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  • KCHEA was created as a means to extend efforts by the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen (KGAC) to document the organization's history toward the goal of creating a 50th Anniversary documentary.

  • The organization idea originated at a Berea meeting in 2008 to discuss the ongoing collecting and funding of oral histories beyond those affiliated with KGAC. 


  • Incorporated as a 501 C-3 May 2008. 


  • Founding members include Susan Goldstein, Founding President, Philis Alvic, Lila Bellando, Richard Bellando, Tim Glotzbach, Fran Redmon and Mary Reed.

  • Produced more than 90 interviews of craftspeople, arts administrators, art educators, and craft enthusiasts who have been instrumental in Kentucky’s craft history. Produced written transcripts of these many of these same interviews that now reside at the Kentucky History Center.  


  • Hosted a forum entitled “Kentucky Craft History: Gather, Conserve, Present”, November 2009. To access the final report, click here.


  • Presented an exhibit, Kentucky Art & Craft: A Continuum of Creativity to show the transition between Kentucky's craft traditions and the ongoing presence of contemporary craft in the state. Held at the Lexington Central Library, November 2010- January 2011.


  • Conducted oral history interviews with 21 Kentucky Instrument makers in 2012 and received a Kentucky Oral History Commission grant for transcriptions in 2013. 


  • Hosted a Kentucky Craft Encyclopedia Planning session November 2012 to introduce plans and gather input from potential partners. To access the final report, click here


  • Hosted Craft History: Preserving Your Personal Legacy workshop at Kentucky Crafted: The Market, March 8, 2015 and the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, March 4, 2017.


  • Presented Kentucky Craft Luminaries: Sharing the Stories exhibit and video at Artplace August 27 - October 10, 2015, supported by LexArts grant.


  • Partnered with the Frazier History Museum, Louisville, to present Kentucky Craft Luminaries: Sharing the Stories exhibit, including artist discussions, teacher professional development, and hands-on demos. November 19, 2018 - March 24, 2019.

  • Partnered with the Downtown Lexington Public Library to present the Kentucky Craft Luminaries: Sharing the Stories Exhibit. (Show was scheduled to open March 2020, delayed for COVID). Reopened for one month, April, 2021.


There is an inherent value in the making of craft which embodies both skill and design; many skills are intrinsic in rural culture and have historically been part of essential living.

Kentucky has a long and rich craft heritage involving both the makers and organizations of craft that have created an economic and cultural impact resulting in national and international recognition for the state as a model for craft development.

History provides valuable lessons that impact our future and documenting and sharing Kentucky’s craft history honors the makers and creates pride in our heritage.

The arts offer many educational and economic benefits and support the development of intellectual skills. Crafts can play a role in education through a variety of academic disciplines connecting students to craft artists as role models and educating them to craft as a vocational and lifestyle choice.

The documentation and preservation of Kentucky’s craft history is needed and urgent and is best done through the artifacts, documents, and stories told by craft makers and organizational leaders that have most significantly impacted the state’s craft movement.

Partnerships are important and have been vital to Kentucky’s craft success and are critical to the ongoing preservation and documentation of its history.

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The state of Kentucky boasts a rich craft heritage, nurtures an active community of contemporary craft entrepreneurs, and is known for institutions that have historically and continually fostered Kentucky’s craft culture. These institutions have produced craft leaders and model programs—many that came to fruition in the post industrial era.  Crafts are a unique part of the state’s cultural identity, are interwoven throughout its rural and agrarian lifestyles, integrated into the development of creative communities, and are a significant contributor to its current economy and tourism industry.

The Kentucky Craft History and Education Association is working to take the lead in documenting this proud craft history. KCHEA is not a bricks and mortar establishment, but wants to collaborate with other institutions to create public awareness about the place of crafts in Kentucky’s education, culture, economy, and history.  KCHEA identifies the people, documents, and objects of Kentucky craft history and promote the acquisition of crafts by existing state repositories.  It encourages research, make resources available, provides technical assistance, and advocates for the preservation of craft history. KCHEA seeks to engage in partnerships with other organizations in crafts, the arts, education, and humanities to present Kentucky’s craft history to diverse populations. KCHEA works to expand access to craft collections and resources through digitized formats and technology.

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