America's Oldest Non-Profit Craft Organization
Incorporated in 1897, The Society of Arts and Crafts has been at the forefront of the American craft movement, fostering the development, sales, recognition, and education of crafts for over one hundred years. Our highly committed founders developed standards of excellence in design and technical mastery for crafts that inspired the American Arts and Crafts Movement.
SAC's art gallery is located in Boston's Back Bay in the gallery district on Newbury Street. The art gallery occupies two floors, with a retail gallery on the first floor and an exhibition gallery on the second. Boston's only dedicated craft exhibition space features four exhibitions annually. An open and eclectic philosophy allows us to exhibit emerging and mature artists, introduce new craft forms, and embrace exhibitions that would not generally be considered in commercial venues.
The mission of The Society of Arts and Crafts is to support excellence in crafts by encouraging the creation, collection, and conservation of the work of craft artists, and by educating and promoting public appreciation of fine craftsmanship. To fulfill our mission, SAC sponsors exhibitions, the Artist Awards Programs, and educational programming. We also promote the work of over 400 craft artists in both our galleries on an ongoing basis.
Background and History
The term "arts and crafts" was coined in England in the late nineteenth century and used to describe a growing movement designed to revive the decorative arts. Led by figures like William Morris (1834-1896), the English poet, artist, craftsman, designer, social reformer and printer - the Arts and Crafts Movement had at its core the idea of handmade objects that were both beautiful and useful in everyday life. By the mid-nineteenth century, cheap factory-made goods had almost entirely driven handcraftsmen and women from their trades. The old methods of making handsome, everyday objects by hand, developed and passed down over the centuries, were nearly lost.
The Arts and Crafts Movement proved to be enormously influential, popular and long-lasting, spreading widely on both sides of the Atlantic. Boston's close relations to England, and its role as a cultural and educational center, made it the perfect place for the ideals of the English Arts and Crafts Movement to take root and spread.
Meeting in Boston in the spring of 1897, a small group of architects, educators, craftspeople, and collectors organized the first crafts exhibition to be held in this country. The work of more than 100 craft artists was featured. The success of this first exhibition provoked the organization of The Society of Arts and Crafts, its purpose being "to develop and encourage higher standards in the handicrafts."
For the 2011-2012 Annual Report, click here.
The Society of Arts and Crafts is proud to be the recipient of Massachusetts Cultural Council funding.
Top Image: Matthias Pleissnig, Mixed Media Studies
Middle Image: Originial SAC Seal