Wisconsin Craft: New non-profit emerges to support Wisconsin artists

MILWAUKEE (February 23, 2022) – Wisconsin is a more vibrant, creative and engaging state thanks to the independent artists who make their living from art. In order to support the state’s broad community of talented artists, Wisconsin Craft, a 501c3 organization, has been established.

Wisconsin Craft is dedicated to supporting artists by celebrating and promoting their craft, as well as providing professional programming and continuing education to help them run their business. The organization currently has members who range in age from their early 20s to 90-plus years and represent a variety of media – ceramics, fiber, enamel, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, photography, wood, sculpture, handmade paper, painting and mixed media.

“Art is a form of communication and expression that sparks joy in our lives,” says Jean Wells, president of Wisconsin Craft. “Our organization is dedicated to professional artists whose art enriches communities throughout Wisconsin in big and small ways.”

As part of its focus on supporting artists, each year Wisconsin Craft presents two signature events – Morning Glory Art Fair and MKE Fine Craft Studio Tour. The organization also offers an online boutique so buyers can easily order signature items from more than 75 artists.In spring 2023, Wisconsin Craft will host its first WI Craft Member Biennial Exhibition at the Wausau Center for the Visual Arts.

Wisconsin Craft traces its roots to 1916 when the Wisconsin Society of Applied Arts was established. In fact, Wisconsin Craft is the second oldest craft organization in the country after the Boston-based Society of Arts and Crafts. Over the years, the organization evolved and in 2021 formally changed its name to Wisconsin Craft after nearly 40 years as the Wisconsin Designer Crafts Council. The name change allowed Wisconsin Craft to apply for and secure its 501c3 status.

Following is a sampling of Wisconsin Craft members from throughout Wisconsin.

Kate Marotz grew up in Marshfield before attending University of Wisconsin – Stout where she earned a BFA in Ceramics and a BS in Art Education. Marotz makes pinched stoneware objects that combine sculptural qualities with functional ware. Her organic forms are inspired by chrysalis, shells, seed pods and other vessels created by nature.

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Maday Delgado an art educator, visual storyteller and Janome textile artisan living in Baraboo who is passionate about sustainability and social equity. Delgado feels that reusing and reimagining leftover materials to make something whole again respects the human and environmental resources that go into textile production. 

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Jay Arpin is a traditional print maker, specializing in linoleum relief and intaglio printing. In the last few years, Arpin has exhibited in New York, New Jersey, Colorado and throughout his home state of Wisconsin. All editions are hand pulled at his home studio in Wauwatosa. 

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For more information, visit wisconsincraft.org.