Crystal Bridges announces $17.5 million gift to advance American craft

“The Home of the Brave” by Consuelo Jimenez Underwood was created in 2013 from wire, silk, fabric, safety pins and synthetic and natural threads. The work appears as part of the collection “Crafting America,” scheduled to debut in February 2021 at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Photo by Bill Apton

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has received a $17.5 million gift from the Windgate Foundation to advance the field of American craft.

The money will pay for a dedicated position, research, programmatic support, and will provide funding to acquire craft objects for the museum’s permanent collection. The gift builds upon the museum’s “Crafting America” exhibition.

“Craft is important for Crystal Bridges and aligns with our mission because it is an inherently inclusive field that has been more accessible to women, people of color, immigrants, Indigenous peoples, and other marginalized communities,” said Rod Bigelow, Crystal Bridges executive director and chief diversity and inclusion officer.

Anne Lemanski, “Tigris T-1,” 2018, copper rod, archival print on paper, artificial sinew, epoxy and plastic, 64x61x30 in., Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, gift of Fleur S. Bresler.

Photo: Steve Mann

Robyn Horn, Windgate Foundation Board Chair, said contemporary crafts in America are the backbone of the creative community that enable artists to develop the skills to produce the work they envision.

“It is reassuring that Crystal Bridges acknowledges this fact and will begin to collect contemporary objects as well as displaying them with their upcoming Crafting America exhibition,” said Horn.

Crafting America” opens Feb. 6, 2021 and runs through the end of May. It features over 100 works in ceramics, fiber, wood, metal, glass, and other materials from artists such as Ruth Asawa, Peter Voulkos, Jeffrey Gibson, Sonya Clark, and more.