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Museum of Contemporary Craft is the premier craft presenter in the region dedicated to excellence and innovation in craft from the early 20th century to the present.
Founded in 1937 by a group of extraordinary women dedicated to the cultivation of craft, the Oregon Ceramic Studio (precursor to Contemporary Crafts Gallery, Contemporary Crafts Museum & Gallery, and the upcoming Museum of Contemporary Craft) provided a market for artists while elevating awareness and appreciation of Oregon art. Founder Lydia Herrick Hodge, and other early organizers such as Katherine Macnab, had been educated at the University of Oregon under the tutelage of Victoria Avakian. Both Hodge and Macnab studied in Paris during the modern art movement. Hodge, upon her return from Paris, organized the University Alumni Art League, an association dedicated to promoting Oregon artists. This alliance founded the non-profit Oregon Ceramic Studio in 1937, acquiring a four-lot site from the city for a modest price in exchange for their promise to fire Portland school children's ceramics in their kiln.
The Studio was built with donated materials by Works Progress Administration labor (WPA). During its early years - before becoming Contemporary Crafts Gallery in 1965 and then Contemporary Crafts Museum & Gallery in 2002 - the Oregon Ceramic Studio hosted several exhibitions and participated in design campaigns crucial to the cultivation of the Northwest's legacy of craft.
Positioned in a much more visible and accessible location, the new Museum of Contemporary Craft will bring greater awareness to the organization's rich seventy-year legacy. As it moves forward on a more ambitious trajectory than ever, Museum of Contemporary Craft will continue to be guided by the core goals to present excellence in contemporary craft, support artists and their work, connect the community directly with artists, deepen the understanding and appreciation of craft, and expand the audience that values craft and its makers.
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