Three expert jurors reviewed 1,356 applications before choosing 120 artists from 32 states and the District of Columbia to participate in the 2009 Smithsonian Craft Show at the National Building Museum
in Washington, D.C., beginning April 23. The jurors selected artists whose work best reflects the story of contemporary American craft in 12 categories: basketry, ceramics, decorative fiber, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, paper, wearable art and wood. Among the artists returning to the show is Charleston, S.C., basket-maker Mary Jackson, a 2008 recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant. She is joined by 43 craft artists who are new to the show.
Juror Melissa Post, curator at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Wash., said, “I appreciated the opportunity to see what’s happening here and now. The jury process allowed us to preview fresh, young designs and to see how older established artists have evolved.” For Post and fellow jurors Jane Milosch, senior program officer for the arts in the Office of the Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture at the Smithsonian and Wayne Higby, ceramic artist and Robert C. Turner chair of Ceramic Art at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, the overall criteria for selection was the quality of work presented. Whether traditional or cutting edge, functional or sculptural, only outstanding technical excellence and execution earned entrance into what is considered to be the nation’s most prestigious craft show.
Sir Nigel Sheinwald, British Ambassador to the United States, and Lady Sheinwald will serve as honorary chairs of the 27th annual show. The Preview Night Benefit takes place Wednesday, April 22, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Higby will discuss the installation of his work “EarthCloud” at Alfred University, the largest hand-cut porcelain architectural assemblage in the world and discuss and sign his recent book at an afternoon tea Thursday, April 23. On Thursday evening, “Connect and Collect” will host young professionals for a reception and tour of the show from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
An auction will feature 14 vintage craft objects donated to the Smithsonian Women’s Committee by Sherley and Bernard Koteen from their highly regarded personal collection. Raffle tickets to win one of three exciting pieces donated by exhibitors are available at the show or by phone at $5 each or six for $25. Online auction bids will be taken from Sunday, April 19, until Tuesday, April 25, at 5:00 p.m. The pieces available for auction can be viewed at www.smithsonianauctions.org
The show is open Thursday, April 23, and Friday, April 24, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 25, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, April 26, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. A daily admission fee of $15 includes the show program. Seniors, students, military, Smithsonian Associates and Smithsonian employees’ admission fee is $12; children 12 and under are free. Baby strollers are not permitted. The National Building Museum is located at 401 F Street N.W., across the street from the Judiciary Square Metro station. Garage and lot parking are nearby. For group-rate tickets (10 or more) or to rent space for special events, call the show office at (202)-633-5006 or (888) 832-9554 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
A list of exhibitors and images of their work and more information about the show is available at www.smithsoniancraftshow.org
. The show is produced by the Smithsonian Women’s Committee, which has contributed more than $8 million to educational, outreach and research projects benefiting the Smithsonian Institution.