The Society of Inclusive Blacksmiths is an organization working to change the image of blacksmiths in the 21st century by supporting, promoting, and highlighting historically underrepresented populations and forward-thinking work. Through listening to the experiences of others and working to understand their perspective, SIB builds a community that truly supports, encourages, and educates people regardless of constructs of race, gender, sexuality, gender orientation, or physical limitations.
The organization began in 2018 when smiths gathered in August 2018 at the Cascadia Center for Arts and Crafts (CCAC) in Oregon. The goals were a collaborative project for the on-site sculpture garden and conversation around issues of inclusivity in blacksmithing. The event brought women from across the country, ranging in age, experience, and metalworking interests. At the conclusion of their time at the CCAC, the team agreed to continue the project as the Society of Inclusive Blacksmiths (SIB).
The mission of the Decorative Arts Trust, a non-profit organization, is to promote and foster the appreciation and study of the decorative arts. They achieve their mission by exchanging information through domestic and international programming; collaborating and partnering with museums and preservation organizations; and underwriting internships, research grants, and scholarships for graduate students and young professionals.
The Trust was the brainchild of Dewey Lee Curtis (1924-1986), an important fixture in the early Americana field. During the bicentennial era of the 1970s, Dewey noted an opportunity to connect like-minded collectors, curators, and history enthusiasts from across the country through a national organization aimed at supporting museums and preservation groups in the broadest possible sense. At the core of the Decorative Arts Trust, Dewey saw an opportunity to champion the sea change of scholarship and collecting that defined the 1960s and ‘70s. By drawing attention to talented and up-and-coming scholars and important historic sites around the country and abroad, he provided access to the well-spring of new information generated by his peers. Perhaps most importantly, Dewey established an egalitarian organization accessible to all comers interested in learning about the past.
Robert K. Liu, Ph.D. was trained as an ethologist at UCLA, but self-trained as a jeweler and photographer and has written extensively on ancient, ethnic and contemporary jewelry and personal adornment, as well as other non-art related fields. He is the author of Collectible Beads, The Photography of Personal Adornment and over 760 articles and publications. He is the co-editor of Ornament Magazine, which he co-edited with his wife, Carolyn L.E. Benesh. The publication, which was founded in 1974 as The Bead Journal, began with the encouragement of Robert’s former major professor and a small gift. After forty-seven years, it now serves as a conduit for information and scholarship concerning jewelry, artwear and its makers.
Carolyn, who died in late 2020 from Stage IV breast cancer, was a scholar and celebrated collector of contemporary jewelry who shared her love of adornment in her writings and her collections. She was also a champion of craft artists around the world.
Their son, Patrick R. Benesh-Liu, began working for Ornament in high school, and joined the magazine full-time in 2005. He now co-edits the magazine with his father and has covered pop culture’s recent contributions to wearable art in the form of costumery, as well as numerous artists, craft shows and museum exhibitions. Ornament Magazine, from its beginning, has set the exciting challenge of documenting the art and craft of personal adornment. Ornament demonstrates the richness and diversity of this vast subject with a stunning display of creative works, past and present.
Dignicraft is a hybrid between an art collective, media production company and distributor of cultural goods, inspired by human dignity and justice, the artisanal process of creation, and the potential of collaboration to spark change. Through producing documentaries, distributing meaningful cultural goods, or facilitating workshops, Dignicraft aims to encourage unlikely encounters between people of different backgrounds. Dignicraft is the result of the evolution of collective work in Bulbo that Paola Rodríguez, José Luis Figueroa and Omar Foglio started over 12 years ago. A few of their most noticeable film projects include Tijuaneados Anónimos: Una lágrima, una sonrisa (Bulbo/Galatea audiovisual, www.tijuaneadosanonimos.org Tijuana, 2009) and Brilliant Soil / Tierra Brillante (Bulbo/Galatea audiovisual, www.brilliantsoil.org Michoacan, Mexico, 2011). The Collaborative Piñata is a long-term project to establish a dialogue between Purepecha crafts people and cultural agents from the region of Baja California, Mexico and Southern California, U.S.A
The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (KSO) has a mission to develop and sustain a symphony orchestra of the highest artistic standards and to reach East Tennessee audiences of all ages by providing excellence in musical performance and education programs.
Established over 80 years ago, the KSO is the longest continually performing orchestra in the Southeast. It was founded in 1935 by Bertha Walbun Clark, who was its first conductor, and is now led by its eighth Music Director, Aram Demirjian. The museum has gained both local and national acclaim and its programs have reached an audience of over 200,000 people annually.
In 2020, the KSO commissioned a violin concerto to complement the epic steel and glass masterwork, Cycle of Life: Within the Power of Dreams and the Wonder of Infinity, by Knoxville sculptor Richard Jolley, creating a convergence between the two artistic disciplines.
The American Craft Council (ACC) is a national nonprofit working to keep the craft community connected, inspired, and supported. ACC founder, Aileen Osborn Webb, recognized the significant impact craft has on individuals and communities and established a nonprofit to preserve, cultivate, and celebrate this communal heritage. 80 years later, their efforts span the nation. Whether their amplifying artists’ stories, investing in creative economies, honoring innovators in the field, or engaging the community in discussion, their efforts need support. Become a part of their community.
The ACC shares stories and amplify voices through American Craft magazine and other online content; produce American Craft Made marketplace events that support artists and connect people to craft; celebrate craft’s legacy through longstanding awards and a unique research library; and create space for dialogue and action—because craft can bring people together.
The American Craft Council is a national nonprofit organization that connects and galvanizes diverse craft communities to advance craft’s impact in contemporary American Life. Discover content from their magazine and blog, find details about their marketplaces, register for an upcoming forum, and more at craftcouncil.org.
Part of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, the Veterans History Project is an archive of interviews, photographs, memoirs, illustrations, and other historic documents that gives voice to the personal experiences of US war veterans. Housed in the Library of Congress, this vast collection provides firsthand accounts of the realities of war, making them accessible to the public and preserving them for future generations. The United States Congress introduced legislation to create the project in 2000, and it was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 27, 2000.
The Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress collects, preserves and makes accessible the first person experiences of US veterans who served from WWI to the recent conflicts. Comprised of over 111,000 individual narratives expressed through interviews, original photographs, letters and documents as well as journals diaries and memoirs, the archive grows as it has for 20 years through the voluntary efforts of people. By gathering the stories of the veterans, we help deepen the understanding of our shared history in service and in times of conflict. Thousands of hours of interview, and thousands of items of documentation are digitized.
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) is a nonprofit arts organization founded to advance education about the process, product and history of craft. HCCC’s major emphasis is on objects of art made primarily from craft materials: clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood or found/recycled materials.
Since opening in September of 2001, HCCC has emerged as an important cultural and educational resource for Houston and the Southwest—one of the few venues in the country dedicated exclusively to craft at the highest level. HCCC provides exhibition, retail and studio spaces to support the work of local and national artists and serves as a resource for artists, educators and the community-at-large. In addition, HCCC reaches thousands of children a year through educational and outreach programming.
Etsy is the extraordinarily successful online craft marketplace that yields an astounding $1.35 billion in annual sales for 1 million artists worldwide.
The Smithsonian Women’s Committee (SWC) is a volunteer grant-making organization dedicated to advancing the Smithsonian mission to increase and diffuse knowledge. The SWC produces two annual signature events, the Smithsonian Craft Show (April) and the Craft2Wear (October), which serve to promote fine American craft and are an importance source of funding for grants and endowments to the Smithsonian.