Winston-Salem's Downtown Arts District between Fifth and Seventh Streets along Trade and Liberty Streets is the perfect starting place for your exploration of craft. Make Piedmont Craftsmen your first stop - juried craft is always on view, whether in window displays, on shelves or hanging from the high ceilings. Exhibiting members of this craft guild include artists who work in clay, wood, glass, fibers, leather, metal, printmaking and mixed media. Plan your visit to include the Piedmont Craftsmen's Fair, held annually since 1963 on the third weekend of November at the M.C. Benton Convention Center, two blocks away. The fair showcases the handwork of more than 130 fine artisans from across the Southeast in a setting that allows informal conversations with the artists. There are also craft demonstrations throughout the weekend.
Only a five minute drive from Piedmont Craftsmen, the Delta Arts Center emphasizes the artful contributions of African-Americans and has recently presented Latino artisans as well. Since its focus is not exclusively on craft, you'll want to check the exhibition schedule and also explore the craft classes and workshops held there.
Make your next stop the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) at Old Salem Museums and Gardens, a 10 minute drive away. It highlights Southern decorative arts and material culture. You'll see period rooms from all over the middle South containing examples of furniture, ceramics, silver and textiles. The craft of toy making can be explored at the nearby Old Salem Toy Museum, with its 1,700-year survey of playthings, circa 225 A.D. to 1925.
With a mission to "involve audiences in the art of our time," the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem is a venue for exploring innovative glass, ceramics and craft of all kinds from local, national and international makers - check their exhibition schedule to see what's on display. The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art is an affiliate of the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County's new downtown arts center, the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, includes the Sawtooth Center for Visual Art and two new gallery and exhibition spaces. Visit http://www.intothearts.org/ to learn more.
After sampling craft in Winston-Salem, take a half-hour drive to Greensboro for two additional stops, both found at the downtown Greensboro Cultural Center at Festival Park. The Guilford Native American Art Gallery highlights traditional and contemporary Native American works and hosts four or five exhibitions annually featuring local, state, regional and international Native American artists. Its gift shop carries a wide assortment of authentic jewelry, pottery, baskets and flutes.
The Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art features rotating exhibitions of contemporary art that have included ceramics, glass, fiber, textiles, furniture, works made from recycled materials and Southern folk art. ArtQuest, Green Hill's hands-on art studio designed by N.C. artists, provides kids, families and school groups the opportunity to paint, mold clay, weave, collage and more.
Plan your visit with information on lodging, dining and other activities found at Visit Winston-Salem, United Arts Council of Greensboro, Explore Greensboro, the Greensboro CVB and VisitNC.com.