American Craft Council Executive Director Sarah Schultz To Step Down After Three Years of Leadership

American Craft Council Executive Director Sarah Schultz To Step Down After Three Years of Leadership

Published on Tuesday, June 15, 2021.
Portrait of Sarah Schultz standing against a cream brick wall

We share this news with hearts full of gratitude for the vision and guidance Sarah has brought to our nonprofit since she joined our team in 2018. Her last day will be August 31, 2021.

“During the past year, I had time to reflect on those things I hold dear: my family and my creative life. There is no better time than now for me to focus on those things,” Sarah says.

Gary Smith, chair of the ACC Board of Trustees, has this to say of Sarah’s contribution to our organization: “Sarah did what she promised to do. She brought creativity, energy, and vision to an organization that is on its way to celebrating its 80th year, and she has positioned the organization for the future in a way that celebrates and supports the talent and diversity of American craft artists and makers who dedicate their careers to their craft. Sarah led the council deftly through a tumultuous year, and with a dedicated and talented team, is leaving ACC prepared to serve the field of craft in expansive, creative ways.”

During her tenure, Sarah built on ACC’s strengths as a catalyst and champion for American craft. Embracing an expanded vision of craft and a desire to connect ACC to new and more diverse generations of artists and enthusiasts, she ushered in a redesigned American Craft magazine, introduced new programs including American Craft Forums and the Lois Moran Award for Craft Writing, and organized Present Tense, a national conference that explored craft's relevance and influence in American culture today. When COVID-19 caused the cancellation of ACC’s long-standing in-person craft shows, Sarah helped us quickly pivot and build out new e-commerce marketplaces and expand our support for artists, breathing new energy into the creative craft economy.

“We will miss her, and we will also celebrate her leadership that brought us to where we are—a strong, visionary organization with broad impact across the country. Sarah positioned ACC for growth and collaboration, with a strong team, creative and engaged trustees, and a wider community of stakeholders. It was our honor to work with her, and we wish her the very best in her future pursuits,” Gary adds.

“My reasons for leaving are deeply personal, and deeply rooted in where I need to be now,” Sarah says. “I’m incredibly proud and inspired by what the staff and the ACC Board have been able to accomplish and launch at ACC, particularly during the challenging period of the pandemic. We are supporting artists in innovative ways, expanding our content about craft, and are fully committed to fostering an inclusive, equitable. and diverse organization and craft field.”

The ACC Board of Trustees will be launching a nation-wide search for a new executive director. Judy Hawkinson, who is currently ACC’s development director, will act as the interim executive director.