The Kentucky Creative Industry Summit is coming Nov. 12-13 at the Owensboro Convention Center, and in the weeks leading up to it, we’re talking with people who are key to bringing this important conference to you. Today, we’re featuring Berea College Crafts Director Tim Glotzbach. Berea College Crafts has signed on as presenting sponsor of the Creative Industry Summit, along with the Kentucky Arts Council Board.
What is Berea College Crafts?
Approximately 100 Berea students work in Berea College Crafts studios, shops and outreach programs, providing a rich opportunity for students to learn and work in a hands-on environment. The Student Crafts Program is a model platform for experiential education at Berea College through active learning in design principles, studio techniques and business applications. As such, the Student Crafts Program simultaneously draws attention to the unique history and identity of the college and contributes importantly to the educational program, serving as a national model for integrating the arts into an active campus community. The Student Crafts Program, started in 1893, designs and produces a line of handcrafted works in a variety of disciplines, including wood/furniture, weaving, broom making, ceramics and jewelry.
Why was it important for Berea College Crafts to assume this role as a presenting sponsor for the Creative Industry Summit?
Throughout the course of its history, Berea College Crafts has sought to preserve the culture of handcrafted works produced by students and our local artisans. On a larger scale, the college has been engaged in education, sales and marketing associated with the craft disciplines, in an effort to support a local arts economy, train new artisans and support the economic goals of artists regionally and nationally. As one of the earliest Kentucky organizations to accept this responsibility for preservation of the arts, Berea College Crafts believes that our longstanding brand associated with fine craft production can be an important tool in encouraging new artists and a reminder that the arts are significantly important to Kentucky.
Describe Berea College Crafts’ contributions to Kentucky’s creative industry.
Berea College Crafts has never stopped believing in the importance of educating people in the arts as a means of personal enrichment and building community. Berea College Crafts traces its beginning to Dr. William Goodall Frost, Berea College’s third president. Dr. Frost saw the great need to preserve craft handwork, heritage and the traditions of the Appalachian region. Dr. Frost developed a plan to teach those traditional craft techniques to students at Berea College and encourage the local community to develop those same skills as a means for personal economic development.
Fireside Weaving, the first craft area at Berea College, taught students at the college and women from the mountains the technical and design skills necessary for successful cottage industries. Lucy Morgan, working in the mountains of North Carolina, brought women to Berea College Fireside Weaving to be educated and trained and founded the Penland Weavers Guild, now Penland School of Craft. The Industrial Arts Department at Berea College designed a fly shuttle loom and Berea College Woodcraft designed and built the Ernberg counter balance floor loom. Berea College was involved in the earliest formation of the Southern Highland Craft Guild and was a partner in the formation of the Kentucky Guild of Artists & Craftsmen. Log House Crafts Gallery continues to support artists nationwide through the sales of their works.
Why should individuals and organizations come to the Creative Industry Summit?
Never has a time been better to grow the arts in Kentucky. Over the years, the numerous initiatives instituted by state government, and in particular those of the Kentucky Arts Council, have spawned a growth and interest in the arts that, in my opinion, has yet to slow down. Kentucky seems to have hit its stride in offering skills-based education focused on a creative economy. The sessions, speakers and events planned for the summit should give all of us a very clear picture of what has happened, what is happening and how we can model best practices. Clearly, there is no longer a wait-and-see attitude with arts economic development nationally and especially in Kentucky. It is active and it works when the right principles are applied.
Why should individuals and organizations support the Creative Industry Summit, as you have?
Support of the arts in Kentucky will continue to take the efforts of each organization and individual. As we each build a strong brand, we have an obligation to promote the industry that grew up with us – we are all connected. We, as a state, have achieved our current successes because we all focused our attention in the same direction and we built the creative economy as a “statewide community,” and not just as individuals. We will all continue to gain strength as we stretch our learning curve about this industry, and invite a new generation of artists/makers. I encourage each person interested in the creative economy to support this summit through attendance, sponsorship and even through scholarship. Send someone to the summit to learn.