American Craft Forum: The Second Series

American Craft Forum: The Second Series

American Craft Forum Second Series Header

Craft Thinking



You may be aware that the American Craft Council is headquartered in Minneapolis, and today our team here woke with heavy hearts. We feel the weight of our torn community as it reels following the tragic death of George Floyd.

We were looking forward to holding an American Craft Forum session today but instead need to pause and focus on what is happening in our immediate community. We are postponing today’s forum and will share out the new dates as soon as they are determined.

Thank you for your understanding. We will be in touch soon.

The American Craft Forum returns for a second free series, this time ready to turn up the volume and amplify the varied ways diverse craft communities step up and put artists to work. In last month’s series, we heard our communities were hurting and provided avenues for relief. Now we turn to designing the road ahead.

This series acknowledges the ways craft is standing up and standing out during the global pandemic as makers dig deep into their creative conscientiousness to heal, mend, and build a more resilient and equitable craft ecology.

Top off your week with a lively, virtual social hour on Fridays as we move into summer. We’ll provide the mixologists – you just need to tune in, contribute, and help build the future we know is possible.

Part 2: Design solutions for an equitable and sustainable craft economy


Topic: Can we find resiliency in a collective approach?
Topic: What does participation look like now?
Topic: What is the future of ecommerce post-pandemic?

Moderated by:

Forum Second Series Hrag Vartanian Portrait

In conversation with:

Forum Second Series Katy Stanton Portrait
Forum Second Series Dominick Davis Portrait
Forum Second Series Steven White Portrait
Forum Second Series Keith Recker Portrait
Forum Second Series Vallejo Gantner Portrait

Featured mixologists:

Forum Second Series Shoots & Roots Bitters

Part 3: (Re)centering craft in our social lives

Friday, June 12
2 – 3:15 p.m. CT / 3 – 4:15 p.m. ET

Topic: What’s a social experience we can build together in this new space?
Topic: How do we re-design curation amid all of this?
Topic: What other areas is craft thinking applicable to, and what will we address next?

Register for this series

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Part 1: Craft for care and well being

Friday, May 15

We kicked off our series on Friday, May 15, with a conversation around craft as an avenue for care and well being. We explored ways that makers are using their practice both for both self care and in the service of their communities.

Craft can heal. From skill-building to mental health benefits, this statement has been proven again and again. Craft is healing once more during this crisis, with makers stepping up to support our incredible healthcare and essential service workers and envisioning a better world moving forward.

Participant demographics (self-identified as one or more)

  • 85% artists or makers
  • 40% educators
  • 18% entrepreneurs and writers
  • 15% nonprofit professionals
  • Less than 12% students, gallery owners, or curators

Participant response

  • 88% of attendees found the program informative and inspiring
  • 58% felt more connected to new resources and networks as a result of participating in this session
  • 66% reported that the program exceeded their expectations
  • 85% found the program accessible and inclusive
Forum Second Series Stephanie Syjuco Portrait

You asked: Is there any advice you have regarding mask distribution? How were you making sure that your masks got to the right people? Start local in your own neighborhood, family, and community and scale up as needed or able. Check out national calls for masks. The need is still very real and there are many ways to help.

Forum Second Series Karen Hampton Portrait

You asked: How is this pandemic going to change the landscape of the art community? How will it be different? And how do you hope that it will be different? With the closing and restructuring of so many art galleries, the focus will shift to public art and pieces that are more accessible and community-based. The need for this type of art will rise.

Forum Second Series Holly Hanessian Portrait

You asked: How has Touch in Real Time changed since COVID-19? What will happen with this project in the future? Thinking about all the people we have lost through this outbreak underscores the need to capture the touch of someone at the end of their life as a source of comfort and memory. This project may live on with a focus on the resulting object acting as a last moment of contact with loved ones.

Other questions and comments from our discussion:

  • Material for mask-making is becoming more and more scarce. Are there alternate materials or methods available?
  • Volunteer work is being highlighted more than ever during this crisis as important and necessary. Why isn’t the same type of work paid a living wage in the marketplace? The observation was made that, in many cases, volunteering is an act of privilege.
  • In this new mask-wearing world we live in, we need to acknowledge that not everyone is seen in the same light. How can we address the concerns of people of color who fear being targeted for wearing masks?
  • How does the craft/arts community pivot from addressing the immediate need to create personal protective equipment (PPE) to critiquing and the instigating change in the political and business policies that gave rise to this need?
  • The phrase “return to normal” is tossed out a lot right now. How can we take this a step further and “create the conditions for change” to “evolve to something better?”
  • Could craft create the vision for what a “better world” would look like?

Moderated by:

Forum Second Series Hrag Vartanian Portrait

Featured mixologists:

Forum Second Series Shoots & Roots Bitters

Real-time closed captioning will be available for these presentations

Closed Captioning Symbol


Presented in collaboration with

Hyperallergic logo

Socially Engaged Craft Collective logo

Critical Craft Forum logo  Smithsonian Center for Folk Life & Cultural Heritage logo