2016 ACC Conference at Kaneko - Register Now

Since the first American Craft Council conference nearly six decades ago, ACC has served the community of contemporary craft by bringing together the field’s many voices to provide thoughtful leadership and perspectives. As the only national organization inclusive of all craft media, ACC is the best convener to assemble the field’s diverse constituents — artists, scholars, educators, students, collectors, enthusiasts, professionals, and amateurs alike.


ACC’s 2016 national conference will draw together this essential group for a conversation about the current state of craft. The aim is to challenge, inspire, and educate existing members of the craft and design community and engage new audiences through open conversation and dialogue, emphasizing an intergenerational exchange of ideas, priorities, and prerogatives.

Accomplished by a wholly new conference format, “Present Tense” offers two and a half days of active dialogue, featuring three distinct characteristics — pairs of speakers in moderated conversation, scheduled time for participatory common-interest conversations among attendees, and no concurrent programming, allowing all attendees to foster a sense of community through their shared experience. Participants include students, emerging and established artists, researchers and scholars of the field, individuals representing organizations that promote craft, funders and supporters of craft, and those simply interested.

With Kaneko, ACC has found the perfect partner to host this group and provide inspiration for continued conversation. Omaha is a wonderful host city — a burgeoning creative capital in the United States. It’s a community empowered to think differently about a wide range of contemporary issues and with a demonstrated track record of using creative, community-driven projects to bring people together.

“Present Tense” attendees are also invited to attend the concurrent celebration of the 2016 American Craft Council Awards, including installation of the College of Fellows and the presentation of the Gold Medal for Consummate Craftsmanship, the Aileen Osborn Webb Award of Philanthropy, and the Award of Distinction.


ACC members may register for $265. New members will pay $335 (which includes a 2-year membership). Student registration is $215. Scholarships are available; students and recent graduates must apply by May 31. See further scholarship information below.

Registration for non-members is $425 and begins June 1.



  • Jessica Hische, lettering artist
  • Tanya Aguiniga, fiber artist
  • Sarah Archer, independent scholar
  • Nancy Callan, glass artist
  • Fabio Fernandez, executive director Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston
  • Nicholas Galanin, artist
  • Susie Ganch, jeweler/sculptor
  • Amos Paul Kennedy, printmaker/activist
  • Jean McLaughlin, executive director Penland School of Crafts
  • Tina Oldknow, former Corning Museum of Glass curator
  • Paul Sacaridiz, ceramist/director Haystack Mountain School of Crafts
  • Mark Shapiro, potter 
  • Rosanne Somerson, furniture maker/dean RISD
  • Anna Walker, ‎MFA Houston Windgate Foundation curatorial fellow for contemporary craft 
  • William Warmus, independent scholar


  • Sonya Clark, ACC trustee/chair, Department Craft and Materials Studies Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Miguel Gómez-Ibáñez, ACC trustee/president North Bennet Street School
  • Ayumi Horie, ACC trustee/studio potter
  • Lydia Matthews, ACC trustee/director Curatorial Design Research Lab, Parsons The New School for Design
  • Bruce Pepich, ACC trustee/executive director and curator of collections Racine Art Museum
  • Michael Strand, Ceramist
  • Namita Wiggers, ACC trustee/author and director and co-founder of Critical Craft Forum


  • Stuart Kestenbaum, ACC Board of Trustees chair and former director Haystack Mountain School of Crafts


Thursday, October 13

  • 12 - 6 p.m. Registration at the Kaneko
  • 6 - 10 p.m. Opening Events: welcome and opening remarks, keynote address, cocktail reception to follow

Friday, October 14

  • 8:30 a.m. Registration at the Kaneko
  • 9:30 - 10 a.m. Welcome / Introduction of concept
  • 10 - 12:10 p.m. Session One – Apprenticeship and Session Two – Instruction/Education
  • 12:15 - 1:30 p.m. Lunch
  • 1:30 - 4:45 p.m. Session Three – Institutional Leadership and Session Four – Process
  • 4:45 p.m. End Day 1
  • 6-10 p.m. ACC Awards of Excellence Presentation & Reception

Saturday, October 15

  • 8:30 a.m. Registration at the Kaneko
  • 9:30 - 9:45 a.m. Welcome
  • 9:45 - 10:30 a.m. Session Five – Community
  • 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Lunch
  • 1 - 4:15 p.m. Session Six – Interpretation and Session Seven – Criticism
  • 4:15 - 4:45 p.m. Coda Presentation
  • 4:50 - 5:15 p.m. State of the Meeting Remarks and Closing
  • 5:15 p.m. Conference Ends


The ACC has preferred-rate rooms available at the Hyatt Place Downtown Old Market, the Hampton Inn-Omaha, and the Magnolia Hotel-Omaha.

Hyatt Place Omaha Downtown Old Market
Register by July 11 for preferred rate
24-hour reservation line: 800-233-1234 (please mention dates and block)

Hampton Inn

Booking link: http://group.hamptoninn.com/AmericanCraftCouncil

Register by August 27 for preferred rate

Magnolia Hotel Omaha
Register by September 13 for preferred rate
PARKING: Valet parking is provided for $17 per vehicle per night and $10 for event-day parking.


“Present Tense” is accessible to all attendees. Please notify organizers when you register to make arrangements for assistive listening devices, ASL interpretation, wheelchair accessibility, or other accessibility needs.


New member registration at the $335 level includes access to the conference and a two-year membership to the American Craft Council.
Membership benefits include:

For more information, including benefits of registering as a professional member of the ACC, please visit craftcouncil.org/membership


The American Craft Council is pleased to announce a call for applications for student/emerging professional scholarships to attend “Present Tense.”

The Council has a strong history of giving emerging makers and scholars opportunities to bring their work to the marketplace and platforms for engaging in ongoing dialogue about the future of craft.

To continue this tradition, the Council will offer $50,000 in full and partial scholarships for the “Present Tense” conference. Students at both the graduate and undergraduate level, as well as new professionals (less than than five years out of school) are invited to participate and are encouraged to apply for these scholarships. Full scholarships include funding for the conference registration fee ($215 - $425) plus a travel and accommodation stipend. Partial scholarships provide for the registration fee, and may or may not include a travel or accommodation stipend.


All candidates must be:

  1. A full-time student currently enrolled in an art school or university OR a new professional within five years of graduation. Both graduate and undergraduate students are invited to apply. 
  2. Must be a current member of the American Craft Council


The scholarships committee will take into consideration the following criteria when considering applicants:

  • Evidence of commitment to and interest in the craft field
  • Interest in contributing to the dialogue and scholarship of the field at large 
  • Potential to benefit professionally from attendance at the conference
  • Financial need


Scholarship recipients are required to attend the entire conference. To help us ensure the ongoing improvement of the scholarship program, all scholarship winners will be required to submit a post-conference evaluation by November 11, 2016.

How to apply

The deadline for scholarship applications is May 31, and applicants will be notified via email by July 1. Recipients will be selected by a committee. Both local and national scholarships will be awarded.

Please follow the link to submit your application: http://goo.gl/forms/adjm0AZUbS.


General Inquires: education@craftcouncil.org

Media Inquiries: Pamela Diamond, director of marketing and communications, 612-206-3121 or pdiamond@craftcouncil.org


The Windgate Charitable Foundation
Shepard Exposition Services
Todd Merrill Studio Contemporary, NYC
Molly Hatch

Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 6:00 PM
- Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 5:30 PM (CDT)
- Add to Calendar
Kaneko - 1111 Jones Street, Omaha, NE 68102 -
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