The American Craft Council’s (ACC’s) San Francisco show is something we look forward to every year: the quality’s high, the work often extraordinary, and the attendees knowledgeable, excited, and committed to supporting art, craft, and design.
But what we’re particularly excited about this year is the presence of California College of the Arts (CCA) which will be showing off the work of 29 artists from every craft program within CCA. Fresh talent, pushing boundaries and notions of what craft can be is going to be a great addition to the SF show. And we already know the talent level is high within CCA.
This is all part of the Craft Council’s School-to-Market program, one of the major educational initiatives of the Council. Under the program, partnering institutions give their students a chance to bridge the gap between educational curriculum in craft and the marketplace, and see what it’s like to exhibit and sell their work in a curated and collective venue at the ACC shows.
The ACC currently partners with CCA for the ACC’s San Francisco show, Virginia Commonwealth University for the Baltimore show, and Savannah College of Art and Design for ACC’s Atlanta show.
The School-to-Market partner institutions each create and host a gallery or booth, with students working with faculty representatives. Each of the CCA artists listed will be exhibited alongside their classmates in the CCA-designed and organized space.
Who are we excited about? We can’t wait to see all of it, of course, but we like what we’ve seen work by:
- Aryana Hirtler, a metalsmith whose gorgeous silver pieces showed both masterful craftsmanship and fresh design
- Dean Schneider, whose gorgeous hand-turned tops manage to be modern and traditional
- Yoojin Kim, a large-installation sculptor who works with unexpected materials. (We won’t give away the secret to what these are.)
But it’s not just about the work.
What’s great about CCA’s participation is that it’s part of a larger initiative to give students a chance to better understand what it’s like to move from dealing with the “feedback” of peers and professors to dealing with the “feedback” of the marketplace.
This is the second year of the ACC/CCA collaboration and it’s spun off some significant benefits. The first CCA School-to-Market booth exhibited the work of students and alumni from five programs at the ACC show in Baltimore. The work was seen by Etsy executives, magazine editors, museum board members, gallery owners, collectors, and store buyers. Significant sales were made, but more importantly, students had the opportunity to test the market and learn valuable lessons through this hands-on experience.
The show experience was an instant hit.
Based on this feedback, CCA recognized that students in the craft studio areas need and want to learn more about marketing their work and created a course called School-to-Market to meet that need. In the course, which is co-taught and designed by CCA’s David Cole and Anne Wolf, students learn about the business of art and craft: finding your market, pricing, designing for production, methods and venues for marketing and selling work, and gaining exposure. A big part of the program is about giving students a chance to meet and learn from artists who make a living out of art and craft.
The participants in the course will collaborate to run this year’s School-to-Market booth at the ACC show. They’re also learning about designing and running booths, collaboration, and the rough and tumble of the marketplace.
Anne Wolf says, “It’s the reality of our times: the economy is on the minds of our students. These days, they are much more hungry to understand how to make a living as artists. And it’s great to have the opportunity that the ACC show affords.”
Having market and business-savvy artists and makers is a good thing, about as good as seeing fresh new work and artists. Long may these collaborations continue.
ACC Show, San Francisco
Fort Mason Center, Festival Pavilion, San Francisco, CA
Friday, August 3, from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Saturday, August 4, from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sunday, August 5, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m
Special Friday Evening Admission: $5 after 5 pm.