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 for Craft, Creativity & Design (CCCD) is a nationally recognized organization that was originally established as an inter-institutional, public service center of the University of North Carolina (UNC) by the Board of Governors and General Assembly in May 1996. On July 22, 1998, its nonprofit support organization received 501(c)(3) authorization for the purpose of soliciting funds for programs and operations. In August 2013, a generous gift from the Windgate Charitable Foundation allowed CCCD to purchase its historic facility at 67 Broadway Street in downtown Asheville. On October 1, 2013, the nonprofit 501(c)(3) assumed full authority over CCCD's operations and programs due to increasing budget cuts to the UNC System.
CCCD grew out of a 1994-1995 study commissioned by HandMade in America that recommended a new organization with the purpose of integrating craft, craft history, and craft criticism into education at the college level. The purpose of locating CCCD within an academic system was to incorporate the subject of craft, particularly as it relates to creativity and design, as an acknowledged and valued part of the university curriculum. CCCD forged wide-ranging interactions with undergraduate and graduate programs and is now associated with groundbreaking work in the scholarship of American craft.
In addition to building on the scholarly and institutional resources of the academy, CCCD also committed to relating to craft organizations and individual artists, museums, and other entities in a similarly strategic fashion, drawing upon the extensive history of craft, regional economic development, and evolution of craft production throughout the region and beyond. Western North Carolina has historically been, and continues to be, a vital location for craft production in the United States. CCCD, whose foundation was built upon collaboration between students, faculty, scholars, researchers, and working artists, serves as a catalyst for producing programs across institutions, colleges, and communities to stimulate conversations and critical dialogue.
CCCD’s Curatorial Fellowship is a yearlong program created to give emerging curators a platform to explore and test new ideas about craft. Of 54 applications received, three Curatorial Fellowship teams have been selected to fully develop and mount their proposed exhibition in CCCD’s Benchspace Gallery & Workshop, during the 2017 exhibition season. The Curatorial Fellows will work with CCCD staff to produce the exhibition, develop didactic material and an exhibition catalog, and deliver a curatorial talk.