On Saturday, November 6, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., CraftNOW Philadelphia will hold the city’s “Biggest Free Art Class,” CraftNOW Create, at Smith Memorial Playground. This is part of CraftNOW’s continued efforts to bring arts education to children in the Philadelphia region.
November, proclaimed “CraftMONTH” by the City of Philadelphia, inspires widespread and diverse celebration of the region’s rich legacy of craft. Throughout the month, the city is recognized for its important role as an incubator for arts based in wood, clay, fiber, metal, and glass. For the list of partner exhibitions and activities coordinated by CraftNOW during “CraftMONTH,” please visit CraftNOWPhila.org.
The seventh annual CraftNOW Create is a free experience featuring demonstrations that provide step- by-step instructions on how to create nine crafts ideal for elementary-age students. Attendees can look forward to a variety of projects, including upcycled structures, wooden bead creatures, pinch pot animal heads, nature screen printing, and mosaic collages.
CraftNOW will host this daylong, family-friendly event at the Smith Memorial Playground and limit capacity around the demonstration area to ensure participants’ safety. If the event reaches capacity, families can spend time enjoying the playground while they wait for their chance to join the event. This program has allowed CraftNOW to work with its network of artists and institutions to continue its longstanding efforts in providing programming that enriches the local communities.
Sponsored by the Joseph Robert Foundation, CraftNOW Create is family-friendly programming produced alongside its companion event for adult arts professionals, the annual CraftNOW Symposium. This year’s theme, Environmental Effects, will explore how communities and interiors shape our experiences, identify sustainability issues expressed through craft, and examine the impact of our contemporary material culture. This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Kelli Morgan, a curator, educator, and social justice activist who specializes in American art and visual culture.
Following the Environmental Effects Symposium, CraftNOW Create offers fun for the whole family and will include activities by the American Swedish Museum, Asian Arts Initiative, the Center for Art in Wood, The Clay Studio, the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, and The University of Arts. For the list of craft activities, please visit craftnowphila.org/craftnowcreate/.
“CraftNOW Create was originally designed to address the lack of arts programming in schools,” explained Leila Cartier, Executive Director of CraftNOW. “Arts and crafts offer an escape for children that can lead them to discover their creative voice or even a passion they can follow into a professional career. There’s been consistent evidence that arts education positively impacts students across other academic subjects like math, science, and reading. CraftNOW Create’s mission is to help ensure the next generation of artists are supported at an early age.”
This summer, CraftNOW partnered with Philadelphia’s Parks & Recreation Department to bring hands-\ on craft activities into the city’s neighborhood rec centers. Through the CraftNOW Create program,
CraftNOW organized its partner organizations to successfully deliver 6,000 hours of craft instruction to 3,000 children across 120 summer camp locations. Learn more about CraftNOW Create’s successful expansion into the summer camp program here.