The mission of the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design is to advance the understanding of craft by encouraging and supporting research, critical dialogue, and professional development. The Center’s programs strive to support the best examples of research and practice in the field.
We value and embrace the voice of the next generation. Every year, the Center awards $15,000 Windgate Fellowships to ten graduating seniors with extraordinary skill in craft—one of the largest awards offered nationally to art students. We also place four emerging curators within prominent institutions under the Windgate Museum Internship Program.
Our knowledge-sharing activities strengthen our community and professional networks. As a result of our annual Think Tanks, the Center produced Makers, the first comprehensive survey of American studio craft, supported the launch of The Journal of Modern Craft, and created the Craft Research Fund Program. The Center is the only organization functioning as a catalyst for scholarly research in American craft.
The Center was founded based on the findings of a 1994-1995 study commissioned by the Educational Committee of HandMade in America that recommended a new organization with a broad vision of craft, creativity, and design as interrelated components applied through education, industry, and commerce.
The study also recognized the strength of collaboration between the University of North Carolina (UNC) system, with emphasis on the three mountain campuses, and the region's nationally recognized craft schools, guilds, museums, and working craftspeople and artists. If the valuing of studio craft was to equal that of "fine art," it had to be so recognized in academia. Where better to begin the transformation than in the region of the country most recognized for its' outstanding craft industry - Western North Carolina?
In April 2001 the Center moved from its original offices in at UNC Asheville's Kellogg Conference Center (opened in 1997) into an adjacent facility with galleries, an education room and offices.
Due to increasing budget cuts in 2013, the Center's board of directors decided to discontinue the Center's affiliation with UNC Asheville so it could achieve the goal of expanding collaborations with other partnering institutions.
A generous gift from the Windgate Charitable Foundation allowed the Center to purchase 67 Broadway in August 2013. The Center continues to operate as an independent 501 c(3) nonprofit organization out of this historic building in downtown Asheville today.
Asheville, NC – Recent economic reports speculate that a third industrial revolution, shaped by digital technologies, is underway. This summer, Benchspace Gallery & Workshop will investigate the implications of such technologies on the making of sculptural and functional objects in the 21st century.