Celebration of Craft on April 2 commemorates 25th anniversary of Craft Center

An annual event that supports educational outreach programs for the Appalachian Center for Craft is more than just a celebration of craft this year.

The seventh annual Celebration of Craft — set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 2 — also commemorates the 25th anniversary this year of the Craft Center, a satellite campus of Tennessee Tech University.

In recognition of the occasion, the Craft Center is hosting a special alumni reunion dinner on the Friday night before the celebration.

“Invitations have been sent to former students, resident artists and faculty in hopes of getting this group of talented artists together for the first time in the Craft Center’s history,” said Jane Morgan Roberts, promotions and development manager.

For the public, a photo-history of the facility will be on display in the café during the event, which also offers narrated demonstrations in all five Craft Center studios (clay, fibers, glass, metals and wood), a silent auction, a fine craft sale by the TTU Student Visual Arts Society, hands-on craft activities for children and live music.

Featured groups include the Cluster Pluckers, Little Sarah’s Orchestra, TTU’s West African drumming and dance ensemble ABUSUA, and acoustic guitarist Jim Olsen.

Another highlight of this year’s event includes the Silent Auction Showcase, where fine craft items that will be available at the celebration’s silent auction will be exhibited for preview in Gallery One from March 17 through April 2. Bidding begins on the day of the celebration.

The Friends of the Appalachian Center for Craft of Tennessee will also present a $500 scholarship at this year’s celebration.

FACCT is a non-profit advocacy organization that promotes the mission of the Craft Center. It began in 1997 when the university’s $1.8 million budget shortfall temporarily but seriously threatened the future of the facility and its bachelor of fine arts academic program.

The first FACCT scholarships were presented during last year’s Celebration of Craft. Two scholarships were awarded to bachelor of fine arts majors with a craft concentration in clay, fibers, glass metals or wood; with a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher in studio courses; and had worked or volunteered for FACCT within the last year.

“It’s hard to believe this is the seventh annual Celebration of Craft,” said Gail Gentry, workshop and event coordinator. “It’s such a fun time for all of us at the Craft Center because it’s an opportunity for the public to experience the great things that are happening here.”

“We’re thrilled that so many people come, bring their families and enjoy this day of craft because they are supporting our educational outreach programs that serve more than 3,500 regional school children each year and getting information about all the Craft Center programs,” Gentry continued.

Although the celebration itself is a free event, proceeds from the sale of commemorative T-shirts and silent auction items both directly serve as fundraisers by FACCT to provide art-related educational outreach programs to the children of the Upper Cumberland.

A Gallery discount of 10 percent off all items and a 20 percent discount for TTU employees who present valid Eagle Card identification will also be offered during the celebration.

The Craft Center’s educational outreach programs are funded in part by the Tennessee General Assembly and administered in cooperation with the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

To get to the Craft Center, take Exit 273 off Interstate 40 — approximately 25 miles west of Cookeville and 60 east of Nashville — and turn south toward Smithville on Highway 56, taking an immediate left after crossing Hurricane Bridge.

For more information about the Celebration of Craft, call Gentry at 931/372-3051 or click on the link on TTU’s homepage at www.tntech.edu.

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