CRAFT A L L I A N C E
Craft Alliance (CA) is a non-profit exhibition and visual arts
education center in St. Louis, MO. The brainchild of six local artists, CA began as a cooperative gallery in the Central West End in 1964. Since then, CA has grown exponentially, culminating in the opening of a 5,400 sq. ft., state-of-the-art satellite in the Kranzberg Arts Center in Grand Center, St. Louisâ€™ vibrant arts and entertainment district, in August of 2008. This location has three major components: an exhibition series, community programming, and educational programming that includes studio classes and an artist residency program. CA continues to be the regional resource for contemporary craft. We believe every person has an innate creative spark and are committed to making our programs broadly accessible to the public. We reach out to the community with classes for students of all ages, at all skill levels, and from all socio-economic backgrounds; support a national community of artists by providing them opportunities to learn techniques, to teach and to earn their livelihoods through the sale of their work; and offer innovative exhibitions that challenge the perception of craft.
Multiple Personalities Delmar Gallery
Connected by concept and use of materials, Craft Allianceâ€™s three galleries present dynamic exhibitions that challenge the viewer with thought-provoking artistic content and innovative use of craft materials. While the Delmar exhibitions are object-oriented, those in the Kranzberg Arts Center focus on large, site-specific installations, creating an environment to be explored and experienced. All exhibitions are designed to challenge conventional notions of craft and to broaden the understanding of the role of craft media in contemporary art.
Ann Coddington Rast FLOCK Grand Center Gallery
Artists are chosen by national reputation, the quality of their work, ethnic diversity, variety of medium, and their ability to support Craft Allianceâ€™s mission to inspire and engage the community. The artist roster includes established as well as emerging artists from all over the world, and exhibitions have featured the
work of Kate Anderson, Jennifer Angus, Michael Bauermeister, Lauren Kalman, Elizabeth Keithline, Brenda Page, MiKyoung Lee, Gerhard Ribka, Jeffrey Sarmiento, Michael Shaugnessy, Buzz Spector, Munemitsu Taguchi, and Paul Wong.
Stephanie Liner Grand Center Gallery
The gallery in the Kranzberg Arts Center in Grand Center gallery allows visitors the rare chance to see resident studio artists at work and to experience site-specific, installation art. Students in our outreach and educational programs interact with exhibiting artists (some even asist in istalling the exhibits), get docent-led tours, and create work inspired by the exhibits.
The Artist-In-Residence Program was designed to address the need in the artist community for dedicated time and space to further develop their creative work and to interact with the public. In its three years of existence, the program has proven to be very successful: participating artists have called it “distinctly supportive of the artist’s profession” and “valuable in helping to move my work forward,” the artist-in-residence exhibitions have received critical acclaim in the media, and the number and quality of applications for the program continues to grow.
Will Rimel - Clay
Kelsey Wiskirchen - Fiber
Laura Elizabeth Mullen - Metals
“ the nimble fingers molding a beautiful object out of clay,
the big smile on a child’s face as he discovers the joy of making art,
the heat of the torch melting a piece of silver into something to be coveted…
Craft Alliance is the only organization in the region that teaches craft techniques in highly specialized studios equipped for work in glass, metals, clay, wood and fiber. Each year, 3,000 students sign up for our education programs and transform their creative ideas into tangible art objects.
Studio Classes, Workshops & Summer Camps
Create Arts programs teach a specific set of thinking skills rarely addressed elsewhere in the school curriculum: art teaches students how to learn from mistakes and press on, how to commit and follow through, say Lois Hetland and Ellen Winner, authors of Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits of Visual Art Education. Their study also found that the arts help students to “envision” which, for instance, can help a student generate a hypothesis in science or imagine past events in history class. Craft Alliance’s innovative community outreach programs – the Mural Arts Program (MAP), ArtSmarts and Crafting-A-Future (CAF) – enrich the lives of 4,500 students, in particular students that are artistically underserved. Through studio classes, exhibition tours and interactions with working artists, our outreach programs offer students in-depth arts experiences that positively impact their lives.
ArtSmart Described as “enormously beneficial” by a teacher from St. Louis’s Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, ArtSmarts is a unique educational arts program which fills a void in urban schools with under-funded art departments. Students visit Craft Alliance studios during field three two-hour trips designed to introduce them to contemporary craft in our studios and exhibitions. Led by professional artists, students learn the basic techniques and history involved in flame worked glass, ceramics, metalsmithing and fiber arts. In addition to the hands-on studio activity, students participate in docent lectures in our galleries.
Creating-A-Future Crafting-A-Future (CAF) is a four-year art mentoring program that provides education in craft media to high school students throughout the St. Louis metro area. The curriculum concentrates on the development of concepts and techniques particular to the field of contemporary craft. Students work closely with local artists in Craft Allianceâ€™s jewelry/metalsmithing, fiber, clay, and graphics studios to develop a body of work. In addition to their studio work, students are exposed to the work of internationally and nationally known artists through exhibitions and lectures. Craft Alliance challenges the students throughout their study to develop their technique and concepts, exhibit their work, and build a portfolio in preparation for post secondary education.
Mural Arts Program
Craft Alliance has collaborated with area schools in mural residencies since the inception of the Mural Arts Program (MAP) in 1995. Teaching artists work with students over several months culminating in a permanent public work that is installed in their school. Students demonstrate their confidence and ability to inform and fulfill a cohesive visual statement while applying sophisticated studio art processes. Through the creative process, students experience writing, art and mathematics while developing problem-solving and cooperation skills. Throughout the residencies, students find ways to employ creative and classical educational strategies that connect their work to a larger context outside of their scholastic environment. Their work becomes part of a larger conversation that speaks about the stewardship of a school, its ability to anchor a neighborhood, and enrich the lives of those around it.
Collaborations 1. Saint Louis University 2. Cardinal Ritter, Central VPS Elementary, Cole Elementary, Construction Careers Center, Dunbar Elementary, Innovative Concept Academy, Loyola Academy, Metro High School, Woodward Elementary 3. Grand Center, Inc. 4. Circus Flora 5. Juvenile Detention Center 6. Muddy Waters Theatre 7. On-Site Theatre 8. The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts 9. Academy of Science St. Louis