Story & Photo Courtesy of WWC
Warren Wilson College received a recent grant of $948,750 from the Windgate Foundation that will strengthen its craft programming and bolster its position as a national leader in liberal arts craft education.
“After many years of building both our academic and experiential craft programming at Warren Wilson, we are ready to take our undergraduate craft programs to the next level,” said President of Warren Wilson College Lynn Morton. “This vision and plan will elevate Warren Wilson as one of the strongest liberal arts colleges in the country with this distinctive focus on craft.”
With the grant, the college will be able to substantially increase the number of undergraduate students taking craft-related courses each semester and provide more scholarships for art and craft students. The grant also enables Warren Wilson to support craft instruction, do facility enhancements, procure new equipment and host visiting artists.
Warren Wilson has developed a distinctive strength and focus in craft as an academic field over the past several years. The college currently offers an undergraduate minor in craft and is planning to expand course offerings in craft studies in the next several years. The low-residency Master of Arts in Critical Craft Studies, founded in 2018, is the first program of its kind in the world.
The college also provides experiential programming through its current craft work crews, including fiber arts, blacksmithing and fine woodworking. The fiber arts crew cultivates a dye garden on campus and uses wool from the college’s sheep to make yarn. The blacksmith crew collects coil and leaf springs from local auto shops and scrap yards and uses them to make tools. The fine woodworking crew creates finely crafted chairs, tables, boxes, bowls, pens and other items from wood grown in the college forest.
The grant will allow the college to enhance these opportunities that already exist for students through the new Craft Studios program, so students can take academic courses for credit and have integrated work learning opportunities.
Warren Wilson received a 2013 grant of $2.1 million from the Windgate Foundation to launch both the undergraduate minor in craft and the Master of Arts in Critical Craft Studies, and to continue to foster a partnership between Warren Wilson and the Center for Craft in Asheville.