The Center for Crafts, the non-profit arts organization based in Asheville, North Carolina, that advances the field of art from craft media, has announced two new $20,000 Craft Research Fund Artist Fellowships targeting mid-career artists. While the Craft Research Fund has been providing fellowships since 2005, most are limited to emerging artists or recent graduates. Following a July 2018 meeting with national leaders of the art, craft, and philanthropy fields at the Center for Craft, a new fellowship program was designed for artists of any age throughout their career.
“While the Center for Crafts has a robust program for emerging artists, this is the next step to support artists further on in their careers,” assistant director Marilyn Zapf told the Glass Quarterly Hot Sheet in a telephone interview. The Center for Craft, which was founded in 1996, is an organization that matches artists, researchers, and makers with resources to create or investigate within craft. They currently administer $300,000 in funding for grants, and recently received a $100,000 matching grant to support their "Building a Future for Craft" campaign. The Craft Research Fund Artist Fellowships are open to artists who are approaching research from many different directions— it can be for artists seeking to utilize archives, raise awareness, or material-based research.
“The definition of research has been expanding and changing over the years,” Marilyn Zapf said. “This was a natural growth point for the program.
While research of craft has expanded, this fellowship allows for further continuation and investigation for artists regardless of where they are in their career. Additionally, Marilyn Zapf said that the Center for Craft will not only provide resources to artists but also to share knowledge through exhibitions and symposiums.
Looking in other directions outside of the Center for Craft, Zapf noted that other organizations could take note for expanding their grant programs to artists further along in their careers.
“It’s a great model, one that can really propel artists through the field,” she said. “I hope it’s inspiration and fodder for other organizations to follow.”