Nonprofit of the Month: HandMade in America
Each month, the PMA Blog will feature a nonprofit that is doing exceptional work locally, in our broader region or nationally. The selected nonprofit will typically feature programming that is timely and speaks to issues facing us all.
PMA is delighted to feature HandMade in America as its Nonprofit of the Month for September. Based in Asheville, NC, HandMade in America is a nonprofit organization focused on supporting Craft artists living in Western North Carolina. According to the nonprofit’s website, a group of Western NC residents collaborated and brainstormed different approaches to economic development in their areas in 1993. After identifying a strong craft industry filled with studios, classrooms and galleries in the Blue Ridge Mountains, they concluded that craft arts in the key to creative and sustainable economic development. HandMade in America proudly operates with these values in mind:
- The handmade object and the artists who create it. Craft is an integral part of economic development. The creation and appreciation of the handmade object is transformative to individuals and communities.
- Cultural heritage. Honoring arts, artists and cultural traditions in a region preserves and enriches community life.
- Sustainable development. The people in communities serve as the best resource to understand their challenges and opportunities and to seek and find solutions.
- Inclusion. It is vital, and all are welcome to participate.
- The regional approach. All communities come to the table with distinct assets and the opportunity to contribute and learn together across perceived boundaries.
- Partnerships. People, the communities and the region are best served by individuals and organizations working cooperatively.
- Innovation. Creativity is essential in finding and implementing workable solutions.
Currently, HandMade in America provides several exciting programs, including:
- Appalachian Women Entrepreneurs: A program that supports rural Western North Carolina women interested in creating or growing their small business.
- Small Town Revitalization Program: The Small Towns program applies community-driven methods for rejuvenating the physical and civic infrastructure of a community by utilizing an asset-based planning approach in WNC’s small towns.
- Craft Labs: A series of professional development classes for craft artists put on in partnership with Blue Ridge National Heritage Area and the N.C. Arts Council.
- The HandMade Institute: The Institute offers custom consultations, conferences, and instructional programs on the HandMade Model of creative community development.