DEMOCRACY PBS premiere Dec 11, 2020
An early digital release of DEMOCRACY is now available to stream on the PBS Video App, PBS.org, and Station video portals, with other PBS election programming.
[Los Angeles] – Craft in America, the Peabody Award-winning documentary series discovering the beauty, significance and relevance of the handmade, announces DEMOCRACY, premiering on PBS Friday, December 11, 2020 at 10:00PM (check local listings). For more than a decade, Craft in America has taken viewers on cultural journeys across this nation, honoring craft artists and documenting the dynamic evolution of contemporary craft.
In the galleries and halls of our treasured cultural institutions; in the hands of Native American, African American and Veteran artists; from Appalachia to the Rio Grande Valley; Craft in America: DEMOCRACY explores how craft is intertwined with our nation’s defining principles.
The episode begins with Robert L. Lynch, President of Americans for the Arts, who speaks to the presence of craft in U.S. history and the role of government in the arts. He also guides us through several of the significant Washington, D.C. monuments and memorials, highlighting their aesthetic and emotional resonance.
Calligrapher Sammy Little, who has applied her skillful hand to projects for the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, the U.S. Supreme Court and presidential inaugurations, discusses the importance of cursive handwriting in our nation’s democratic traditions and as a record of our nation’s history.
The episode features several of our capitol’s treasured Smithsonian institutions: the National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC), the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). NMAAHC curator Joanne Hyppolite, Ph.D., speaks on the role of craft in the African American experience and prompts a discussion of the legacy of continued racial injustice in this country. At the Renwick, we explore the Hearts of Our People exhibition with co-curator Teri Greeves and artist Carla Hemlock, which features art by Native American women. We also visit renowned forensic and multi-disciplinary artist and Cheyenne Peace Chief Harvey Pratt in his home state of Oklahoma, who is designing the National Native American Veterans Memorial, to be erected on the grounds of the NMAI.
At the Veterans History Project through the Library of Congress, we hear from several veteran artists who express themselves and their wartime experiences through craft. Finally, we see two distinct examples of democratic approaches to creativity: first, the 1972 exhibition Islands in the Land celebrating handcrafted objects from Appalachia and the Rio Grande Valley, organized by visionary curator Eudorah Moore; and second, the work-study program at Berea College, where traditional Appalachian craft is kept alive through historic innovative programs that foster a diverse and integrated student body. Industrial designer and educator Stephen Burks headed Berea’s Crafting Diversity project. He worked with students to design products for the Student Craft Program, ensuring that the amazing diversity of Berea’s student body is represented in the craft they created.
Through these examples, Craft in America: DEMOCRACY explores how the interaction between government and the arts inspires our lives, fuels the creative economy, and protects our multicultural heritage.
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 INAMERICA 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 object exhibitions, artist information, and the Random House 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, exhibits and concerts. Our reference library contains over three thousand books and videos and is free to the public. We invite you to stop in and to join us for upcoming events and exhibitions – 8415 W. Third St., Los Angeles, CA 90048.
View the Artist Bios: craftinamerica.org/release/democracy-artist-bios
For more about Craft in America:
DEMOCRACY Press Images: dropbox.com/sh/1ycckh06jsxm284/AABmL6i2-1KqNBd_gdBbwnOga?dl=0