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Society of Arts & Crafts hires new director

As the new executive director for the Society of Arts & Crafts, Fabio J. Fernández is using his enthusiasm for the arts to keep handcrafted work alive and rejuvenated through the organization in the years to come. The SAC announced the appointment in January after a national search. He succeeds Beth Ann Gerstein who served as executive director for 21 years.

Fabio J. Fernandez

“[Getting] the position means a lot, but it also means being the person in charge and shouldering the responsibility of continuing to advocate for artists and craftsmen, while hiring and developing a smart and motivated staff. The weight of that has become real,” Fernández says.

The SAC has been a non-profit craft organization since 1897. Fernández says one of the challenges for the organization is where it stands on new technology, such as 3-D printers.

“The 3-D printer in some ways is just another tool like the band saw or the chop saw, but it’s also revolutionary and needs to be folded into the 21st century way of thinking about materials and methods into different program areas,” he says.

The SAC produces CraftBoston, a juried show held twice a year, and operates galleries in Boston to promote handcrafted work in a variety of media.

“Each of our programs has an educational component so it’s about connecting the artists’ work with the general public, collectors, students and more,” Fernández says.

Fernández says one of his main goals is finding the right foundation for long-term financial support.

“I know we don’t have as much appeal as a school and the alumni base, but our programs are supporting students that have graduated from Rhode Island School of Design, North Bennet Street School, College of the Redwoods and so on. You just need to find the right language and the right people to more deeply fund what we do so we can do it better and at a bigger scale.”

Fernández has served as the SAC exhibitions director for the last eight years and was associate curator at Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., for three years.

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This article originally appeared in the March 2015 issue.

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