For lovers of fine contemporary craft, the annual American Craft Council (ACC) show is heaven. With hundreds of artists from around the country on site and ready to answer your questions, it’s a chance to see, learn about and take home something special.
Coming up this weekend, April 7-9, with a preview party on Thursday, April 6, the ACC has a reputation, totally deserved, as a high-end show. First-timers especially will experience sticker shock. But it’s possible to find more affordable items, each impeccably crafted and one of a kind. We bought the perfect peanut-butter spreader at an ACC.
This is the 75th anniversary of the American Craft Council, an organization founded in New York City and based there until 2010, when it moved to Minneapolis and its new HQ in the Grain Belt Brewery complex in northeast. Along with sponsoring craft shows in St. Paul, Baltimore, Atlanta and San Francisco, it holds an annual conference, publishes a bimonthly magazine, hosts a series of events and maintains a large library and archives, open to the public.
The ACC show is held indoors, at the Saint Paul RiverCentre, so it’s never too hot, too cold, buggy, gusty, dusty or pouring rain. (Yes, we’ve been to a few outdoor art fairs.) Typically, 50 artists each year are new to the show, and 60 artists are based in Minnesota. In 2016, 10,000 people attended.
With 225 juried artists, it can be daunting. (For comparison, the Uptown Art Fair is 350+, Edina around 300.) If you have an idea up front of what interests you – jewelry? wearables? furniture? glass? kaleidoscopes? – the website can help you zero in.
These three makers caught our eye because their work is unexpected and also to die for.