Keith Lewis | American Craft Council College of Fellows


Since 1970, the American Craft Council has recognized significant contributions to the field of craft. Originally designated the Award of Merit, in 1975 the ACC adopted the distinction of Fellow of the Council, the body of awardees known collectively as the College of Fellows. Election to the College of Fellows continues to this day, the award a commitment “to honor those who have made an outstanding contribution to the crafts in America.”

Criteria for nomination are few, but significant. An artist must demonstrate leadership in the field, outstanding ability as an artist and/or teacher, and 25 years or more of professional achievement as an American craftsperson. Awardees are nominated by the active College of Fellows; the distinction is recognition of meaningful contribution to the field not by critics, scholars, or collectors, but by one’s peers. It has become appropriately cherished by its recipients, who on joining the ranks of the College are required only to continue its legacy of nomination and recognition of the successive generations of craftspeople.

In addition to artists, individuals who have made their own significant contribution to the craft movement are nominated and elected as Honorary Fellows, their designation including all the distinction and recognition of the College. The significance of the College of Fellows to the field cannot be overstated, and the value of material related to the individuals has proportional importance to the preservation and scholarship of American craft.

“Lewis has had the courage to address issues of Queer identity and politics in his work as well as sexual freedom, politics, Gay male relationships and larger questions about loss, memory, history, and our obligations to the past. These are areas jewelry has rarely approached so directly.” ~ACC Awards Committee Member Susan Cummins