American values, inclusion explored in exhibition at Auburn University museum


After his debut at the famous Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, the “Crafting America” ​​exhibit is on display until September 12 at Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts To Auburn University.

The new exhibit, curated by the Crystal Bridges Museum, celebrates the craftsmanship and individuality of craftsmanship within the broader context of American art – from jewelry to furniture to sculpture and more. While many works come from the organizing museum, others are on loans from private collections and major institutions such as the National Museum of the American Indians and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

With 90 works in ceramic, fiber, wood, metal, glass and other materials, “Crafting America” ​​presents a diverse and inclusive history of American craftsmanship from the 1940s to the present day. The esteemed artists of the exhibition include Sonya clark, Beatrice Bois, Shan goshorn, Nick cave and Maria martinez.

“The artists featured in Crafting America explore through their creativity what can often be complicated notions of life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness for those who have struggled to obtain or have been denied these civil rights,” said Cindi Malinick, director and chief curator of the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts. “And the opportunity to partner with Crystal Bridges, one of the country’s leading museums, and to open a dialogue on campus through art about our similarities and differences and where these perspectives intersect to foster understanding, is an honor. It is an important viewing for our time.

Handicrafts have long been a field accessible to the widest range of people, providing an opportunity to explore creativity, innovation and technical skills. This exhibit showcases diverse backgrounds and perspectives in the craft, from the vital contributions of Indigenous artists to the skills and perspectives brought by women and immigrants to the United States.

“The craft is relevant,” said Malinick. “You probably have a craft item with a personal connection – an heirloom quilt or a beloved handmade piece of furniture. In addition to images of these treasures, we will include their stories of students, alumni, donors and visitors in an interactive gallery space and as a digital feature, ‘Share your craft story. ‘”

Major works from Auburn’s collection will complement the objects on loan, featuring artists Jiha Moon and Yamada Kensuke.

A multi-author illustrated research publication published by Crystal Bridges and the University of Arkansas Press is available in the museum shop. Artworks from regional artists and designers are available for purchase.

Other works on display until September 12 include “Outside In”, an interdisciplinary exhibition with Auburn’s natural History Museum featuring works on paper by Audubon and specimens of flowering plants. In addition, the grounds are open with outdoor sculptures, water features and landscaped hiking trails, with the monumental interactive sculpture “Down Where Paradise Lay” by Patrick dougherty.

The National Crafting America Tour is sponsored by the Windgate Foundation. The exhibition was made possible in part by a large grant from the National Foundation for the Humanities: Democracy requires wisdom. Additional support comes from National Foundation for the Arts.

The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts is located at 901 S. College St. in Auburn. Regular hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with extended hours Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information visit

This story originally appeared on Auburn University website.

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