Smithsonian’s ‘Craft Optimism’ Opens April 24

Online Craft Show Is a Curated, Climate-Conscious Makers’ Market
February 24, 2021
News Release

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Craft Optimism graphic with collage of ornate jewelry

Collage created from magazine cut-outs, by Lelia Cartier

Craft Optimism, a curated contemporary craft show and online marketplace, opens April 24 and runs through May 1. Sponsored by the Smithsonian Women’s Committee (SWC) and Honoring the Future, a non-profit organization based in Philadelphia. Craft Optimism celebrates creative ideas for responding to climate change. The show features a beautiful collection of handcrafted, or small-batch produced, art in America. Proceeds support grants to the Smithsonian for innovative education, outreach and research projects.

Craft Optimism, the first Smithsonian Craft Show to focus on climate change, builds upon the sponsoring organizations’ experience highlighting outstanding, climate-conscious art. Since 1982, SWC has sponsored the annual Smithsonian Craft Show, widely recognized as a premier American craft show. Since 2015, Honoring the Future has helped to educate the public about climate change by presenting a “Sustainability Award” to the most deserving artist at the Smithsonian Craft Show. In 2020, SWC met the challenge of the pandemic with a virtual craft show, expanding its reach to an even larger national audience.

Artworks eligible for Craft Optimism must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • The artwork is created in a manner that helps to address climate change by fostering energy and water conservation, waterway protection, stormwater management, tree preservation and protection, use of solar or wind energy, waste reduction, use of recycled or repurposed material, urban gardening or other appropriate measures.
  • The artwork addresses/reflects the impacts of climate change, including population displacement, glacial ice melt, ocean acidification, extreme weather, droughts, floods, wildfires, species loss or human health effects.

Experts in contemporary craft, including museum curators, gallery owners and craft school educators, will nominate artists who met the eligibility criteria. Collectively, the selected artists offer a wide variety of styles, media and price points.

Craft Optimism celebrates the power and creativity of a diverse group of craft artists who call attention to an Earth in crisis and offer inventive ideas for curtailing human impacts on the environment,” said Fran Dubrowski, director of Honoring the Future. “We are proud to partner with the Smithsonian in sponsoring this trailblazing show.”

About the Smithsonian Women’s Committee

The Smithsonian Women’s Committee (SWC) is dedicated to advancing the Smithsonian’s mission to increase and diffuse knowledge. Founded in 1966, SWC celebrates fine American craft through the Smithsonian Craft Show. The committee awards grants and endowments throughout the Smithsonian from the funds raised at the shows.

About Honoring the Future

Honoring the Future harnesses the power of art to educate, empower and engage the public on climate change. The nonprofit organization’s art exhibitions and programs spark conversation and inspire action to create a climate smart world. Since 2015, it has sponsored an annual Sustainability Award at the Smithsonian Craft Show to recognize artists whose work “educates the public about climate change or inspires or models a sustainable response to climate change.”

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Heidi Austreng

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