After five years leading Craft Alliance, Executive Director Mark Witzling has announced he will retire in August 2023. Under his leadership, Craft Alliance experienced significant transformation, including the 2020 relocation to its new, expanded home in the emerging Delmar Maker District.
“Craft Alliance has been a vital part of the vibrant St. Louis creative community and is well respected in the national craft community. Throughout the past few years of the pandemic the organization has adapted and thrived,” said Witzling. “With a wonderful and talented staff and teaching faculty, an energized and committed Board, and a generous community of supporters, members, and students, Craft Alliance is well positioned as it moves towards its 60th anniversary in 2024. Financially stronger than ever, now is the right time for me to move towards my personal retirement after a 40+ year career. I will remain active in the arts community as an artist and supporter.”
During Witzling’s tenure, this historic St. Louis arts institution, founded in 1964, went through a series of changes, including:
- The consolidation of its Grand Center education site with the long-time craft education center in the Delmar Loop.
- Shortly thereafter, in January 2020 Craft Alliance announced its relocation to the Delmar Maker District. Doubling in size, the new location included new studio spaces, a gallery retail shop, the new Staenberg Gallery, artists-in-residence studio space, and updated staff facilities.
- In 2021, Craft Alliance expanded again with the creation of a new Print and Paper Arts Studio in the new location.
“Always passionate about reminding everyone that craft changes lives, Mark is a strong leader and his vision has had a tremendous impact on Craft Alliance and how we interact with the community,” says Peggy Holly, Board Chair of Craft Alliance. “Craft Alliance continues to create community-based programming through its relationships with area schools and community organizations, including participating along with other local organizations to bring arts education to historic Sumner High School. During his tenure, exhibitions at Craft Alliance have included nationally renowned artists, as well as local artists, artists-in-residence, and participants in teen programs such as Crafting-A-Future.”
Craft Alliance will begin the process of identifying a successor over the coming months.
“Our next leader will bring forward the mission of educating and enriching our community through contemporary craft,” notes Holly. “There is plenty of passion in the community to build upon to bring the experience of craft to a broad and diverse audience.”