Interview with Sue Levin, Co-Chair of ACE 2012

Q1: The American Craft Exposition is a great show that features hand-crafted, made-in-America crafts. What do you consider your favorite medium and why?

I love art and was an art history minor as an undergraduate. At ACE we focus on art that is original, one-of-a-kind, not mass produced and of the quality that we see in ACE year after year. My personal favorite is glass. I love sunlight and I am fascinated with the way glass art reflects light and the prism it creates.  Glass art continuously changes as the light changes.

Q2: It’s no secret that ACE benefits the NorthShore University HealthSystem community as ACE raises funds for ovarian cancer research. Does ACE’s impact spread farther than just the hospital community?

Absolutely. Our funding goal, Dr. Rodriguez’s pioneering ovarian cancer research, will benefit women on an international level. With Dr. Rodriguez’s research of developing an effective prevention through oral contraceptives, there may be a day where ovarian cancer is no longer the “silent killer.” This is a hideous disease that is often not diagnosed until it is too late. This could be our mothers, our sisters, our friends or our daughters.

By supporting ACE, craft lovers are supporting the phenomenal research of Dr. Rodriguez. Already his clinical trials are showing us that individuals taking the oral contraceptive pills containing potent progestins for as little as 18 months lowered their ovarian cancer risk by 60 to 70 percent.


Q3: You recently travelled to art shows on the East coast. What are the noticeable differences you found between ACE and the other shows and how is ACE different?
Both the 35th Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show and the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore are much bigger shows than ours. The venues are convention centers. The show in Philadelphia presented 195 artists and the show in Baltimore hosted about 900 artists including wholesale and retail categories, while ACE has 160 artists.

Another huge difference between The Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show seemed to have more of a focus on the international craft art community, while ACE is more focused on American-made crafts.

The main thing that separates ACE from the other craft show that ACE raises monies for ovarian cancer research. So, not only do you get to see world-class crafts at ACE, but you’re also supporting huge breakthroughs in ovarian cancer research. That’s the main difference between these art shows.

Q4: ACE supports more than just ovarian cancer research – ACE supports individual artists making a real livable wage as well as the art community itself, which has its own hard times. How does ACE support the art community and what would communities look like if the arts disappeared?

We have had many of our artists tell us that ACE kick started their career.  At the other shows I have visited, they tell me how great we are to our artists, how volunteers agree to host artists as house guests , and how we provide meals for them at the show. This helps maximize the artists’ bottom line and enable them to continue and thrive as artists and build their following.

I would dread a world without art. Art reflects the history of the times. When we look at art from the Renaissance, we see a rebirth in religious art, which was just after the time of the plague killing thousands across Europe. Centuries from now, art historians will look at the art being made right now and trace it to life in the early twenty first century.

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