Honee Hess, a prominent, veteran art educator and art historian will be taking the reins as executive director of the Worcester Center for Crafts on Monday, September 17.
“We are very fortunate to have such a highly skilled member of the Worcester arts community serving in this critical role,” said Worcester State University President Barry Maloney. “She will usher in the next phase in the alliance between our university and the Crafts Center,” he added.
Hess, whose leadership as director of education at the Worcester Art Museum established WAM as a place of educational innovation and community commitment, brings strong management skills and knowledge of art and craft education to the position. She came to Worcester from the University of Iowa, where she built an education program from the ground up at the University of Iowa Museum of Art. In Worcester, she founded Art All-State at WAM, among many other programs, and established its statewide reputation within the educational community.
“Her wealth of experience in education of the arts is a tremendous asset, not only for the Crafts Center, but also for the Visual and Performing Arts Department, the university and greater Worcester as a whole,” said Chair of Worcester State’s Visual and Performing Arts Department Adam Zahler.
“I am thrilled to be tapped to lead an organization which I consider to be one of Worcester’s gems, a place that continues to provide quality and in-depth educational and artistic services to the greater Worcester community and, at the same time, brings such value to the faculty and students of Worcester State University,” Hess said.
Hess, who lives in Worcester, is a community leader involved in many boards and city-wide committees, including First Night Worcester, Family Health Center, the MLK Breakfast/Black History Month Committee, and the Elm Park Community School Site Council.
Hess succeeds Carol Donnelly, a Worcester State University faculty member who served as interim director for three years. Donnelly is returning to her position as Professor of Early Childhood Education.
“Carol has done a fantastic job launching the alliance between the Crafts Center and Worcester State University and rebuilding the Crafts Center as an important community-based arts organization,” said Bill O’Neill, chair of the Center’s board of directors. “Without her devotion to the mission of the Crafts Center, we would not be prepared to hire a full-time community director who will shape the Crafts Center vision for the future.”
Hess has her bachelor’s degree from Coe College and her master’s degree in arts from Tulane University. In addition, she studied at Reynolda House and Indiana University.
The Worcester Center for Crafts was established in 1856 as the Worcester Employment Society and is one of the oldest craft organizations in the country. Its original mission was to create economic empowerment by teaching immigrants the skills needed to create and sell crafts. Today, in alliance with Worcester State University, the Worcester Center for Crafts is a community-based arts organization, committed to providing quality craft education, supporting entrepreneurship in the arts, and promoting an appreciation for fine craft. It houses the studio classrooms of the Worcester State Visual and Performing Arts Department and provides instruction in ceramics, metalwork and jewelry design, glass arts, two-dimensional design, and more. It’s Pottery Invitational, Art of Dining, exhibitions in the Kirkorkian Gallery and Craft Festivals are eagerly awaited community events that offer great social opportunities while fostering a community appreciation for fine crafts.
About the Photo: Honee Hess (left) with Carol Donnelly in the Kirkorkian Gallery
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