ASU Art Museum is the recipient of a two-year, $330,000 grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation in support of the establishment of the Windgate Contemporary Craft Initiative. This gift will support a series of contemporary craft exhibitions, visiting artists and scholars, new acquisitions, conservation, public and university programs and student awards in contemporary craft.
ASU Art Museum has a long-standing commitment to this particular area of interest.
“The museum was one of the first in the United States to present craft exhibitions and programs in the broader context of a contemporary art museum within a major research university. Since the 1950s, we have been a major force in contemporary craft through collecting, commissioning artists, contributing to the scholarly dialogue and presenting public exhibitions,” said Heather Sealy Lineberry, senior curator and interim director. “This generous support from the Windgate Charitable Foundation will allow for sustained, substantive contributions to the American contemporary craft scene, impacting artists, scholars, students and communities.”
The initiative includes exhibitions that will help to further discovery and dialogue in the field and will actively advance awareness of contemporary craft to a broad range of audiences. The fellows program will bring curators, scholars and practitioners to the museum and university to engage in innovative research, writing, teaching and curating on contemporary craft.
Collaborating with museum staff, School of Art faculty and community members, fellows will participate in classroom instruction, public presentations and workshops, and informal mentoring and critiques for students. In addition, fellows will go on to distribute their experiences and enhanced knowledge through their subsequent positions and roles across the country.
Finally, the museum’s International Artist Residency Program will provide contemporary craft artists with space and support to develop new bodies of work. The university context for this initiative allows for deep collaborations with faculty and students and impact on the next generation of artists.
ASU Art Museum’s relationship with the Windgate Charitable Foundation has been strong for well over 20 years prior to this current gift. The foundation has supported several museum exhibitions, ranging from “Turned Wood Now: Redefining the Lathe-Turned Object” (1997) to the recent “Wayne Higby: Infinite Place” (2013) and “Crafting a Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft” (2013). Also in 2013, support from the Windgate Charitable Foundation made possible the museum’s symposium “FlashBackForward: Rethinking Craft,” which explored critical issues facing contemporary craft locally, nationally and internationally.
The Windgate Charitable Foundation has also supported paid curatorial internships at ASU Art Museum since January 2005. ASU student interns are integrated into departments across the museum, working alongside the museum’s staff and mentoring in museum professional practice and research. After their graduation, many have become staff members at museums across the country including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Boise Art Museum and the Phoenix Art Museum.