The James Renwick Alliance for Craft is pleased to present the 2022 Distinguished Educators Award to three outstanding members of the craft community who have demonstrated a commitment to craft excellence and future generations of craft artists. Anne Wilson, international fiber and materials artist, and Professor Emeritus at the The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Che’ Rhodes, renowned glass artist and professor at the Hite Institute of Art and Design, University of Louisville; and Janet Koplos author of numerous craft books the most famous, Makers, the quintessential American craft history book (co-authored with Bruce Metcalf).
This award will be presented during the JRACraft 2022 Spring Craft Weekend Symposium & Awards event. Listen in as these three special guests discuss their own work and share who they see as the next generation of makers, educators, and arts scholars.
Anne Wilson is a Chicago-based visual artist who creates sculpture, drawings, and performances based in a textile language. Her artwork resides in permanent collections around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Detroit Institute of Arts; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, England; and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan. Wilson was named a United States Artists Distinguished Fellow and is the recipient of awards from the Textile Society of America, the American Craft Council (College of Fellows), the Driehaus Foundation, Artadia, the Tiffany Foundation, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, Cranbrook Academy of Art (Distinguished Alumni Award), and the National Endowment for the Arts. Wilson’s artwork is represented by Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago and she is currently a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Fiber and Material Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Ché Rhodes is a contemporary glass artist. He received his MFA from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He earned his B.A. from Centre College where he began his career under the mentorship of Stephen Rolfe Powell. Formerly, he was an assistant professor and Head of Glass Art at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Currently he is an Associate Professor and Head of Studio Glass at the University of Louisville, Allen R. Hite Art Institute. He is a former member of the Glass Art Society Board of Directors, and a current member of the Penland School of Crafts Board of Trustees. Rhodes has demonstrated at the 2006, 2010, and 2015 Glass Art Society Conferences and has been an instructor at the Penland School of Crafts, Penland North Carolina; Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood Washington; The Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York; Urban Glass, Brooklyn, New York, and at Scuola del Vetro: Abate Zanetti, in Venice Italy. His work is widely exhibited and featured in several public collections, including a recent acquisition by the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum to be feature in This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World.
Janet Koplos is the author of What Makes a Potter: Traditional Pottery in America Today (2019) and co-author of Makers: A History of American Studio Craft (2010). Her first book was Contemporary Japanese Sculpture (1990), and she has written numerous catalog essays and thousands of reviews over the last 40 years, focusing on crafts and on American, Japanese and Dutch contemporary art. She was for 18 years a staff editor at Art in America magazine and is currently a contributing editor. She lectures, critiques and juries frequently, and has taught at Parsons The New School for Design and Pratt Institute in New York City, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. She received a National Endowment for the Arts critic’s grant early on, in 2010 was named an Honorary Fellow of the American Craft Council, and in 2015 was awarded an Art Writers Grant from the Warhol Foundation. The grant has supported her current work on a history of the New Art Examiner, a controversial art magazine published in Chicago from 1973 to 2002. She lives in New York City.