A group of friends and acquaintances gathered around a kitchen table to discuss their love of crafts. From that first conversation came Piedmont Craftsmen – a guild of crafts artists and crafts collectors whose devotion to the handmade object and ties to the heritage of craft work in the region have spanned several generations. At its beginning, Piedmont Craftsmen created the guidelines for a juried exhibiting membership, educated the public to fine crafts and offered an annual crafts fair to meet the mission of promoting and selling members’ works. The guild has expanded its mission, over its 50+ year history.
In 1987, Piedmont Craftsmen was accepted as a Funded Partner of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. This was a great honor and provided much needed operational support for the organization.
The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County is the first Arts Council in the US. Their model has been used by many other arts organizations nationally.
In 2009, Piedmont Craftsmen established the Sherpa Awards to acknowledge the efforts of so many volunteers over the years. Some gave by working on countless projects and events, while others were contributors or provided impactful leadership to the organization.
Our Sherpa Award is named in honor of the native guides of the Himalayas who carry incredibly heavy loads while taking fellow explorers on adventures on the world’s highest mountain peaks.
SHERPA AWARD HONOREES
Piedmont Craftsmen celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2013. This was a major milestone for the organization and for the founding members who were able to join us. The year-long celebration included an Anniversary Gala, unexpected pop-up art shows, an fine craft auction and was commemorated with a commissioned art piece and a ribbon cutting by founding members, Tom Suomalainen, Wylie Yarbourgh and Mary Goslin, at the Craftsmen’s Fair in November.
Organizational Timeline for PC
1963: Founding members hold a show and sell their work.
1964: Piedmont Craftsmen is incorporated in the State of North Carolina.
1964: By the end of the first year, membership is 46 Exhibiting, 44 Associate and 10 Patron Members.
1964: 1st Piedmont Crafts Fair is held in Old Salem at former Krispy Kreme building.
1965: Membership: 63 Exhibiting and 70 Friends and Associates.
1965: Piedmont Craftsmen receives its non-profit 501(c)(3) determination from the IRS.
1966 – 1969: Piedmont Craftsmen opens The Craft Shop in Old Salem.
1966: Craftsmen’s Fair opens at Winston-Salem Coliseum where it remains until early 90’s when the old coliseum is torn down.
1970: The area of service includes North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina
1970 – 1976: The Craft Shop is opened at 936 West 4th Street?
1974: Exhibiting Membership is 208.
1976 – 1986: Craft Shop is located on Main Street near Old Salem.
1978: Southern Craft Markets was formed as a subsidiary of Piedmont Craftsmen to manage the Craft Shop and Fair.
1980: Area of service expanded to include Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia and Kentucky.
1982: Two phase jury system is initiated.
1982: Area of service now includes Maryland and Washington, D.C.
1986: The Craft Shop is located downtown on Cherry Street between 4th and 5th Streets.
1987: The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County approved Piedmont Craftsmen as a Funded Partner.
1988: 25th Anniversary Craftsmen’s Fair.
1989: Southern Crafts Markets was dissolved with all programs and boards merged in to Piedmont Craftsmen, Inc.
1990 – 2003: The Craft Shop and Gallery are located at 1204 Reynolda Road.
1991: Craftsmen’s Fair opens at Benton Convention Center.
1996: Piedmont Craftsmen’s first website is created.
1996: The Smithsonian selected 11 Piedmont Craftsmen exhibiting members for their Olympic Village Shop in Atlanta, GA.
1999: Crafts Career Day, an educational program, is introduced to High School Art Students.
2002: Piedmont Craftsmen purchases a third of the old Pleasant’s Hardware building in downtown Winston-Salem for its Gallery and offices.
2002: Strength in Numbers, Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art, Greensboro, NC.
2003: Gallery is officially moved to Trade Street, between 6th and 7th Streets, after the location was remodeled.
2003: 40th Anniversary Exhibit, Power of Excellence, SECCA, Winston-Salem, NC. 2007: Online digital image jury system initiated.
2007: The mortgage is retired on our Trade Street location.
2010: Opening Acts was the first exhibit presented at the new Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts and the organization was honored with an exhibit at the North Carolina Governor’s Mansion.
2011: Exhibiting membership is 357 and Donors is 475.
2013: Piedmont Craftsmen celebrates its 50th Anniversary.
2019: Indigo Hotel exhibit featured fifteen artists in all media.
2020: Exhibiting membership 364 and Donors are ??
2020: Gallery is closed for an extended period of time due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Charter & Founding Members
• Bianca Artom∞ – Exhibiting Member
• Mildred L. Ball∞ – Exhibiting Member
• W. M. Ball∞ – Exhibiting Member
• Warren Brooks∞ – Supporting Member
• Mildred S. Crutchfield∞ – Exhibiting Member
• L. G. Crutchfield∞ – Supporting Member
• Mary Goslen – Exhibiting Member
• Senator Hamilton C. Horton, Jr.∞ – Supporting Member
• Cynthia Hensel∞ – Exhibiting Member
• Gypsy Hollingsworth∞ – Exhibiting Member
• Albert Hubbard∞ – Exhibiting Member
• Martha Hubbard∞ – Supporting Member
• Florence Illman – Exhibiting Member
• Dr. J. Maxwell Little∞ – Supporting Member
• Louise Little∞ – Exhibiting Member
• Charlotte Shermer∞ – Exhibiting Member
• Thomas Suomalainen – Exhibiting Member
• Christine Yarborough∞ – Exhibiting Member
• Wylie M. Yarborough∞ – Supporting Member
• Exhibiting Member
Life membership is bestowed to Exhibiting and Supporting Members by the Board of Directors for their long-time commitment, loyalty and financial support.
In 2013, to kick off our 50th Anniversary, the Board of Directors deemed it appropriate to honor Exhibiting Members who had been members for 45 years or longer and other individuals for their long-time commitment, loyalty and financial support. It was decided to continue these honors every five years as part of our anniversary.
The following is a list of our Life Members:
William and Katherine Bernstein – Exhibiting Members since 1969/Glass
Ed Brinkman – Exhibiting Member since 1968/Clay
Elizabeth Brooks∞ – Exhibiting Member 1970s & Supporting Member
Dempsy R. Calhoun – Exhibiting Member since 1971/Metal
Herb Cohen – Exhibiting Member since 1968/Clay
Janet Fischer – Exhibiting Member since 1972/Metal
Jose Fumero∞ – Exhibiting Member since 1975/Fiber
Frank A. Gourley, Jr. – Exhibiting Member since 1967/Wood
R. Philip Hanes∞ – Supporting Member
Lynn Hill – Supporting Member
Virginia Ingram – Exhibiting Member since 1968/Printmaking
Robert Kopf – Exhibiting Member since 1973/Wood
Tyrone and Julie Larson – Exhibiting Members since 1972/Clay
Shirley Taylor Marriott – Exhibiting Member since 1966/Metal
Oz and Pat Mauck – Supporting Members
Lucy and Thomas Moore – Exhibiting Members since 1971/Fiber
Lynn Hope McNees-Sams – Exhibiting Member since 1973/Metal
John Nygren – Exhibiting Member since 1969/Glass
Ron Propst – Exhibiting Member since 1971/Clay
Susannah Ravenswing – Exhibiting Member since 1973/Metal
Alice Schlein – Exhibiting Member since 1971/Fiber
Winthrop Schwab – Exhibiting Member since 1973/Wood
Eddie Smith – Exhibiting Member since 1964/Clay
Janet Graven Tourtellot – Exhibiting Member since 1968/Mixed Media
Board Presidents & Chairs
Jan – Dec 1964 – 67 Dr. J. Max Little∞
Jan – Dec 1967 – 69 Wylie Yarborough∞
Jan – Dec 1970 – 71 Dr. J. Max Little∞
Jan – Dec 1972 – 73 Lynn S. Hill
Jan – Dec 1974 – 77 James Rush∞
1978 – June 79 Karl Stauber
July – Dec 1979 Martha Dunigan*∞
1979 – 80 James Rush∞
1980 – 82 Robert Cash
1982 – 85 Bill Watson
1985 – 88 Lynn S. Hill
1988 – 89 Eunice Benton
1989 – 91 Linda Dekle
1991 – 93 Fanny Stronach
1993 – 94 Henry Waszkowski
1994 – 95 Betsy Bethune
1995 – 96 Rebecca Fowler
1996 – 98 Lee Hanes
1998 Shirley Taylor Marriott*
1998 Polly Allen
July 1998 – June 2000 Nancy Wooten∞
July 2000 – Dec 2001 B. Jane Doub*
Jan – Dec 2002 Susan Harris
Jan – Dec 2003 Pat Taylor*
Jan – Dec 2004 Chuck Heath*
Jan – Dec 2005 Bill Benton
Jan – Dec 2006 Sharon G. Hamilton
Jan – Dec 2007 William (Marty) Marion
Jan 2008 – Dec 2009 B. J. Buckland
Jan 2010 – Dec 2011 JoAnne Vernon∞
Jan – Dec 2012 Pamela Pryor Grace
Jan 2013 – Dec 2014 Anne Howard Shelburne
Jan – Dec 2015 Karen Morgan
Jan – Dec 2016 Jennifer McCormick*
Jan – Dec 2017 David Piner
Jan – Dec 2018 Amanda Blackman Phillips
Jan – Dec 2019 Kelia Coffey
Jan – Dec 2020 Tomi Melson*
* Exhibiting Member
Executive Directors & Presidents
1973 Ann Bonitz*, Executive Director
1973 – 1975 Betty Place, Executive Director
1975 – 1979 Lida Lowery, Executive Director
1979 – 1984 Banks Godfrey∞, Executive Director
1984 – 1987 Jan Detter, Executive Director
1987 – 1989 Kathy Page, Executive Director
1993 Lois Dean, Executive Director
1994 – 1998 Kelly Persons, Executive Director
1998 Robert Kneble, Acting Executive Director
1999 – 2005 Tomi Melson*, President & CEO
2005 – present B. Jane Doub*, President & CEO
* Exhibiting Member