Craft in America History and Information
The Craft in America PBS Documentary Series, which won the Peabody Award and received nominations for two Emmys, continues to be the main focus of our work and the most significant way to reach a new audience for craft. The series has given Craft in America a national audience of over one million viewers and a presence in national arts conversations, providing a significant contribution to the advancement of the crafts. The PBS Create Channel airs national marathons of Craft in America episodes.
In addition to the 17 episodes of programming we have produced for PBS, Craft in America owns an extensive media library with over 500 hours of original footage. The media library is used to create web clips and is made available to museums, schools and and arts organizations, including the National Endowment for the Arts and the Library of Congress.
Websites: Both craftinamerica.org and pbs.org/craftinamerica are used by viewers to learn more about craft. The PBS website and mobile app offer free viewing of web clips and complete programs, an important benefit of our partnership with PBS. PBS.org provides a link to our website, where information about craft artists, techniques and resources is more extensive. The Resources section of craftinamerica.org allows users to search for museums, craft schools, organizations and more. The Artists section includes over 400 artists, video clips and links to websites. The Craft in America YouTube Channel also offers over 250 clips from our footage. The entire Craft in America series is viewable online at craftinamerica.org and pbs.org.
The Craft in America Center provides a unique and necessary service for all who are interested in craft. The Center, located on West Third Street in Los Angeles, is open free to the public and brings people together to explore the handmade. Lloyd Herman, Craft in America board member and former Director of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, described the Center as “an incubator for the crafts.” The Center is involved in advocacy for artists throughout Southern California by providing a physical platform to show artwork and a space where artists, collectors and scholars can connect face-to-face at programs. Receptions, lectures, educational programs, exhibitions, workshops and partnership meetings are among the hosted activities. Artists from the series and others conduct discussions, demonstrations and screenings. The Center is included in the American Craft Council’s 2013 “Ten Must-See Craft Research Collections.” Please visit www.craftinamerica.org/center for a complete list of Center events and exhibitions.
Education: Since Craft in America began its work as a nonprofit in 2004, education has been a primary component of our mission to promote and advance original handcrafted work. We have produced Education Guides featuring artists from each episode of the documentary series. The guides are available on both PBS.org and craftinamerica.org. Written by Dr. Marilyn Stewart, who was named 2011 Art Educator of the Year by the National Art Education Association, they meet national education standards and have been used in classrooms nationwide. On-site educational partnerships in our Craft in Schools program include collaborations with Fairfax High School, Van Nuys High School, Rosewood Elementary, Clinton Middle School, HOLA, and Otis College of Art and Design.
Board: Our board membership has included artists, curators, filmmakers, collectors, professionals in the craft field and individuals who have made a commitment to advancing the crafts. Among the contributions our board has provided are funding, pro bono legal advice, help with production of our documentary series and introductions to craft artists and organizations.
Partnerships, Exhibitions and Publications have been a significant part of our work. In 2007, Season 1 of Craft in America included a traveling exhibition entitled Craft in America: Expanding Traditions, a two-year, seven-city tour showcasing exciting examples of American creativity. This exhibition traveled to Arkansas, Oregon, California, Texas, Michigan, Oklahoma and Massachusetts and was attended by over 100,000 visitors.
Our book, Craft in America: Celebrating Two Centuries of Artists and Objects, written by Jo Lauria and Steve Fenton and published by Random House, was created to provide an overview of the crafts and features scholarly essays on craft history, over 400 full color photographs, a comprehensive resources guide and a prologue written by President Jimmy Carter.
A partnership was formed in 2010 with the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC to present a two-day conference entitled Crafting a Nation. PBS President Paula Kerger opened the conference, which included panels presented by craft artists and scholars from throughout the United States.
From September 2011 to January 2012, Craft in America and the Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) in Los Angeles, presented, as part of the Getty Pacific Standard Time Initiative, the exhibition Golden State of Craft: California 1960 – 1985, which surveyed an extraordinary, innovative artistic period that blossomed in post-World War II California. This creative period was promoted in large part by two central figures who were honored in the exhibition: Edith Wyle, Founder of CAFAM and Eudorah M. Moore, Director of the Pasadena Art Museum’s California Design exhibition series. In conjunction with the exhibition, a catalog, Golden State of Craft: California 1960 – 1985, was published by Craft in America with contributions by Jo Lauria, Emily Zaiden and Sharon K. Emanuelli.
In 2015, we partnered with three museums to organize landmark exhibitions. Opening at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in May, the Art and Other Tactics: Contemporary Craft by Artist Veterans exhibition was an outcome of the Craft in America: Service episode. This exhibition, which traveled to the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design in September 2015, features the work of veterans from WWII to the present who have followed their creative calling and pursued a career in craft after serving.
Craft in America has partnered with numerous organizations including:
• 92nd Street Y, New York, NY
• American College of the Building Arts, Charleston, SC
• American Craft Council, Minneapolis, MN
• American Museum of Ceramic Art, CA
• Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT
• Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, AR
• Art Jewelry Forum
• Clark Library, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
• Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, ME
• Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI
• Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA
• Craft Emergency Relief Fund, Montpelier, VT
• Etsy, Brooklyn, NY
• Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA
• Furniture Society of America, Asheville, NC
• Gamble House, Pasadena, CA
• Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ
• Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston, TX
• Idyllwild Art Center, Idyllwild, CA
• Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO
• J. M. Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI
• Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
• The Maloof Foundation, Alta Loma, CA
• Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
• Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
• Los Angeles Public Library
• National Art Education Association, Reston, VA
• New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM
• Ohio Craft Museum, Columbus, OH
• Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA
• Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood, CA
• Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA
• Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
• Museum of Craft and Design, San Francisco, CA
• Sculpture Objects Functional Art, Chicago, IL
• Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, Washington, D.C.
• Southern Food and Beverage Institute, New Orleans, LA
• Textile Society of America, CA
• University of Judaism, Los Angeles, CA
• Urban Glass, Brooklyn, NY
• US Veteran Artists Alliance, Los Angeles, CA
• Veterans’ History Project, Library of Congress, DC
• WGBH, Boston, MA