Emerging Artists Cohort

Emerging Artists Cohort

Emerging Artists Cohort webpage graphic

The American Craft Council’s Emerging Artists Cohort is a new three-month pilot program that cultivates the next step for independent craft artists to advance their professional careers. The program will support 12 innovative artists new to their careers who expand craft boundaries and challenge us to new perspectives.

Through facilitated workshops, presentations, and conversations, participating artists will gain a deeper understanding of the professional skills and opportunities that will help them diversify income streams and thrive in their chosen careers. Participating artists will connect with established industry leaders from a variety of 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 incubator grant to help propel them to the next level of their profession.

What do cohort participants receive?

  • A 12-week intensive that provides support in the form of workshops, panel discussions, conversations, coaching sessions, and peer-to-peer support
  • Career-building educational resources and expert guidance and mentorship from industry leaders, designed to drive career development
  • A Business Incubator Grant: 12 unrestricted cash grants of $1,000 each to be used toward a project that is developed and planned during the intensive
  • Community support platform
  • A one-year ACC membership that includes a subscription to American Craft magazine
  • Access to the ACC Library & Archives’ digital resources


  • Applications close: May 26
  • Round 1 jury results: June 11
  • Round 2 interviews: June 14–23
  • Final jury result notifications: June 25
  • Program dates: July 9–September 30

Applications Are Currently Closed

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

View Application Details

Meet the Application Jurors

Portrait of Rebekah Frank

Rebekah Frank received her Master of Fine Arts in Jewelry/Metalsmithing from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2012 and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jewelry/Metalsmithing from Texas State University in 2010. Her chosen material is steel, a fascination discovered through a challenge received when she was 18. Her creative practice has focused on that material ever since, working as a blacksmith, a welder, a machinist, and, currently, a jeweler. She worked with Art Jewelry Forum, an international nonprofit dedicated to the appreciation of art jewelry, from 2012 to 2018, leading the organization as the executive director from 2015 to 2018. Rebekah’s studio practice is based in the Mission District of San Francisco, California, and she exhibits, lectures, and teaches workshops nationally and internationally. Her work can be found in the permanent collection of the Cranbrook Art Museum and CODA Appeldoorn as well as the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation, the Rotasa Foundation, and many private collections worldwide. Portrait by Lydia Daniller. rebekahfrank.com

Portrait of Courtney M Leonard

Courtney M. Leonard is a Shinnecock artist and filmmaker whose work explores marine biology, Indigenous food sovereignty, migration, and human environmental impact. Leonard’s current projects articulate the multiple definitions of the term breach and investigate and document Indigenous communities’ historical ties to water, marine life, and native cultures of subsistence.

In collaboration with national and international museums, embassies, cultural institutions, and local Indigenous communities in North America, New Zealand, and Nova Scotia, Leonard’s practice centers narratives of cultural viability and the relationship between Indigenous people and the environmental record.

Leonard’s work is in the permanent collections of the United States Art in Embassies, the Crocker Art Museum, the Heard Museum, the ASU Art Museum and Ceramic Research Center, the Peabody Essex Museum, the Newark Museum, the Weisman Art Museum, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of the North, the Mystic Seaport Museum, the Pomona Museum of Art, the Hood Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, the Autry Museum, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. courtneymleonard.com

Portrait of Corey Pemberton

Corey Pemberton was born in Reston, Virginia, and received his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012. He has completed residencies at The Pittsburgh Glass Center (Pennsylvania), Bruket (Bodø, Norway), as well as a Core Fellowship at the Penland School of Crafts (North Carolina). He currently resides in Los Angeles, California, where he splits his time between Crafting the Future, production glass blowing, and his painting practice. Pemberton strives to bring together people of all backgrounds and identities, breaking down stereotypes and building bridges—not only through his work with Crafting The Future but with his personal artistic practice as well. coreypemberton.com

Introducing Our Program Facilitators

Portrait of Lindsay Noble

Lindsay Noble is ACC's engagement manager, overseeing the emerging artists program while researching and piloting innovative engagement strategies to better respond to the needs of artists and the craft field. With more than 10 years of experience working in the arts, Lindsay's love of the arts and its communities has led her to build authentic and long-lasting relationships with program partners and community members. She received a BFA in printmaking and a minor in art history from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and remains an active and engaged figure in the Minneapolis and St. Paul arts communities.

Portrait of Gwynne Rukenbrod Smith

Gwynne Rukenbrod Smith is ACC’s director of community and creative work and specializes in craft entrepreneurship and creative economies. She has worked with both rural and urban communities, teaching her professional development and creative entrepreneurship workshops across the country over the last 20 years. Gwynne believes in helping artists and small business owners expand their markets and create sustainable businesses, and in the power of a strong craft ecology. Portrait by Nicole McConville Photography.

Questions about the Emerging Artist Cohort?

Please contact program facilitator and ACC engagement manager Lindsay Noble at [email protected]

HEADER GRAPHIC: Artist and designer Yvonne Mouser in her Oakland studio (top left). Photo by Mark Tuschman.