[Visionaries in Craft] The Eliot School of Fine and Applied Crafts

[Visionaries in Craft] The Eliot School of Fine and Applied Crafts

Abigail Norman and Alison Croney Moses | Boston, Massachusetts
Published on Thursday, July 7, 2022. This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of American Craft Magazine.
two women sitting at a table in a workshop with papers and laptop smiling at each other

Photo by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.

The Eliot School inspires lifelong learning in craft and creativity for all. Founded as a grammar school in 1676, it taught children for 200 years. In the 19th century, it turned to manual arts, supporting vocational education, then offering classes in cabinetmaking, sewing, carving, basketry, and other crafts to adults as well as kids.

two women wearing face masks and protective glasses working in a shop at a table saw

Photo by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.

Throughout the 20th century, the school served mostly white Bostonians. But its embrace has widened since then. A recent day included a multiracial teen group reflecting on identity through linoleum prints, a white retired surgeon crafting a side table, and a Latinx seventh-grader sewing her own clothes. The school has taken a thought leadership role on issues of racial inequity in craft and art education. In 2020, it began a series of online salon talks on racial equity in craft, and Associate Director Alison Croney Moses—a 2022 United States Artists Fellow—co-leads the national Racial Equity in Craft Peer Learning Group. She’s pictured above (on the left) in the wood shop with student Tanya Nixon-Silberg.

persons hands working on a handmade leather shoe on a shop table

Photo by Gretjen Helene Photography.

“We’ll know we’ve had impact,” say Moses (top photo, left) and Eliot Executive Director Abigail Norman (top photo, right), “when all identities see themselves represented in their art teachers, in art studios, in woodshops, in the leadership of organizations and businesses—showing that they belong in these spaces and are part of defining them.”

eliotschool.org | @eliotschoolcraft

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