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The Editors Mailbox

Sad Sign of the Times: Brookfield (CT) Craft Center Closes

comments (8) May 11th, 2010 in blogs

Tom Tom McKenna, Managing Editor
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Located just outside of Danbury, CT, the Brookfield Craft Center has been a place for all manner of artisans to perfect--and sell--their work.
The red buildings, which sit on the banks of the Still River, have been landmarks on the Brookfield landscape for years.
Located just outside of Danbury, CT, the Brookfield Craft Center has been a place for all manner of artisans to perfect--and sell--their work. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Located just outside of Danbury, CT, the Brookfield Craft Center has been a place for all manner of artisans to perfect--and sell--their work.

Photo: Courtesy Brookfield Craft Center

I just found out that the Brookfield Craft Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching handmade crafts skills, is closing due to financial difficulties.

"The economic downturn has had a severe impact on income from our education and retail programs and availability of state funding and foundation grants," says Richard Herrmann, executive director. "Even with reduced expenses and generous contributions by our Board of Directors and other donors, income has not been sufficient to cover operating costs."

The center, located just 20 minutes from The Taunton Press in Connecticut, was founded in 1954 by Nancy Hagmayer. According to its mission statement, the center worked "to stimulate interest in handmade objects of good design, to act as a clearinghouse for information related to handcrafts and to act as a sales outlet for the encouragement of practicing craftsmen."

The economy has whalloped not only high-school craft programs (and woodworking classes in particular) but also local donor-sponsored craft schools. With all these doors closing, it means folks will have to work harder to find outlets for their creativity. It's too bad because I'd hate to see hand skills disappear from our educational landscape.



posted in: blogs, Brookfield Craft Center, Danbury, The Taunton Press


Comments (8)

hmcnally hmcnally writes: While the report of Brookfield Craft Center's death were not quite exaggerated in May, I'm happy to report that BCC is in the midst of a comeback! In fact, BCC has re-opened, and is having its 35th annual holiday sale, including an opening day sneak preview:

http://www.brookfieldcraft.org/2010/11/04/2010-holiday-sale-preview-tickets-available/

Readers who are interested in BCC can visit http://www.brookfieldcraft.org/ for more information, and can visit http://www.facebook.com/BrookfieldCraft to join our Facebook community.
Posted: 11:32 am on November 14th

Davesuds Davesuds writes: I think most of you are too cynical. You sound like whinging old men. There are lots of younger people interested in making things or who want to make things. But netserv66 is right in saying that they don't have the time or money to do so. A woodworking tool collection takes a long time to acquire.
Posted: 9:20 pm on June 20th

netserv666 netserv666 writes: I understand what people are saying in these comments , however before this article I had given this subject considerable thought with a different and more optimistic conclusion. I was wondering why young people today show so little interest in fine crafts, but I think maybe most people don't really get into this type of endeavor until they are older. Usually it takes a fair amount of the following items , time, money and patience. All of those are more available to middle age and older individuals as a whole. Now the economy has hit that group very hard and the things that they have lost are time , money, and patience.....
Posted: 9:17 am on June 1st

Floss Floss writes: I think Wester hit the target.

There is a change in the current generation of folks growing up. They have no real experience with craft or any desire to seek it out. I think it goes hand in hand with the way we choose to educate our young people.

School age children are taught about the importance of intelectual knowlwdge and its value in society. Craft knowlwdge or kinesthetic learning is all but lost in school curriculum.

How many times have you heard "You must have a college education in order to make it in the world"? We as a society don't value labor or hard work any more. We have simply lost the abilities to provide for ourselves making us more dependent on others goods and services.

There will always be folks around who "make" things. But they are becoming more and more of a rare breed. I am afraid that the only place to find such individuals in the future will be in museuems.


Posted: 11:09 am on May 13th

wester wester writes: Well guys I believe this is evidence of what the future holds for our children.In my opinion the younger generations do not know what true craftsmanship means let alone knowing how to perform quality tasks.I know that what craftsmen are around my neck of the woods do not even like to socialize in any manner.This saddens me on a daily basis because the true fact is that we are becoming a disposable society where everyone wants to be a hair dresser or video game programmer.
I know that i will always be the first in line to learn from someone more experienced and will gladly teach what little I may know to anyone who is really interested.We are doing good but we can always do better.So you say the economy is the main factor.I simply ask is that it or is it from lack of interest.I am sorry if this seems to negative it is just my opinion.
Posted: 9:45 pm on May 12th

Tom Tom writes: Boy, mv, I hope not, but the road certainly seems to be heading that way.
Posted: 8:22 pm on May 11th

mvflaim mvflaim writes: Twenty years from now, woodworking will be where blacksmithing is today. The tools will always be available but the places to learn the craft will nearly be gone.

Posted: 7:38 pm on May 11th

GEide GEide writes: :( Very sad... I took a woodworking class there a while back. The folks there were also kind enough to let me shoot some video on their lovely school for a video production class that I was taking.
Posted: 12:22 pm on May 11th

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