Skip to main content

RIT School for American Crafts records and slides

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RITArc-0318

Scope and Contents

The School for American Crafts records and slides contains short essays on the history of the school, a selection of administrative files, promotional materials, curriculum information, information about craft exhibitions at RIT as well as exhibitions or work by faculty and students, and a number of articles and clippings, mainly from 1950 to 1990. There is also a set of slides used to promote the school and facilities circa 2000.

Dates

  • 1943-2008
  • Majority of material found within 1950 - 1970

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

The School for American Craftsman (SAC) was established by the American Craftsmen's Educational Council in 1944 at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Aileen Osborne Webb, art patron and philanthropist, was the driving force behind the foundation of the Council in 1943. The goal of the organization was to "provide education in handcrafts and to further stimulate public interest in and appreciation of the work of handcraftsmen." Mrs. Webb and the Council established the school to provide provide professional training and teach crafts on the same level as painting and sculpture. The school subsequently moved to Alfred University and was part of the College of Liberal Arts. SAC moved to RIT in 1950, with the first classes offered in the summer. Initial offerings included ceramics, metalcrafts and jewelry, weaving and textile design and woodworking and furniture design. Catalogs noted that students would find work in their own shop, in industry or teaching. Instructors were all professional artists, and had prior experience in their own shops or in industry. The curriculum focused on design principles and technique and gave students a background in the history of art and contemporary crafts.

The school has grown along with the international explosion of interest in crafts. Since 1950, the length of the program expanded (going from two to four years, and offering a graduate degree), the number of students increased and the size and quality of the facilities continued to grow. A glass program was added in 1972, and the program in textiles was curtailed in 1997. The name was changed to School for American Crafts in 1992. A studio craft movement took off in the 1950s and 1960s, fueling an interest in crafts as art. With this change, the spectrum of work produced has grown, and now includes functional pieces to sculpture to installations. The school continues to emphasize creative growth, development of professional competence and intellectual and cultural enrichment.

The school marked its 50th anniversary in 2011 with the opening of a new, state-of-the-art facility. The Sands Family Studios offers students expanded space with 16 kilns, two glass-blowing furnaces and an outside area that students can use for iron pours, welding and raku firing.

Extent

3.71 Linear Feet (4 document boxes, 1 lid box, 1 half-hollinger box)

Language

English

Overview

The RIT School for American Crafts records and slides contains short essays on the history of the school, a selection of administrative files, promotional materials, curriculum information, information about craft exhibitions at RIT as well as exhibitions of work by faculty and students, and a number of articles and clippings, mainly from 1950 to 1990. There is also a set of slides used to promote the school and facilities, ca. 2000.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in series: General Information, Administrative files, Curriculum information, Articles and clippings, Exhibitions,Promotional materials,.

Physical Location

C.S. South, Shelves 322-323.

Other Finding Aids

In addition to this finding aid, an inventory is available below. For more information, please contact the RIT Archive Collections.

RIT School for American Crafts records and slides

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Becky Simmons in December 2011.
Title
RIT School for American Crafts records and slides
Subtitle
RIT Archives
Status
Published
Author
Becky Simmons
Date
12 December 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archive Collections Repository

Contact:
RIT Libraries
Wallace Center
90 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester NY 14623 USA
(585) 475-4613