Lifestyle & Culture

‘Creating Joy’ at the Smithsonian Craft Show

From left to right: Glass artist Nicholas F. Kekic’s upbeat vases and bowls, Japanese dolls from wood artists Lisa and Jacob Hodsdon and an unusual ring by jeweler Ann Marie Cianciolo.

By Janet Kelly

SPRING, glorious spring. Politics notwithstanding, it’s when Washington DC puts on its best face for visitors and residents alike. The cherry blossoms may be long gone, but one of the signature events of the season is still in the offing. We’re talking about the Smithsonian Craft Show, which by the way, is celebrating its 42nd year bringing the country’s leading contemporary crafts artists to town.

From May 2 through May 5, 120 expert-juror selected exhibitors (out of 619 who applied) will display and sell their one-of-kind work, including ceramics, wearable and fiber art, furniture, glass and jewelry, at the awe-inspiring National Building Museum with its 75-foot-tall Corinthian columns. The event’s theme, “Creating Joy,” “celebrates the end of the pandemic, people enjoying going out again and more artists able to travel to this show,” says Smithsonian Women’s Committee member and show co-chair Nancy Newkirk.

So we asked Nancy, which artists are on your radar? Here’s her personal sneak preview:

Imagine wearing this sculptural ring with precious and semi-precious stones— from jeweler Ann Marie Cianciolo— to some festive event.

The vases and bowls of one of our new glass artists, Nicholas F. Kekic, create joy—in transparent lime, orange and hyacinth.

New-to-the-show wood artists Lisa and Jacob Hodsdon specialize in Japanese wooden dolls traditionally made for children but becoming more and more popular among collectors.

The show officially begins May 2 and ends May 5, but the fun kicks off May 1 at the Preview Night Party. Be there and be among the first to view the displays, leisurely shop and chat up the artists while sipping drinks, listening to music and munching hors d’oeuvres provided by RSVP Catering.

Also on May 1, two outstanding glass artists, Dan Dailey and Judith Schaechter, will receive the Smithsonian Visionary Award. Dailey will be honored for his innovative and captivating glass sculptures, blending elements of sculpture, painting and storytelling into his pieces. Schaechter, by melding distinctive themes and contemporary techniques within an ancient tradition, has redefined conventional stained glass.

The Details:

The Smithsonian Craft Show opens to the public on Thursday, May 2, 2024. Tickets for the Preview Night Party—from 6 to 9pm on Wednesday, May 1 are $250. Preview Party and Visionary Artist Reception—from 5 to 6pm—are $500.

Show hours: 10:30am to 5:30pm, Thursday, May 2 to Saturday, May 4; and Sunday, May 5, 11am to 5pm. You may use your ticket on the day of your choice.

Admission: $20 at the door or in advance online. $15 per person for groups of 10 or more and students. See all the details and information on special events here.


The Smithsonian Craft Show is produced by the Smithsonian Women’s Committee, an all-volunteer organization that supports the education, outreach and research programs of the Smithsonian Institution. The National Building Museum is located at 401 F Street NW (202-272-2448). The closest Metro stop is Judiciary Square. 


3 thoughts on “‘Creating Joy’ at the Smithsonian Craft Show

  1. Kamer davis says:

    It’s always a great show—surprising and inspiring even when you’re not in the market for anything

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      Well put, Kamer.

  2. Carol says:

    Sounds just lovely, but not sure I can make it this year

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