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Meet Crafting the Future! 

Introducing Crafting The Future (CTF), a network of artists working to diversify the fields of art, craft, and design by connecting BIPOC artists with opportunities that will help them thrive.  CTF partners with Youth Arts Organizations across the country to provide their students with scholarships to renowned Craft schools and pre-college programs. Led by director Corey Pemberton (@instantglassic), this mighty team of makers is not only creating pathways into the field for BIPOC artists, but offer continued support once these artists have arrived. CTF has established partnerships with art and craft institutions across the country such as Penland School of Craft, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, YAYA Arts Center, and many more. Recently, we had a chance to interview Crafting The Future on their most recent initiatives and programming, including a glimpse at a recent virtual workshop with renowned artist Cristina Cordova (@cristinacordovastudio). Learn more about Crafting the Future on their website and read the full interview here.

Meet Crafting the Future!
NCECA: With the pandemic presenting so much uncertainty, how have you adjusted to continue to support young artists as well as the greater craft community?

CTF: We weren’t able to send students to craft schools this summer, so instead we shifted our focus to raising more funds for next year and forming new partnerships so that we can serve a broader community once the pandemic is under control. We were also able to offer workshops over zoom taught by professional makers of color for the students at Yaya, one of our partnering youth arts organizations, ultimately reaching 4 times as many students as we would have in person. We also were able to support several students with grants and commissions to support their practices from afar. 

NCECA: Within your organization, members can form “crews”. Why are crews important and how can they help CTF accomplish more for the community?
CTF: We have been challenging our community to think about incorporating acts of service into their everyday practices, and they have accepted the challenge, conducting constant fundraisers on our behalf. It’s good for us because it is a consistent stream of revenue for the organization and because it illustrates the power of our community to affect change by working together. It’s good for the world because it encourages people to think outside of themselves and work towards creating a more equitable and inclusive society, not just at this moment, but in perpetuity. 

NCECA: Can you speak on the success and unexpected surprises through your #Postmarked exhibition? Any additional details behind the gallery’s long-term vision?
CFT: We thought it was going to be a stretch to corral 150 submissions for #postmarked (that was our original goal). So imagine our surprise to have received 400 submissions! People had such great fun creating these little works of art for us (each postcard is made from a craft process, including ceramics). It was a great way for people to feel a part of something in such a solitary time. All the postcards looked so amazing together, a symbol of the strength of community and the beauty of diversity. And we weren’t sure if we’d be able to sell them all, but our community stepped up and made 400 donations at $30 each, putting us much closer to securing our Penland endowment. 

Learn more about Crafting the Future at

Image 1: Penland and CTF crew meeting over zoom (founding members +)
Image 2: Postmarked Group Installation Shot
Image 3: YAYA student during Cristina Cordova Zoom Workshop
Image 4: Shanti Broom during an iron workshop at Penland
Image 5: Rachel Mauser (Director of Steam Exchange, a partnering youth arts organization modeling Crafting the Future merchandised designed by artist Shawn Jones
(CTF grant recipient and commissioned artist).