Since 1975, the American Craft Council has recognized people who have made an outstanding contribution to the crafts in America by awarding the distinction of Fellow of the Council. The body of awardees is known collectively as the College of Fellows. ACC names new fellows every other year.
To be nominated, an artist must demonstrate leadership in the field, outstanding ability as an artist or teacher, and 25 years or more of professional achievement as an American craftsperson. Awardees are nominated by the active College of Fellows—making this distinction even more meaningful because it is not awarded by critics, scholars, or collectors, but by one’s peers.
In addition to artists, individuals who have made their own significant contribution to the craft movement are nominated and elected as Honorary Fellows.
Every two years, one Fellow is recognized as a Gold Medalist, an award for a lifetime of achievements. It is the highest award given by the Council. Gold Medal awardees represent the extraordinary among a field of elite craftspeople. The significance cannot be overstated, and the value of material related to the individuals has proportional importance to the preservation and scholarship of American craft. Awardees are nominated by the College of Fellows and selected by the American Craft Council board of trustees.
This award recognizes an organization, institution, corporation, or individual who has made significant contributions to the field of craft with a minimum of 25 years of service.
The philanthropy award recognizes exceptional contributions to, and support of, the American Craft Council and the field of contemporary craft.
The Emerging Voices Awards recognize and support the next generation of makers and thinkers in the field of contemporary craft, decorative arts, and design. The biennial awards recognize one winner among five shortlisted emerging artists and one emerging scholar, critic, or contributor to the field for their body of published or unpublished work across all media. The ACC Emerging Voices Awards are made possible by the generous support of the John & Robyn Horn Foundation.
The Awards of Excellence recognize as many as 18 participating artists every year at the American Craft Council retail shows in Atlanta, Baltimore, Saint Paul, and San Francisco. Awarded by a changing roster of jurors selected for their contributions to their area arts communities, the Awards of Excellence are given in recognition of excellence in quality of work or for individual booth design. Past jurors have included curators, practicing artists, and scholars. Awardees receive automatic admission to exhibit during the following show season.