Center for Craft 25th anniversary logo in red

Press Release

Front & center

August 20, 2020

The Craft Futures Fund Celebrates Three Months of Grants

In celebration of ᏔᎷᏣ The Basket

Funding supports a sustainable, diverse future for craft

grid collage of craft future fund grant recipients

Photo courtesy of

ASHEVILLE, NC (August 20, 2020) – The Center for Craft celebrates the midpoint of the Craft Futures Fund, established to support craft-based education projects that seed resilience, foster community, and amplify impact across the US. These one-time, unrestricted grants of $5,000 each have gone to individuals and organizations that have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is expected to cause a $4.8 billion loss in the nation’s arts and culture sector according to a study released by Americans for the Arts. 

The designation of resources specifically for the craft community makes the Craft Futures Fund unique among many funds earmarked for arts and culture more broadly. Up to $30,000 each month from May through October not only directly supports emergency relief for six awardees per month, but also helps create its sustainable future through the fund’s focus on education and through the diversity of its recipients, who are recognized for their collaborative, grassroots, and community-driven contributions in craft education during COVID-19.  

Projects are selected monthly through a lottery, then reviewed by expert panelists made up of craft educators, artists, curators, and scholars. So far, 18 projects have been awarded. Craft Futures Fund recipient Julia Gartrell and her funded project, Repair is Radical: Isolated Seniors in Conversation, will focus on outreach to seniors through oral history collection and exchange of approaches to mending as a form of bonding and healing. Julia shares, “The Craft Futures Fund grant allowed me to imagine and implement a project that would have been otherwise impossible during the global pandemic. Having the support from the Center for Craft pushes my practice forward in a time that is difficult to produce work normally as an artist, and I am very appreciative.”

Funded projects have spanned the country, with recipients in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Colorado, California, West Virginia, and North Carolina – including four in Asheville, the home of the Center for Craft. Many projects are linked to their specific geographic areas through physical spaces, while others – like Tanya Aguiñiga’s Cerámica Mariposas studio, which will be constructed in one of the most vulnerable migrant shelter on the US-Mexico border and used to offer virtual classes for women migrants, and Anna Helgeson’s Craft Conscious website, which will be a resource for college instructors regardless of their location – are designed for virtual connection. All provide visionary applications for our current moment, as well as lasting possibilities for the future beyond the pandemic. 

The Craft Futures Fund was generously seeded by a grant from the Windgate Foundation. Additional individual and organizational donations will help to bring the fund’s mission full circle and highlight the way that community participation and activation create connection, now and for future generations. The Center for Craft continues to seek support for the Craft Futures Fund. You can pledge your support by making a donation

Find out more about the Craft Futures Fund, including the recipients and how to apply, here.

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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. For more information on all grants administered by Center for Craft, click here.

The Center is offering free, unguided visits and affordable tours of its exhibitions to the public. Guests can reserve a 30-minute visit to explore the current exhibitions, learn more about the Center’s national impact in the Craft Research Fund Study Collection, and enjoy interactive activities. The Center is monitoring the effects of COVID-19 on the community and following the instruction of federal, state, and local health departments. Their top priority is always the health and safety of our staff, coworkers, and visitors.