Photograph by Jon Cancelino
"There is a unique bond in owning a piece of artwork that was made by hand. Especially in this day and age of our industrialized environment and increasing reliance on computer technology, it brings about an even greater appeal,” says Karen Ribbon, co-chair of the 2010 American Craft Exposition (ACE), the much-anticipated artisan craft show, which garners nationwide acclaim year after year.
Held from August 27 to 29 at the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion on the Northwestern University Campus, co-chairs Karen Ribbon and Jan
McKnight have steadfastly worked with a team of committee members during the past year to bring more than 160 artisans skilled in metal, glass, furniture, jewelry, ceramics, leather, wood, mixed media, basketry, and other creative forms to collectors on the North Shore. ACE, now in its 26th year, is presented by The Auxiliary of NorthShore University HealthSystem at Evanston and Glenbrook Hospitals, and benefits breast and ovarian cancer research.
Over those years, the Auxiliary has raised more than $4.8 million for research—$2.75 million raised since 2000 alone, when the focus shifted exclusively to women’s cancer issues. “Our money is raised through donations, tickets sales, and booth space income, and we take no commission on what the artists sell. That is all for them,” says Jan.
What makes a show like ACE unique is the ability to talk with the artists face-to-face about what inspires them. And getting that booth space is no small feat: More than 1,000 artists apply to the show from around the nation. A jury with a trained eye selects only those whose “museum quality” pieces will work within the show, bringing the best of the best to the North Shore.
The Benefit Preview Party will be on Thursday, August 26, at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $100, and include a three-day pass and a sneak peak of the expo before the thousands come through the doors the following day. Before the Preview Party is the Collector’s Hour, which at $150 allows for a preview before the preview. “If you are a true collector, you want to be there,” says Karen. Join the supporters of ACE for a fashion show on Sunday, August 29, at 2 p.m., featuring Steven Rosengard, of Project Runway fame.
For more information or to purchase a $12 three-day adult pass in advance, visit americancraftexpo.org. Tickets are $15 at the door and $5 for children 10 and under.