Craft in America Awarded Inaugural Prize for Excellence and Innovation

Dec 14, 2020

In a special virtual celebration on the evening of December 7, the Decorative Arts Trust announced that Craft in America is the first recipient of the Decorative Arts Trust Prize for Excellence and Innovation. 

Craft in America, a Los Angeles-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization was established in 2004 by Carole Sauvion, who serves as the Executive Director, Executive Producer, and Director of Craft in America. The organization is preparing a free online video dictionary of tools, techniques, and materials spanning all decorative arts media, a project led by Craft in America Center Director Emily Zaiden. This free resource for researchers, art historians, students, and the public will serve as an evergreen and widely accessible tool to demonstrate handmade crafts production. Each dictionary “entry” will consist of a short video of a professional artist-maker explaining and documenting a specific process. Craft in America’s video dictionary will be centralized and organized as a searchable bank of verified decorative arts techniques. 

Established in 2019, the Prize for Excellence and Innovation recognizes scholarly endeavors undertaken by a non-profit organization to advance the public’s appreciation of decorative arts, fine arts, architecture, or landscape design. Projects can extend one to five years for completion after the Prize is awarded. Collaborative endeavors that unite multiple institutions, as well as ongoing projects, were encouraged to submit nominations. Projects submitted for consideration this year included special exhibitions, print publications, gallery renovations, online databases, and collection surveys.

The video dictionary is lockstep with Craft in America’s mission is to promote and advance original handcrafted work through educational programs in all media, accessible to all. The organization currently produces a wildly popular PBS documentary series with 25 episodes to date, an expansive website, and hosts special exhibitions at the Craft in America Center. Craft in America is dedicated to the exploration and preservation of craft and celebrates craft artists, the work of the hand, and the impact of craft on our nation’s cultural heritage and economy.

During a virtual program on December 7, viewers were treated to a presentation that highlighted Craft in America’s project alongside three other finalists: Cincinnati Art Museum; The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens; and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

The recording of this program is available on our YouTube channel


Watch the acceptance speech from Craft in America’s Carol Sauvion and Emily Zaiden: 


We look forward to following these projects as they develop, and the Trust welcomes additional financial support to endow the Prize beyond this inaugural year. 

About The Decorative Arts Trust Bulletin

Formerly known as the "blog,” the Bulletin features new research and scholarship, travelogues, book reviews, and museum and gallery exhibitions. The Bulletin complements The Magazine of the Decorative Arts Trust, our biannual members publication.


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