
We Live on Restless Earth examines ritual objects/traditions people use to cope through plague, uncertainty, grief, and social unrest throughout history. The installation includes handmade contemporary objects, altars, and rites of transformation- both of the physical body and between systems of thought and power.

Related Tactics (Michele Carlson, Weston Teruya, Nate Watson): $20,000 (San Francisco, CA and Washington, DC)
In Disclosure: The Whiteness of Glass, Related Tactics will enact a research process to examine the whiteness of the glass field through an iterative series of creative visualizations and a collaborative social space between BIPOC artists for shared learning and building a strategic imaginary.

Exhibition Grant

American Museum of Ceramic Art: $15,000 (Pomona, CA)
To support the research for the exhibition "Breaking Ground: Women in California Clay" and accompanying catalog, the first to chronologize the evolution of ceramic art in California, to the present day, solely through the work of women artists. Essays by Jo Lauria and Edith Garcia.

Craft Contemporary: $8,000 (Los Angeles, CA)
This proposal supports research and catalog production costs for the exhibition Diedrick Brackens: heaven is a muddy riverbed. The accompanying publication will be Brackens’ first exhibition catalog, and this is also the first project to formally include the artist’s poetry with his textile works.

Metal Museum: $10,000 (Memphis, TN)
Coupling physical objects with public archives ephemera, this exhibition Divine Legacies in Black Jewelry contextualizes the history of Modern Black American Jewelry production during the 20th century. The exhibition, on view July 17 - September 11, 2021, will expand understanding of Black jewelers and their work and provide a launchpad for further research.

Project Grant

The Craftsmanship Initiative: $5,000 (San Francisco, CA)
This special issue explores Native Americans as tradition-bearers in their communities and examines the history and long-term sustainability of their knowledge and skills through their crafts. The issue will include long-form narratives, photo essays, podcasts, blog posts, and a short documentary.

Michael Hatch: $5,000 (Weaverville, NC)
This project, “Black Craft in the Mountain South,” is a search for historical Black craft spaces, objects, and people in the Southern Appalachian mountains. This project aims to identify craft within the broader documentation of Black lives in the region and build upon these stories by cross-referencing multiple resources.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: $11,680 (Boston, MA)
The research project, “Craft Schools: Where We Make What We Inherit,” will explore who defines studio craft historically and today through pilgrimages to formal and informal centers of craft education across the United States, mining their institutional or personal archives, and interviewing students.

Sarah Scaturro: $8,954.50 (Shaker Heights, OH)
In support of the research for “The Role of Craft in the Development of Textile Conservation in the United States,” this project contends that craft is core to the development and practice of textile conservation in the United States during the second half of the 20th century. The project will demonstrate this through archival research and oral histories of textile conservators.

Mark Shapiro: $15,000 (Worthington, MA)
New York City African-American master potter Thomas Commeraw made iconic American stoneware until he emigrated to Sierra Leone in 1820. Why did he leave his country of birth and city of business? How does his life illuminate the narrowing horizons for free Black craftspersons in the early Republic?

Martin Tsang: $10,156 (Miami, FL)
Dr. Tsang’s project is an ethnographic mapping of Afro-Cuban religious bead crafting practiced in North America. He will research how beading is carried out to understand better how beads are important agents of meaning and their making in communal settings, furthers religious pedagogy.

Rachel Winter: $7,500 (Goleta, CA)
This dissertation interrogates the institutions which facilitated the rise of contemporary Arab art in the US & England. Winter argues contemporary Arab artists in diaspora emerged in opposition to historically-oriented displays of the Arab world conveyed through craft at festivals for cultural diplomacy.

The Craft Research Fund committee included Matthew Drutt, CEO, Drutt Creative Arts Management; Dr. Liz McGoey, Ann S. and Samuel M. Mencoff Associate Curator of Arts of the Americas at the Art Institute of Chicago; and Dr. Tiffany Momon, Director, Black Craftspeople Digital Archive.

The selection panel for the 2021 Craft Research Fund Artist Fellowship included Ayumi Horie, Artist, 2015 United States Artist Fellow; Cannupa Hanska Luger, Artist, MHA Nation, Center for Craft 2020 Craft Research Fund Artist Fellow; and Jennifer Scanlan, Independent Curator. 

One of the primary funding sources for scholarship on American Craft, Craft Research Fund grants are administered 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 Lola Clairmont, Craft Research & Innovation Manager,

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ABOUT CENTER FOR CRAFT Founded in 1996, the Center for Craft is the leading organization in the United States identifying and convening craft makers, curators, and researchers, and matching them with resources, tools, and networks to advance their careers. Over the years, the Center has become a vital community resource, serving thousands of visitors annually. As a national 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the field of craft, the Center administers more than $300,000 in grants to those working in the craft field.

The Center for Craft is supported in part by the Windgate Foundation, John and Robyn Horn Foundation, Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, UNC Asheville, Warren Wilson College, and a grant from the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.