Fun and Fellowship

Fun and Fellowship

Figure with Lost Torso

Stephen De Staebler, Figure with Lost Torso, 2008

The American Craft Council celebrated the new members of its College of Fellows in a big way at SOFA Chicago in November. “Among Fellows: An Exhibition of Work by the 2012 College of Fellows” was curated by ACC trustee Namita Gupta Wiggers, director and chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Craft, and attracted attention all weekend on the show floor.

The College, established in 1975, is a fellowship of masters – individuals who have demonstrated outstanding artistic achievement over 25 years or more. New members are inducted biennially. This year, SOFA visitors were treated to ceramics by Anne Currier and Andrea Gill, glass by Dante Marioni, fiber art by Lewis Knauss and Sherri Smith, jewelry by Sharon Church, and furniture by Tom Loeser, as well as striking sculptural work by the late Stephen De Staebler, 2012’s Gold Medalist.

As a companion to the exhibition, the ACC also hosted “Among Fellows: A Conversation with Bruce Pepich,” the 2012 Honorary Fellow. The executive director and curator of collections of the Racine Art Museum spoke with Perry Price, ACC’s director of education, about his life’s work, from his start, fresh out of college, at Wisconsin’s Wustum Museum of Fine Arts to the 2003 opening of sister institution Racine Art Museum – and the evolution he’s witnessed in the field.

The official induction took place on November 2 at the InterContinental Chicago hotel, where the ACC also honored longtime legal advisor and former trustee Sidney D. Rosoff with its Award of Distinction, and Nancy M. McNeil with its Aileen Osborn Webb Award for Philanthropy. With plans to continue biennial College of Fellows exhibitions, the ACC looks forward to expanding its role celebrating the leaders of contemporary craft. “Not only are the accolades for these artists and individuals richly deserved,” Price says, “their work is an inspiration to the Council’s own directive to champion craft in our contemporary society.”

The American Craft Council, publisher of American Craft magazine, is a nonprofit educational organization that depends on members for support. Andrew Zoellner is American Craft’s assistant editor.