Craft in America Awarded $100,000 Inaugural Prize for Excellence and Innovation by the Decorative Arts Trust
Craft in America’s Free Online Video Dictionary of Decorative Arts Techniques Will Connect the Past to the Present
Craft in America’s video dictionary will be a free resource for researchers, art historians, students, and the public serving as an evergreen and widely accessible tool to demonstrate handmade techniques and production.
(Los Angeles, CA) December 9, 2020 – Craft in America has been named the inaugural recipient the Decorative Arts Trust’s Prize for Excellence and Innovation. As part of the Decorative Art Trust‘s dedication to nurturing academic and educational programs, Executive Director Matthew A. Thurlow announced that Craft in America would receive the award in a special presentation this week. Established in 2020, the $100,000 Prize for Excellence and Innovation recognizes scholarly endeavors undertaken by a non-profit organization to advance the public’s appreciation of decorative arts, fine arts, architecture, or landscape design. Craft in America was one of four finalists: Cincinnati Art Museum, The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
Craft in America is preparing a free online video dictionary of tools, techniques, and materials spanning all decorative arts media. This free resource for researchers, art historians, students, and the public will serve as an evergreen and widely accessible tool to demonstrate handmade crafts production. Each dictionary “entry” will consist of a short video of a professional artist-maker explaining and documenting a specific process. “The inaugural Prize is a watershed moment for our organization,” Matthew Thurlow notes. “We are proud to be one of the few organizations able to offer $100,000 in support of a decorative arts project at this critical moment in the cultural sector. In recent years, we have helped hundreds of students and young professionals make strides toward their careers in the arts, and the Prize will reinforce the value of their dedication.”
“Craft in America will blend the contemporary with the historic by sharing the techniques of talented living craftspeople who represent a continuum of artisanship that stretches back centuries,” shares Matthew Thurlow. “The project is scalable, malleable, inclusive, and accessible in a manner that will continue to draw interest in and promote the importance and artistry of objects. Craft in America has an impressive history of producing video and narrative of the highest quality. We are proud to reach across the country to support a smaller organization that will make an incredible contribution to further appreciation for the decorative arts.”
“This project will organically demonstrate the ongoing continuity of historic craft processes in modern life,” explains Emily Zaiden, Craft in America Center Director. “The beauty and core of this project is that it captures precisely how historic craft and decorative arts processes are very much alive in the hands of contemporary makers and craft artists. It will demonstrate our connection with the past, with the work of the hand, and our inherent connection with tactile objects and the material culture of our world. These videos will bring to life, in this modern, tech-dominated era, the age-old techniques from our craft heritage. We could not be more thrilled and honored to receive this support from the Decorative Arts Trust.”
About Craft in America
Craft in America is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to advancing original handcrafted work through the Peabody Award-winning documentary series on PBS nationwide and the free-to-the-public Craft in America Center in Los Angeles. With 25 episodes produced since 2007, CRAFT IN AMERICA takes viewers on a journey to the artists, origins and techniques of American craft. Each episode contains stories from diverse regions and cultures, blending history with living practice and exploring issues of identity, ritual, philosophy and creative expression.
Our websites craftinamerica.org and pbs.org/craftinamerica provide all episodes, hundreds of online videos and interactive learning materials, as well as exhibitions, artist information, and the book Craft in America: Celebrating Two Centuries of Artists and Objects and other Craft in America publications.
The Craft in America Center is an exhibition and learning space in Los Angeles. We give voice to traditional and contemporary craft through artist talks, K-12 education programs, workshops, catalogs and a permanent collection. Our reference library contains over three thousand books and is free to the public. 8415 W. Third St., Los Angeles, CA 90048.
About The Decorative Arts Trust
Incorporated on May 16, 1977, the Decorative Arts Trust has a long history of promoting and fostering appreciation and study of material culture 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 Decorative Arts Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. To learn more about the Trust or to become a member, please visit decorativeartstrust.org.