Craft at RIT: Celebrating The Sixtieth Year

Bevier Gallery hosts an exhibition by current teaching faculty in the School for American Crafts

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Elizabeth Lamark

Minor Utopia by Robin Cass

The School for American Crafts in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology has a long history of excellence in teaching. Founded in 1943 at Dartmouth College, the school’s original purpose was to develop and raise the standards of traditional crafts in the United States by recruiting European master craftsmen to serve as educators. Vanderbilt Webb, the school’s primary benefactor, led the effort to have it relocated to RIT in 1949.

The School for American Crafts is celebrating “The Sixtieth Year” with an exhibition by current teaching faculty who will showcase their work. The show begins with an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 23 and runs through Nov. 18. Featured in the exhibit are works by Robin Cass, Leonard Urso, Juan Carlos Caballero-Perez, Andy Buck, Rich Tannen, Rick Hirsch and Michael Rogers.

One of the longest serving faculty members in the college is metals professor Urso, who came to RIT in 1983. He says the 60th faculty exhibition lays testimony towards the school’s continuing presence at the cutting edge of contemporary American art and craft.

“Evolution and change have occurred over the past 60 years yet the importance and integrity found in art forms masterfully shaped by hand remains forever strong,” Urso says.

Don Arday, chair for RIT’s School for American Crafts, says RIT’s School for American Crafts is one of the premier craft schools in the United States, if not the world.

“The recognition comes from our faculty and alumni who are at the forefront of their disciplines and who define the direction of their field,” he says.

The School for American Crafts studios were modernized this past summer with a 13,000-square-foot area, which includes existing space in the James E. Booth Building and a new addition on the building’s west side. As part of the renovations, there is a work-yard area that students can use for iron pours, welding and raku firing.

For more information call the Bevier Gallery at 585-475-2646 or visit RIT’s School for American Crafts at

Editor's Note: The Institute of Fellows Symposium presents Alan Cameros who will speak on “The History of SAC” from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Nov. 5 in RIT’s James E. Booth Building Auditorium. He is a member of the RIT Institute of Fellows, crafts collector, researcher and former National Museum Trustee Chairman. A reception will follow in the Bevier Gallery.