Next time your travels take you beyond the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, head to the Delmar neighborhood for some of the finest contemporary crafts in America. There, the nonprofit Craft Alliance is in its sixth decade giving local, regional, and national artisans a place to learn and showcase their crafts. Whether ceramics, glass, textiles, or jewelry, Craft Alliance celebrates it all.
In 2020, the Craft Alliance expanded, moving out of its prior location of 50 years. Its new, larger building is located in the heart of the Delmar Makers District, a thriving one-block community of makers and institutions.
“Our gift shop offers a one-of-a-kind, curated experience,” says Craft Alliance executive director Mark Witzling. “We’ve carefully selected the 100-plus artists we represent, and everything is handcrafted. These are unique works that you just can’t get anywhere else.”
Showcasing best-of-the-best artisans and makers has an added benefit: motivation. Their excellence gives the students in Alliance classes a benchmark to achieve.
The Alliance bustles with activity as weaving shuttles flying and jewelry hammers tapping. Artists also teach a variety of technique classes from throwing pots on a wheel to sharing the basics of weaving.
“We’re an educational resource on craft for our community, so we engage on many levels, whether you’re visiting from Evansville to see one of our exhibits, an artisan honing new techniques, or students taking a class on a specific medium,” Witzling says.
Classes are open to the public, with Alliance members given priority for early registration. In June, the Alliance also holds a group show for its artists-in-residence.
From the Craft Alliance, be sure to visit other Delmar Maker District destinations within walking distance: Third Degree Glass Factory and MADE, a state-of-the-art makerspace.
Photos provided by Craft Alliance