“Craft is a Verb” to be Featured at UA’s Sarah Moody Gallery

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Sarah Moody Gallery of Art at The University of Alabama will present its annual Farley Moody Galbraith Endowed Exhibition “Craft is a Verb” March 3 through April 13.

A free, opening day lecture and reception will be available to the public from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, March 3. The lecture, in 205 Smith Hall, features American Craft Museum curator Scott Ruby. The reception will follow in the Gallery.

The exhibit and other activities will be held in conjunction with the Alabama Clay Conference 15 and the Alabama Craft 2000 Conference, both of which will feature sessions at various Tuscaloosa and UA locations March 1-5. The conference events are sponsored by the Alabama Craft Council and Kentuck Museum of Northport.

While tied to its rich historical roots of function, craft today is characterized by a high level of refinement, underpinned by an identification with current movements in painting and sculpture, enabling the contemporary craftsperson to transcend traditional forms and techniques to create works of new significance.

Along with a surge in craft production, there has been a corresponding growth in opportunities to exhibit works. Museums, galleries and other exhibition sites are showing an increased interest in the works of artists/craftspeople, and this has been met by an expansion in patronage and support among private and corporate collectors and sponsors.

Vicki Rial, gallery assistant at the Sarah Moody Gallery, said the upcoming exhibit welcomes some of the better known names in craft making to Tuscaloosa — an area that has embraced craft as art for a very long time. The West Alabama area has been home to one of the nation’s foremost craft events — the annual Kentuck Festival — and this event should attract immense interest from a wide array of craft and art enthusiasts.

“Craft is a Verb brings work by persons who have literally reinvented the notion of craft and cast off the limitations of traditional form, while at the same time celebrating craft as tradition,” said Rial.

“As this area is rich in the traditions of craft, it is a real opportunity for residents of West Alabama and the surrounding area to experience a bite of the Big Apple in the work of those craft artists who have been embraced by the metropolitan art market. Dale Chihuly, Claire Zeisler, Peter Voulkos and Rudy Autio have carved permanent niches for

themselves in the history of art due to their innovations in form using traditional craft materials: glass, clay and fibers. Other outstanding works in the exhibition are by artists who have embraced technology and are incorporating this technology into the traditional craft object.”

Since the 1960s, the crafts movement has been characterized by a new self-awareness of its place in the arena of artistic expression. Traditions from many cultures and techniques from the past have been re-thought and employed in new ways. The tireless desire to develop new skills through experimentation has brought an enormously, new, technical vocabulary to each medium. Recent advances in computer technology have added yet another layer to the unprecedented range of creative possibilities available to the craftperson of the last years of the 20th century and beyond.

Funding for the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art is provided by the Farley Moody Galbraith Endowment, the department of art and the College of Arts and Sciences. Additional funding for this exhibit is provided through a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Gallery is located at 103 Garland Hall on the UA campus. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Sundays from 2-5 p.m. Admission to the gallery is free. For more information about the exhibit, call 205/348-1891.


Lance M. Skelly, Office of Media Relations, 205/348-3782


Vicki Rial, 205/348-1891