We recently had the opportunity to sit down with this year’s American Craft Exposition Co-Chairs, Melissa David and Laura Koh, to learn what makes ACE such a unique and popular show. Below are thoughts from each of our outstanding co-chairs!
Q: What excites you most about ACE?
Laura: As one of the top craft shows in the nation, we are fortunate to have some of the most talented and dedicated fine craftsmen participating in our show. I am looking forward to seeing all of the art created for the Exposition and having the opportunity to share it with our community. With more than 140 fine craftspeople participating in different media, there will be something that each show patron will love. Getting to know the dedicated artists and learning about their creative process is something I also enjoy. Each year there are new and wonderful works to discover! Enjoying beautiful and unique craft in the lovely setting of the Chicago Botanic Garden is an experience unlike any other!
Melissa: I am really excited about ACE this year because we have settled into our new home at the Chicago Botanic Garden and worked out all of the kinks of changing locations. Now that we’ve settled in, there are so many reasons why our home at the Garden is truly synergistic! There are many artists at ACE who are inspired by nature and you can see it in their work. The beautiful Bonsai gardens in the courtyard have found their way into the work of some artists. So instead of producing a show in a large convention center, we benefit from the nature and beauty around us at the Garden.
Q: Why is there such an interest from the artists to be part of the show?
Laura: I believe that they feel their work is valued. Only the very best artists are invited to participate in our juried show. To some of the artists the fact that we are raising funds for important medical research resonates with them in a way that other for-profit shows cannot. We’ve also been told that the artists appreciate the efforts of our many dedicated volunteers who help make this show very special. Many have mentioned how much they enjoy being in the beautiful setting provided by the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Melissa: Artists want to be a part of ACE because of the excellent reputation of the show. We truly draw from the best of the best in the twelve categories of craft represented in the show. Additionally, we are able to appeal to a fantastic group of craft collectors and many who are just learning about craft. Both of these audiences are important to our artists because they love to show collectors their new work each year and continue their relationship with them. In addition, coming to ACE is really a terrific way for young or new collectors to have a dialogue with the artists. It is such a unique experience to talk to the people who are passionate enough about their work to devote their life to creating craft. It’s not something you can experience at a store in the local mall or online.
Q: Why should the public attend ACE this year?
Laura: The public should attend ACE this year because we have extraordinarily fine craft for view and sale in the beautiful Chicago Botanic Garden. Not only does the show bring the best in American craft to Chicago, but the proceeds support vital medical research at NorthShore University HealthSystem, benefitting the community.
Melissa: I think attending ACE is great for everyone! Whether you are just looking for a nice fall day out in the Garden and want to experience something new, or you are an annual attendee who collects craft from a certain artist, there is something for everyone. Younger attendees or people just starting out in collecting and learning about art can gain a lot of knowledge in just a two hour stroll through the show. Others come back each and every day of the three-day show. Plus, it’s a good feeling for attendees to know that they are supporting important research initiatives at NorthShore by purchasing a $15 three-day ticket to the show.
Q: Why is this show so important to NorthShore University HealthSystem?
Laura: ACE is the major fundraiser presented by The Auxiliary of NorthShore University HealthSystem with the purpose of supporting important medical research. This year the dual funding goals of the show are pharmacogenomics and orthopaedic regenerative medicine research. Pharmacogenomics research will analyze how patients react to medications based on individual genetic variants, allowing physicians to customize medical treatments. Orthopaedic regenerative medicine research will help harness and enhance the body’s own healing abilities to restore a pain-free and active life.
Melissa: These two pioneering programs at NorthShore will be further enhanced with The Auxiliary’s support, advancing vital research that will improve care to the people in our community and beyond.