In a time-honored tradition that’s taken place every winter since 1990, finalists, supporters, students and friends gathered with Buyers Market of American Craft show attendees to take part in the 25th annual NICHE Awards ceremony in Philadelphia on Jan. 18.
New this year was a redesigned awards trophy, created by BMAC exhibitors Joel Bless and his wife Candace Luke-Bless, and the announcement of a new venue for both the awards ceremony and the Buyers Market next year in Washington, D.C.
Wendy Rosen, publisher of NICHE magazine and founder of the Buyers Market, opened the ceremonies, promising the audience that it was about to see inventive new work by some of today’s most promising artists, both professionals and students.
“The NICHE Awards is always an exciting opportunity to check out new designs from working craft artists,” Rosen said. “Having received nearly 1,000 entries this year, it’s been inspiring for me to see such exceptional creativity.
“This weekend also marks 32 years for the Buyers Market,” she continued. “Throughout that time we have developed, nurtured and maintained partnerships with so many talented artists and successful retailers. These relationships, and friendships, too, are what make this community vibrant and unique.“
Rosen then turned the program over to master of ceremonies Bruce Baker, owner of the Great Falls Collection gallery in Vermont, who set a lively pace for the rest of the show. Out of 174 finalists, 35 walked away with 2014 NICHE Awards in the professional division; 17 students, out of 85 finalists chosen from nearly 600 entries, won awards in the student division.
A highlight of the event was the announcement of NICHE magazine’s 2014 Arts Educator of the Year, Michael Rogers, a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences in New York. The special award was created to recognize those individuals who have dedicated their careers to nurturing the next generation of craft artists.
After commanding a big round of applause for all the winners, Baker closed the ceremonies with a heartfelt wish “to see you all again this time next year in Washington, D.C.!”
To view all of the winners of the 2014 NICHE Awards, please visit the NICHE Awards website www.nicheawards.com
Pictured Above: Wendy Rosen with Norleen Nosri, 2014 NICHE Award winner in the professional Ceramics: Functional category. CREDIT: JIM BURGER PHOTOGRAPHY