Smithsonian Craft Show Celebrates America’s Creative Spirit

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Smithsonian Craft Show Celebrating the Creative Spirit of America which will take place April 19 through 22, with a preview benefit on April18 at the National Building Museum. First Lady Michelle Obama has agreed to be the honorary chair of what is widely regarded as the country’s most prestigious juried show and sale of fine American craft.

On April 19, Michel Monroe, former curator-in-charge of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, will present an illustrated lecture, “The White House Collection of American Crafts,” featuring the collection of contemporary American crafts he curated for the Clintons in the White House. On Sunday, “The Craftful Table,” a panel discussion with leading designers on creating a table that is a feast for the senses will be followed by White House florist Laura Dowling’s demonstration of gracing the table with flowers.

One-of-a-kind or limited edition works in 12 different media—from furniture and ceramics to glass and wearable art—will showcase the work of 121 distinguished craft artists, 44 new to the show this year. In addition, students from the Savannah College of Art and Design will present their innovative work in a special exhibition of emerging artists.

The Craft Show is even going green. This is the first year of a “Repurposed Materials” award. Artists have been asked to include in their artist statements the use of repurposed materials, including found objects given new uses and meanings.

An online auction, running April 11 through 25, will feature more than 100 exceptional craft objects generously donated by current and past exhibitors and other talented artists, as well as a limited number of tickets for local attractions and special tours. Visit

Anne-lise Auclair-Jones and Ann Peel are Craft Show co-chairs. Wendy Somerville Wall is president of the Smithsonian Women’s Committee which produces the annual event to support education, outreach and research at the Smithsonian Institution through an annual competitive grants program. More than $9 million has been awarded since 1966.

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