University Art Gallery


September 11 - December 11, 2003

Swain School of Design 1985-88
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth 1988-2001

Curated by Gail Berman

"Craft Transformed - Program In Artisanry,"
is a two-fold project, consisting of two exhibitions and a catalog, and was jointly undertaken by the Fuller Museum of Art in Brockton and the University Art Gallery.

The exhibition at the Fuller Museum of Art in Brockton is subtitled, "Boston University 1975-85," and will be on view from September 20 through January 4, 2004. It was curated by former Boston Museum of Fine Arts curator, Jonathan Fairbanks.

The exhibition at the University Art Gallery is subtitled, "Swain School of Design 1985-88, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth 1988-2002," and was curated by Gail M. Brown, an independent curator and critic in Philadelphia. It features work by all former and current faculty, as well as selected work by undergraduate and graduate students in the four areas of clay, metal, wood and fiber. Seventy-five pieces of ceramics, jewelry, furniture, and weaving are on display, providing an unusual introduction to the productivity and creativity of faculty and students from the eighteen years the Program in Artisanry has been located in New Bedford.

The Program in Artisanry was established in 1975 at Boston University as a graduate certificate program and an undergraduate degree program, and flourished until 1985 when it was discontinued due to lack of funding. During that time, many accomplished artists such as Jere Osgood, Dan Jackson and Alphonse Mattia in wood; Chris Gustin and Rick Hirsch in ceramics; J. Fred Woell and Jamie Bennett in metals; and Shirley Fink, Barbara Goldberg and Barbara Eckhardt in fiber, were instructors in the program, creating ground-breaking work that was innovative in both technique and content. Many of the program's artists redefined what it meant to create in their respective mediums, launching a new era of artistic discovery and exploration.

In 1985, the Program in Artisanry was released from Boston University and was re-located to the Swain School of Design in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Three years later, in 1988, Swain School of Design merged with Southeastern Massachusetts University and the Program in Artisanry merged with the College of Visual and Performing Arts. In 1991, Southeastern Massachusetts University became the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, one of five campuses of the University of Massachusetts system.

In 2001, the Program in Artisanry and the other departments of the College of Visual and Performing Arts that were located in buildings on Purchase Street in the northern part of the city, moved downtown to the newly renovated Star Store department store building on Union Street. Current faculty in the Program in Artisanry include Stephen Whittlesey in wood; Jim Lawton and Rebecca Hutchinson in ceramics; Susan Hamlet and Alan Burton Thompson in metals; and Marjorie Durko Puryear in fiber - all innovative and nationally recognized artists within their respective fields.

The regional and national impact of the Program In Artisanry is stronger than ever, due to the network of practicing crafts people and teachers who have had contact with the program as instructors or students either at Boston University, Swain School of Design, or University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. The program continues to thrive and to push boundaries, every year presenting a new group of students that create work which is challenging, pushing us toward new definitions of what is craft and what is art while providing us with rich new experiences of form, material and subject matter.

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