Tennessee Association of Craft Artists (Tennessee Craft)
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615-736-7600
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2423 Eugenia Ave
Nashville, TN 37211
Organization Details

Programs

Budget
$16,600.00
Description
The Master Artist/Apprentice Program is a mentoring program offered in concert with the Tennessee Arts Commission in which three artists study and create under the guidance of three highly-acclaimed professional artists (or Masters) for six months to learn new skills and knowledge to refine their art in order to achieve a higher level of artistic and professional development. Each Master/Apprentice pair works from and reports on planned goals that are documented as a contract and reviewed by the Tennessee Arts Commission and Tennessee Craft. The program culminates in an exhibition of new work from the Master/Apprentice pairs at the Tennessee Arts Commission Gallery every fall.

Apprentice applicants not funded are extended a complimentary one year Tennessee Craft membership, benefiting from application to other Tennessee Craft member and their regional chapter opportunities, including artist peer networking.
Program Successes
100% of apprentices accomplish the goals in their plan created at the onset of their apprenticeship.65 artists have participated directly in the apprenticeship. 100% of master and apprentice pairs exhibit art made during the apprenticeship at the Tennessee Arts Commission. Testimonials include:
• Post 2018 MAAP program, wood artist apprentice was invited to place one of his art pieces in the permanent collection of the Tennessee Museum.
• "The MAAP program has broadened my horizons. All of this is informing the evolution of my work creatively, but also which aspects of my business I will choose to grow."
• "The MAAP apprenticeship program was a wonderful experience and pivotal moment in my growth as an artist. The guidance and mentorship I received will always be a building block in my journey as an artist."
• "MAAP has been a window into the inner-workings of a master's studio and my craft has benefited immensely from this time."

Category
Arts, Culture & Humanities  - Visual Arts Instruction 
Beneficiaries
Adults
Long-term Success
The success of the Master Artist Apprentice Program (MAAP), a partnership of Tennessee Craft and the Tennessee Arts Commission, is an immersive, apprenticeship model of learning between three sets of craft artist masters and apprentices. Since program inception 11 years ago, 66 total artists have participated and benefited. Demographic figures documented and tracked include under-served, rural and underrepresented for the participating artists and the project's audience. Advancement opportunities for participating artists within the arts community and in the craftsmanship of their work post program are significantly increased, evidenced by participation in exhibitions such as the Best of Tennessee biennial exhibition, invitations as exhibiting artists in juried craft fairs such as the Tennessee Craft Fairs, increase in artist commissions and gallery exposure.


Short-term Success
The program offers a six-month 80-180 hours immersive apprenticeship. The program contracts with master artists by offering a period of concentrated learning for apprentices, who make application to the program, are interviewed and are encouraged to show their current art to a panel that includes the masters and representatives from the Tennessee Arts Commission and Tennessee Craft. Each master and apprentice pair construct and document up to three goals for their apprenticeship and provide reports at three benchmark periods during the apprenticeship which include goal and project progress. Each pair at the end of the apprenticeship submits a final report. Success is visible and shared with the community at the culminating exhibition of work by masters and apprentices executed during the apprenticeship in the Tennessee Art Commission gallery.
Apprentices experience success via newfound knowledge of industry-specific knowledge and training.

Program Success Monitored By
Program success if monitored by:
• All artists in the program are asked to choose challenging goals that elevates their skills and knowledge as craft artists. MAAP was created to help artists reach the next level of their professional development during an intensive six-month one-on-one mentorship, not typically available in most learning environments.
• Apprentices submit progress reports on each goal with photos of art and apprenticeship photos at three benchmark periods during the apprenticeship.
• Exhibition showcasing art created during the apprenticeship of each apprenticeship pair at the Tennessee Arts Commission Gallery each fall.
• Studio visits are conducted when MAAP masters and apprentices are in session by Tennessee Craft program staff.

Program Areas Served
Statewide
Budget
$35,000.00
Description
Six regional chapters across the state serve as vehicles by which craft artists initiate activities in their home communities. Chapters bring the business and process of creating fine craft to life with neighbors, other business owners, and interested community organizations. Members plan and execute local projects such as artist studio tours, auctions, exhibits, show-and-tell meetings, and other learning content that expands understanding of individual media and its use in fine craft. Informal mentorships, one of the most popular Tennessee Craft-sponsored activities, are also developed at the chapter level. Regional chapter's active involvement in membership recruitment and retention are also fruitful ways that members learn, as well as organizing their own participation in our Emerging Makers Tent at each of the two craft fairs (see Background). Here, members incubate their businesses and gain valuable experience with access to professional guidance.
Program Areas Served
Statewide
Budget
$50,000.00
Description
Tennessee Craft offers adults and children experiences that inspire our next generation of craft artists and appreciators. This happens in the form of educational demonstrations, hands-on activities and through other partnerships at our fairs, in schools and elsewhere in the community. Tennessee Craft presented its inaugural TENNESSEE CRAFT WEEK, Oct. 2-11, 2015, which continues today. Our efforts have been in community organizing, encouraging unique and interactive events that draw publicity to craft and craft artists (see accomplishments), and in telling the stories so the public can connect to these special opportunities to visit with craft artists. In the DEMO TENT at each Craft Fair, Tennessee Craft partners with artist groups to illustrate a broad range of fine craft techniques from organizations that can offer next steps to those interested. And Tennessee Craft collaborates with dozens of area arts organizations in our KIDS' TENT to develop and present diverse craft activities.
Program Areas Served
Statewide
Budget
$20,000.00
Description
Artists acquire and refine skills for their craft and business through our workshops, mentorships, and paid opportunities such as demonstrations, awards and scholarships; plus resume-building exhibit opportunities. Participating in these activities connects one with a professional and social network that supports, educates, challenges and encourages the artist. Mentorship serves as a cornerstone of the work we do. Informally, artists work with members in their region to gain skills and knowledge about their craft and business. Individuals connect in-person at local chapter meetings, statewide committee meetings and online, via digital resources we provide to members. Formally, artist pairs participate in the Master Artist Apprentice Program, a funded one-on-one mentoring program supported by the Tennessee Arts Commission. Through fundraising events, partnerships and special funding we continue to allocate dollars to scholarships for students with need, financial and otherwise.
Program Areas Served
Statewide
Budget
$20,000.00
Description
The first Tennessee Craft Biennial Exhibition entitled The Best of Tennessee Craft occurred in 1966 and has been ongoing since, with 2 or 3 exceptions. Tennessee Craft celebrates this opportunity to spotlight a unique part of Tennessee culture and recognize, encourage and build professional experience plus reward excellence with cash awards and purchases. This event raises the profile of craft and allows artists to have their work in front of many esteemed eyes, shaping an artist's career and building a collector base. Museum purchases often result, preserving fine work for future generations to appreciate and understand. Tennessee Craft hires an out-of-state juror to select work for this prestigious gallery or museum exhibition, a juror who can connect those selected with broad-based opportunities known by the juror. Because of connections made and the confidence instilled, acceptance into Tennessee Craft's museum exhibit can serve to launch a Tennessee artist into national circles.
Program Areas Served
Statewide
Budget
$200,000.00
Description
Tennessee Craft is most known for its twice-yearly juried craft shows in Nashville's Centennial Park, where 45-50,000 visitors flock to this premier buyers' market. Our spring fair showcases the largest selection of 21st century Tennessee craft exhibited at one time in the country, jurying in 200+ fine craft artists. The fairs are FREE to the public and held in accessible settings. For artists, the competition and awards signify achievement and recognition and build resumes. Fairgoers watch as craft artists demonstrate a variety of crafts, allowing the public to meet the maker and learn about the processes of making. For children, a kids' tent provides the opportunity to experience creative activities, nurturing our next generation of craft artists and collectors. A combination of public and private sponsors make the craft fairs possible.
Program Areas Served
Middle Tennessee and Nationwide

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

As the only networked community of its kind across the state, Tennessee Craft, with more than 500+ members throughout the state, nurtures talent and creates artist connections through year-round professional development programs funded by donors, grants, and signature exhibition events. We've been Tennessee's largest, most visible and most respected craft organization since 1965. Struggles include: we compete in Nashville's competitive marketplace to afford the staff talent that can produce significant impact on artists lives and careers. Cost and location of office and storage space. Turnover within a small staff causes overwork and contributes to the fragility most arts nonprofits must feel. On a positive note, we celebrate and promote TN's wide and rich craft traditions and support and promote craft artists so they can continue to thrive, continue to create and sustain a business; all worthy work. Adding Tennessee Craft Week (TCW) as a new program in 2015 was a large undertaking and an extension of our resources beyond what we had, but it's an idea we recognized as a fulfillment of a major strategic goal. While we have ongoing sponsorship support from the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development, the program's budget still needs additional sponsorships. We see an opportunity with this program to partner with TN's Dept of Economic and Community Development or another organization with a similar purpose of stimulating the economy through the arts. Monetizing craft activities can be difficult, as pay-for-experience models typically exclude visual art. For example, the public doesn't expect to pay-to-shop at craft fairs or attend a gallery opening. Other national craft fairs of our caliber do charge $8-$10 or more per day, but doing so in Nashville would decrease attendance and could disrupt our following, both of craft artists and fair goers. Our aim includes advocacy for craft and building the marketplace over time, so accessibility is key to that part of our mission, thus our current decision to charge no gate fee. We continue to believe current programming has a significant impact on the craft sector and benefits so many, and look in the future for further state and federal support of some kind, so that Tennessee Craft Week becomes both sustainable and known as something people never miss and always look forward to, as they do our twice-yearly Craft Fairs. Looking at the immediate future, at our state's and communities' changing demographics and cultural landscape, we recognize the need for a thorough review of our audience, programming and methods of engaging the public, so our vision remains relevant. Each year we strategically refine and advance Tennessee Craft's vision, values and delivery of mission in the coming year and continue and advance our state-wide inclusion within all communities. In 2021 and beyond, we will listen, learn, and continue to adapt to meet the "the new normal, post-pandemic" needs of Tennessee members and artists and the arts community throughout Tennessee and maintain programming models, many which are now honed from successfully execution during the height of the 2020-21 health pandemic, that can swiftly be re-evaluated and implemented per health mandates and as prudent.