Winter 2023 American Craft Forum
Winter 2023 American Craft Forum
Houses Into Homes: How Craft Makes a Difference
Thursday, January 19, 2023
We kick off our 2023 year of American Craft Forums with a conversation exploring an inspiring partnership between The Furniture Society’s Craft for a Greater Good program and BeLoved Village. Through this collaboration, craft artists are contributing handmade furniture, homegoods, and more to a set of tiny homes being built in Asheville, North Carolina, for those who struggle with housing insecurity. Community is stronger with craft, and this partnership is a true, feet-on-the-ground example of the handmade making a difference in building stronger, more engaged communities.
Reverend Amy Cantrell created BeLoved Asheville with the intention of building a community for everyone, and BeLoved Village is one of many projects that she started to realize that mission. The Furniture Society’s Craft for a Greater Good program creates opportunities for the organization to contribute and give back to local communities. Thanks to a partnership with UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio, Furniture Society members and artists Ellie Richards and Annie Evelyn were selected as Local Resident Fellows to work with Cantrell and BeLoved Village to bring handcrafted elements to this neighborhood of micro-houses. A touch of handmade is helping turn what started out as simple, quality houses into homes with a good deal of heart.
Read more about this collaboration in the American Craft Winter 2023 article "Turning Houses Into Homes."
Brent Skidmore serves as Associate Professor of Art & Art History, Director of Craft Studies, and Public Arts and Humanities Chair at UNC Asheville, and he is co-founder of the STEAM Studio. He received his MFA in Sculpture from Indiana University in 1990 and a BFA in Sculpture from Murray State University in 1987.
While Brent’s background is in sculpture, his primary focus has been studio furniture until recently, when he began making sculpture again. When he is not working for UNC Asheville, in the Asheville community, or assisting with STEAM Studio projects, Brent is focused on mentorship and community work focused on social change through collaborative making. He has been teaching in many capacities for 31 years at universities and many of the craft programs across the nation such as Penland, Arrowmont, Haystack, Anderson Ranch, Peter’s Valley, and here at ACC. After being out on his own running Brent Skidmore Studio for eight years, Brent returned in 2004 to full-time teaching at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 2007, he accepted his current position at UNC Asheville where he continues to teach in the department of Art and Art History while collaborating with his peers in Engineering and Art to develop STEAM Studio @ the RAMP, a 12,000-square-foot fabrication and design lab built for interdisciplinary teams focused on collaboration and innovation.
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This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.