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WES VALDEZ 2011.
The Windgate Fellowship


Crafting Excellence

 

 

 

The success of The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design’s Windgate Fellowship program is illustrated by the talent, curiosity and professional commitment of the young artists involved.
                


While answering the question, “What’s next?,” may raise feelings of uncertainty and anxiety in many college seniors, the replies offered by Windgate Fellows are full of excitement, self-discovery, adventures, travel, and often some clear-headed practicality. Since 2006 The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design annually has awarded ten graduating college seniors grants of fifteen thousand dollars to support, recognize and encourage craft practice. Known as the Windgate Fellowship, this award quickly has become one of the most prestigious given to young craftspeople. Artists working in numerous media receive awards, but of particular note for readers of Ornament are the eighteen artists who make jewelry. According to the Center’s executive director, Stephanie Moore, “The Windgate Fellowship program gives us a glimpse of the best emerging talent in the field,” and the artists featured here provide an especially vibrant and promising view.

The Center originated through an initiative of HandMade in America, an organization founded in Asheville in 1993 that encourages economic development through craft and promotes Western North Carolina as a craft hub. The Education Committee of HandMade in America commissioned a study, which took place from 1994-1995, to identify how craft, craft history and craft criticism could be better integrated into education at the university level to help elevate the recognition of craft to that of traditional fine arts. This led to the establishment of The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design in 1996 by the University of North Carolina as a regional, inter-institutional public service center. In addition to the Windgate Fellowships, the Center, now based at UNC Asheville, awards the Windgate Museum Internships and the Craft Research Fund Grants, organizes exhibitions and educational events, and produced the textbook, Makers: A History of American Studio Craft, co-authored by Janet Koplos and Bruce Metcalf and published by the UNC Press (2010).

 

 

 

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More Windgate Fellowship images

 

 

Ashley Callahan
is an independent scholar and curator in Athens, Georgia, with a specialty in modern and contemporary American decorative arts. Of preparing the Windgate Fellowship article she states, “Focusing on the Windgate Fellows working in jewelry provided an exciting window into current jewelry practices. While each artist’s story and work is interesting on its own, the overall picture they create collectively is especially compelling. The contemporary jewelry landscape in the United States as represented by this group is diverse and international and even though the Fellowship program focuses on U.S. schools it allows for extensive world travel and cross-cultural influences.” She adds, “the Fellows I contacted (all but three were available) were remarkably gracious, open and enthusiastic.”

 

 

This article in its entirety appears only in the print magazine.

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