Emerging Artists Cohort

Emerging Artists Cohort

Applications for the 2024 Emerging Artists Cohort Open Now!

American Craft Council’s Emerging Artists Cohort is a three-month program that cultivates the next steps for independent craft artists to advance their professional practices. The program will support 11 innovative artists early in their careers who expand craft boundaries and challenge us to new perspectives.

Through facilitated workshops, presentations, coaching, and conversations, participating artists will gain a deeper understanding of the professional skills and opportunities that will help them thrive in their chosen craft careers. Participating artists will connect with established industry leaders from various craft sectors including gallerists, curators, marketplace artists, exhibiting artists, social practice artists, designers, and more. After the three-month program is complete, all participating artists will receive an accelerator grant to help propel them to the next level of their profession, as well as receive ongoing support and peer connections through monthly meetings and an online communication platform via Slack.


APPLICATIONS OPEN!

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TIMELINE

Applications Open February 1, 2024
Applications Close: March 15, 2024, 11:59 MT
Round 1 Jury: March 23 — April 15, 2024
Round 2 Interviews: April 29 — May 25, 2024
Final Jury Result Notifications: June 7, 2024
Program Dates: July 9 — September 26, 2024

Emerging Artists Cohort Applications due Mar 15

Learn More About Applying to the EAC

Who Should Apply?

Recognizing many pathways to professional practice, ACC encourages a wide range of emerging artists exploring different livelihoods to apply and participate in this pilot program. Livelihoods and practices include retail, museum exhibitions, production work, cross-industry collaborations, and community-based practices. ACC prioritizes creating a diverse and equitable cohort, with an emphasis on communities that have traditionally lacked access to opportunities.

Additional requirements to participate include:

  • 18+ years of age, residing in the United States, ability to accept US bank-drawn checks
  • Identify as an artist, maker, designer, craftsperson, and/or small-batch producer who aspires to create a full-time creative practice or business
  • Willingness to complete the program in its entirety, including completing pre- and post-program surveys and final accelerator grant reports
What kind of work or practice is a good fit for the Cohort program?
  • Eligible artists produce handmade craft that reflects excellence and the unique vision of its maker or community and demonstrates interest in material and process. 
  • Traditional printmaking practices such as letterpress, intaglio, lithography, screen printing, relief printing, etc. are welcome.
  • Small-studio production work made under the direct supervision of the applicant. Direct supervision requires the artist to oversee production work as it occurs and provide constant direction, feedback, and assistance. 
  • All work must be produced in the United States. 

ACC will not consider commercially manufactured work, paintings, and photographs.

 

Emerging Artists Definition

Based on the guidelines of the Jerome Foundation (St. Paul, Minnesota), ACC embraces a broad definition that supports artists early in their careers, regardless of age, who create new work and:

  • Offer a distinct vision and authentic voice, and have a focused direction and goals
  • Take risks and embrace challenges
  • Show evidence of professional achievement but haven’t yet established a solid reputation as an artist/maker/business within their field, the media, funding circles, or the public at large
What Do Cohort Participants Receive?

The Emerging Artist Cohort program focuses on supporting artists to develop the necessary skills to create and sustain a professional practice in craft. The curriculum will include workshops, conversations, coaching sessions, panel discussions, and peer-to-peer community support. ACC takes a holistic approach to creative thinking and entrepreneurship development.

  • A virtual 12-week intensive that provides professional development education through workshops, panel discussions, conversations, coaching sessions, and peer-to-peer support. Each week includes up to 4 hours of meeting time plus homework.
  • One-on-one coaching opportunities to get the support needed from experts in the field.
  • Career-building educational resources and expert guidance and mentorship from industry leaders designed to drive career development
  • A Business Accelerator Grant: 10 unrestricted cash grants of $10,000 each to be used toward a project that is developed and planned during the intensive
  • After the intensive is complete, cohorts will join previous year cohorts in virtual monthly support calls, which include workshops, panel conversations, and peer-led discussion topics.
  • Ongoing peer community support platform using the Slack application. 
  • A one-year ACC membership that includes a subscription to American Craft magazine
  • Access to the ACC Library & Archives’ digital resources

Meet the 2024 Jurors

Sharif Bey headshot

Sharif Bey is a Syracuse-based artist and educator. Shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, Bey studied sculpture at The Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia. Later, he earned his BFA from Slippery Rock University, his MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and PhD (in art education) from Penn State University. Inspired by modernism, functional pottery, Oceanic Art and Art of the African diaspora, Bey’s works investigate the cultural and political significance of adornment and the symbolic and formal properties of archetypal motifs, while questioning how the meaning of icons and function transform across cultures and time.

His awards include: The United States Artist Fellowship, The Pollock-Krasner Fellowship, The New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and The J. William Fulbright Scholarship. Beys works are featured in numerous public collections including: The Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, The Carnegie Museum of Art, The Columbus Museum, The Dallas Museum of Art, The Mint Museum, The Nelson Atkins Museum and The Crocker Museum.

Vivian Chiu headshot

Vivian Chiu (b. 1989)  was born in Los Angeles and emigrated to Hong Kong at the age of three. Her interests in creating objects and the visual arts led her to attend the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA '11 Furniture Design) and Columbia University (MFA '19 Sculpture). Vivian primarily uses wood to create optical sculptures through repetitive labor intensive processes.

Vivian has attended residencies at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Penland School of Crafts, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Sculpture Space, Haystack Mountain School, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, and the Museum for Art in Wood. She was awarded a 2020 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Craft/Sculpture and the 2023-24 VMFA Fellowship. She is part of the 2022 American Craft Council Emerging Artists Cohort. Vivian currently lives and works in Richmond, VA.

Michael Janis headshot

Michael Janis, Co-Director of the Washington Glass School & Studio, merges two decades of architectural expertise with a disciplined approach to glass art. Since 2005, he oversees the studio’s site-specific and public art commissions.

His narrative artwork draws inspiration from his multicultural background as the child of a Chinese/Filipino immigrants.

A Fulbright Scholar at the UK’s University of Sunderland, his solo exhibition at the Fuller Craft Museum in 2011 became part of their permanent collection. His works are in museum collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Tacoma Museum of Glass, the Imagine Museum, and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Honored with the 31st Annual DC Mayor’s Arts Award, Janis is the Lowe Art Museum's 2024 Distinguished Artist, where he will be giving talks and lead Master Class workshops at the University of Miami in Spring 2024. Engaged as a consultant to the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities for 2023/2024, Janis is working with Washington, DC’s underserved communities creating commemorative public art and memorials.

Mary Savig headshot

Mary Savig is the Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery. She curated the Renwick Gallery’s 50th anniversary exhibition, This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World (2022) as well as the forthcoming permanent collection exhibitions Subversive, Skilled, Sublime: Fiber Art by Women and Handwork: Celebrating American Craft. She holds a PhD in American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Meet the 2024 Co-Facilitators

Headshot of Lindsay Noble

Lindsay Noble is an accomplished arts administrator who previously supported ACC’s artists in a variety of roles, including directing the American Craft Made Emerging Artists program for 7 years. Additionally, Lindsay co-developed and co-facilitated the first year of the Emerging Artist Cohort program and is thrilled to join the program again in 2024. She currently lives in Phoenix, AZ, with her partner and small Pekingese pup Dolly, and works as an account executive for a small design and marketing agency.

Headshot of Katie Johnson

Katie Johnson has a lifelong passion for art and a background as both a practicing artist and arts administrator. She received a BFA in Studio Art (Sculpture) and a BA in Art History from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and a Masters in Arts Administration from the University of Kentucky.

While living in Asheville, NC, Katie launched a pottery business, Birds Eye Pottery, where she made and sold porcelain tableware. She later moved to Pittsburgh, PA, and became the curator of public art for Robert Morris University and later director of Braddock Tiles, a non-profit program that worked with local youth to teach the art of tile making and job-readiness skills. In 2018 she joined Bridgeway Capital’s Creative Business Accelerator, where she grew the program to include over 1,000 artists, designers, and craftspeople over a tri-state region.

She joined ACC in 2023 and serves as the Director of Programs and Marketplaces. She also serves as a board member for Touchstone Center for Arts and hopes to build a home ceramics studio in 2024. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and two rescue dogs.

SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR PROGRAM SPONSORS 

Windgate logo.

The Emerging Artists Cohort is possible thanks to generous support from the Windgate Charitable Foundation and the Maxwell / Hanrahan Foundation.

HELP US CONTINUE SUPPORTING UP-AND-COMING ARTISTS

ACC is thrilled to be providing direct support and career mentorship to artists on their path to professional practice through the Emerging Artists Cohort. As a national nonprofit, we rely on the contributions of our members and donors to provide impactful programs like this one. Please join or donate to help ensure the Emerging Artists Cohort can continue in the years to come.

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