Eligibility: Emerging, Craft Writer
Stay tuned for 2024 application info and deadlines!
Established by Anne Stadlmair, the Jean Johnson Craft Writing Award recognizes the importance of supporting writing about craft by an emerging writer or curator. The award supports emerging careers in craft discourse, furthers the appreciation and understanding of craft in Canada, and recognizes critical analysis and the contemporary significance of the awarded project. Exploring current issues in relation to craft practice, the Jean Johnson Craft Writing Award is designed to help develop and promote the work of emerging writers and curators. The award recipient receives a financial award, editorial support to prepare their article for publication in a forthcoming issue of Studio magazine, and a two-year subscription.
Jean Johnson's interest in the arts was rooted in her childhood. She graduated from the art program at Northern Secondary School at the age of 18, and had her first "art job" re-drawing the American comic-book superhero Captain Marvel for Canadian audiences. She lived in Venezuela from 1951 to 1961; and during her time there, in addition to learning Spanish, painted the landscape and drew botanical images.
Johnson returned to Toronto in 1961 and became curator at Merton Gallery. While there, she represented and supported the careers of many notable Canadian craft artists. In 1979, she began what she later called "the crowning achievement" of her career, running Harbourfront Centre's Craft Studio. Johnson saw rich potential in the Craft Studio's artist-in-residence program and was the driving force behind its development into a prime destination for emerging Canadian craft artists. She introduced a resource library and a volunteer advisory committee to the site, as well as encouraging international exchanges and inviting leading figures to lecture and give master classes. Johnson further presented conferences, such as Exploring Contemporary Craft History, Theory and Critical Writing, as well as the Crafting New Traditions: Canadian Innovators and Influences symposium and publication, which celebrates Canadian craft pioneers.
Jean was awarded the Order of Canada (1993) for her work with craft communities across Canada; The Mather Award for Lifetime Achievement, Craft Ontario (1994); Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa, Nova Scotia College of Art & Design (2000); Honorary Fellowship, Ontario College of Art & Design (2001), and the Queen's Jubilee Medal (2012).