Press release from The Center for Craft:
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.