The Art League’s mission is to nurture the artist and enrich the community — and from time to time, we have an opportunity to extend that community outside of Alexandria.
Last year, The Art League was honored to receive a generous donation of a brand-new gas kiln that could support our student demand. We wanted to have our gas previous kiln continue its mission of nurturing and enriching artists, so we contacted the Craft Emergency Relief Fund.
The Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) was founded on a simple premise: people caring for one another during tough times. Building upon the grassroots gesture of passing the hat at craft shows for artists dealing with emergency situations, CERF created an ongoing pool of funds that are available to professional craft artists when they suffer career-threatening emergencies. In addition to the financial assistance, CERF helps acquire donated goods and services for beneficiaries from individuals, organizations and businesses.
Working with CERF, The Art League was able to find potter Joe Frank McKee. Joe Frank lost his studio and kiln to a fire. The Art League’s kiln would allow him to rebuild his pottery.
Joe Frank owns and operates Tree House Pottery in Dillsboro, North Carolina along with Travis Berning. They’re both members of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild and co-founders of the Western North Carolina Pottery Festival, held each fall in Dillsboro. Joe Frank creates lines of functional and decorative ceramics, including horsehair, raku, and fumed pots. Travis’s pottery is inspired by nature, bearing images of leaves. You can see examples in their website gallery.
About CERF: The Craft Emergency Relief Fund started in 1985 as a safety net for working artists in emergency situations. Today they work to protect artists with preparedness and relief programs. You can learn more about their mission and read their preparedness resources at craftemergency.org.