This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World

May 13, 2022 — April 2, 2023

Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW)
Quilt featuring the portrait of a woman

Sharon Kerry-Harlan, Portrait of Resilience, from the Flag Series, 2020, dye discharge fabric, antique quilt fabric, vinyl, flag fabric, and African print fabric, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Kenneth R. Trapp Acquisition Fund, 2021.35. © 2021, Sharon Kerry-Harlan. Photo by Lee Stalsworth – Fine Art through Photography

This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World showcases American craft like never before. The exhibition highlights the role that artists play in our world to spark essential conversations, stories of resilience, and methods of activism—showing us a more relational and empathetic world. It centers more expansive definitions and acknowledgments of often-overlooked histories and contributions of women, people of color, and other marginalized communities.

On view at SAAM’s Renwick Gallery, This Present Moment activates two floors of gallery space, highlighting nearly 150 artworks from the museum’s permanent collection in a range of craft mediums from fiber and ceramics to glass and mixed media. Approximately 135 of the featured artworks are new acquisitions, never before seen at the Renwick Gallery.

This Present Moment marks the fiftieth anniversary of SAAM’s Renwick Gallery as the nation’s preeminent center for the enjoyment of American craft. It honors the history of studio craft while also introducing progressive contemporary narratives and supporting makers of all genders, sexualities, ethnicities, abilities, and creeds by examining all forms of creative practice.

Featured artists include Tanya Aguiñiga, Nick Cave, David Chatt, Sonya Clark, Cristina Cordova, Cindy Drozda, Alicia Eggert, J. Paul Fennell, Aram Han Sifuentes, Carla Hemlock (Kanienkeháka), Sharon Kerry-Harlan, Ron Ho, Katie Hudnall, Pat Kramer, Stephen Young Lee, Linda Lopez, Robert Lugo, Wendy Maruyama, Myra Mimlitsch-Gray, Tom Loeser, John Mascoll, Connie Mississippi, George Nakashima, LJ Roberts, Judith Schaechter, Preston Singletary, Polly Adams Sutton, Toshiko Takaezu, Gail Tremblay ( Mi'kmaq and Onondaga), Nancy Worden, Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, and many more.

This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World, is organized by Mary Savig, the Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft, with support from Nora Atkinson, the Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-in-Charge for the Renwick Gallery, Anya Montiel, former curator of American and Native American women’s art and craft, and Elana Hain, curatorial assistant. This exhibition is the latest in a series of exhibitions presented at the Renwick Gallery that reassess what craft is in a modern world.

“This present moment   

Used to be   

The unimaginable future.”   

— Stewart Brand, The Clock of the Long Now 

On the Blog

Making the Most: Craft Practice during the Dual Pandemics is a series where artists featured in This Present Moment share personal insight on how they have responded to challenges during the global pandemic and the need for social justice.


This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World is organized by the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  
Generous support is provided by:
James Renwick Alliance 

The catalogue is made possible by Cindy Miscikowski. 
Additional support is provided by: 
Elizabeth Broun Curatorial Endowment, Mary Anne Fray, Cary J. Frieze, Chris G. Harris , Cecily and Bannus Hudson, Colleen and John Kotelly, Joe Logan, Judy Weisman, and Myra and Harold Weiss