The Economy Hits Home

wccclayclassToday (1/6) I received a phone call that the Worcester Center for Crafts —which has been open for 152 years and where I have taught for almost 8— is closing for a “strategic pause”, and without a serious infusion of cash, will close permanently.  This is very sad news for the metro Worcester community, Massachusetts, New England and the craft world as a whole, and very hard news for those of us who depend on the income from teaching and working at the Center. I, my husband and our WCC friends and colleagues, as well as our students, will be deeply impacted by this.

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Information from today’s (1/7) local online paper:  “Almost all the center’s staff of about 45 people, most of them part time [instructors like me], have been laid off… To reopen, the Center needs about $1.2 million, to retire debt and finance a restart, a steep challenge in the current economic climate.”

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There is more information about the Center at the WCC website where you can check for updates and make donations: http://www.worcestercraftcenter.org

“Sustaining craft as a vital part of our world.”

10 thoughts on “The Economy Hits Home

  1. Really sorry to hear the sad news. I hope things can improve for them.

    Meanwhile, on our side of the pond, the big shock today was that Wedgwood have gone into administration – a quality ceramics company that has been running for 250 years.

  2. I had heard about Wedgwood and Woolworth’s on the BBC. As an avid news junkie, I have been following the news around the world and how many have lost jobs and are faced with major insecurity. 2009 is supposed to get tougher. I hope our new U.S. president can help with a turn around.

  3. Wow. Very sorry to hear this. I took a couple of classes the WCC a long time ago. (I was a student at WPI at the time.) It is a great facility that will be missed! Best of luck to all the staff. Hope things turn around soon.

  4. So incredibly sad. I know that some of my galleries had to close, and I was devastated to hear about Wedgewood. I find myself hoping that it is indeed due to the economy and not due to a lack of interest in craftsmanship and handmade.

  5. Wow…that is really something. Everyday something else just amazes me about what is going on around the country. I too am a new junkie and lately I think some days I really need to just turn it off because I get so anxious feeling after I hear about another company going out of business or many people loosing there jobs. It does not surprise me that art centers will start closing down. Those of us who make things for a living and live and breath art I’m sure are going to feel the pinch more and more.
    Keep us posted and good luck!
    Jennifer

  6. Yes, it’s a scary time and hard to stay positive. The Craft Center close will effectively halve our income. We are trying to buoy each other, knowing we are comparatively very lucky, and hope to find new ventures. Thanks for the well wishes. And if you know of any places looking for workshop instructors, pass them my way!

  7. Kristen —

    I’m sorry it’s taken news this bad to prompt me out of my radio silence.

    I’m thinking of you and Trevor, and sending both of you good wishes and fervent hopes that something new will turn up soon.

    I’ll write a proper (email/snail mail) letter in the next couple of days; just wanted to let you know that I was thinking of you and sending you my best asap.

    xoxo
    Rebecca

  8. Hopefully, our country will start turning around on Jan 21. I’m sad to hear of the Center’s closing. Let’s hope this is a temporary situation. Arrowmont School in Gatlinburg, Tn. is also in dire straights. Many galleries in my area have shut down as well.

    I am one of a multitude of fans of your work.

  9. Thanks for the continuing notes. (I was a resident at Arrowmont for a year from 1997-98, and know about their situation.) It’s hard to see and experience the trickle down as people need to cut out the luxuries in their lives, even if those “unnecessaries” are good things like a handmade bowl purchased from an artist or the ability to take a therapeutic crafts class.

    I appreciate your thoughts. Best wishes, Kristen

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