Since 2013, one of our biggest projects has been a multi-year initiative to promote the unique educational and artistic experience at five of the top immersion retreat craft schools in the US. This dynamic collective of Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Penland School of Crafts, Peters Valley School of Craft, and Pilchuck Glass School has been exploring the values, communities and opportunities that join them as a movement.

We officially launched the effort with a Special Exhibit at SOFA Chicago in 2014 and it’s been a steadily growing message ever since. Check out CraftSchools.us for information on the schools, sharable e-cards with beautiful craft school images and the new “Make/Time” podcast produced and hosted by Stu Kestenbaum.

Craft school directors celebrate launch of national initiative at Special Exhibit opening at SOFA Chicago. L to R: Kristin Muller, Peters Valley; Jim Baker, Pilchuck; Stu Kestenbaum, Haystack; Jean McLaughlin, Penland; Bill May, Arrowmont

IMPACT

  • Participating craft schools gained between 5%-10% new viewers to their school websites through CraftSchools.us – each of the 4 years of the public campaign.
  • #CraftSchoolExperience reached 2.7 million people in 2017, up from 350,000 the year before. Analysis: This data shows us that the hashtag expanded in use broadly, but also had a depth of representation across posts and platforms. The dramatic increase in the number of impressions indicates people were exposed to it multiple times in their online experience.
  • The schools who used the campaign the most and had the most opportunity to grow benefited the most. Enrollment at these schools increased between 18% – 29% by the end of the campaign. With an average increase between 10% – 15% each of the 4 years of the campaign.

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