After nearly a year of renovations to its historic 1912 building in downtown Asheville, the Center for Craft celebrates its public grand reopening on Saturday, November 16, from 2–6 p.m. In addition to new exhibits and building tours, visitors will enjoy future-themed immersive installations, hands-on activities, music and food.
“As we prepare to reopen our doors and share the Center for Craft’s National Craft Innovation Hub, we are excited to have this opportunity to invite a wider audience to engage and learn more about the field of craft,” says the Center’s board president Barbara Benisch. “Whether visiting one of the exhibitions, or hosting an event in the space, our hope is that the Center becomes a place for collaboration and critical thinking.”
Encompassing an additional 7,000 square feet of program space, including expanded galleries, event and meeting areas and coworking space serving the creative sector, the National Craft Innovation Hub promotes the vitality of craft in a digital age, and serves as a creative destination and resource for artists, researchers, curators and the community. By engaging makers on both a local and national level, the Center aims to establish itself as a thought-leader regarding the evolving nature of craft and strategies for supporting emerging voices and makers.
“In any age, craftspeople look for the best technologies and tools to accomplish their vision, often pushing the boundaries of what those available tools can do,” says the Center’s executive director Stephanie Moore. “Today’s technologies look different from those of a generation or two ago, but the creative and production processes that rely on them require the same high degree of craftsmanship.”
The Center’s expanded space allows visitors to access free exhibits seven days a week. An opening exhibition in the new Bresler Family Gallery, Craft Futures 2099, takes on the question of how craft might look eighty years from now. Concurrently, the new John Cram Partner Gallery will include exhibitions developed by local academic partners UNC Asheville and Warren Wilson College. UNC Asheville’s inaugural exhibition, Making Meaning, brings together 14 alumni whose work shifts our perceptions of material, method and meaning, creating new vocabularies in clay, digital media, photography, printmaking, assemblage and textiles.
“The expanded galleries mean that visitors will never experience an exhibition downtime,” says Moore. “We will have two shows up a majority of the time so there will always be something to see.”
Other additions include a Craft Research Fund Study Collection from more than a decade of Center-funded research; an area for hands-on activities; a new coworking space; and the Sara and Bill Morgan Board Room, Benisch Family Kitchen, Explore Asheville Assembly Hall and Michael Sherrill Loft to welcome national and local groups for meetings and events.
A special preview event for Center supporters and partners who donate $350 or more is scheduled for the evening of November 15, one day before the public grand reopening.