Art vs. Craft at Turner Ballroom, 2005
Event flyer designed by the Little Friends of Printmaking, 2013
Art vs. Craft, hosted in Milwaukee, WI, from 2005 to 2015
Inspired by vending at the premier Chicago Renegade Craft Fair in 2003, Faythe Levine founded Art vs. Craft in Milwaukee, WI. The first two years of AVC were bi-annual; the following eight years, it always occurred in early November. The tagline "Buy Handmade for the Holidays" urged the public to avoid mass-produced goods by purchasing items directly from the source. It was an extension of Levine's larger ethos, connected to her other projects at that time, Paper Boat Gallery and the documentary and book Handmade Nation. The event also encouraged early conversations about material sourcing, labor, and production with emerging designers. It acted as a springboard for many independent makers and small businesses, allowing them to build their identities and brands.
Over its tenure in Milwaukee, AVC was held in four venues: Turner Ballroom, Milwaukee School of Engineering Campus, The Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center, and the Harley Davidson Museum. With endless community support, AVC annually drew in over 5000+ visitors through the doors at each event and, over the years, hosted over 450 unique vendors both regional and as far away as New York, Florida, California, and Seattle. Many were selling their work for the first time and have now moved on to have sustainable small businesses.
A special acknowledgment goes out to Levine's business partner at Paper Boat, Kim Kisolek, whose direct support was invaluable, and Milwaukee's local independent radio station, WMSE 91.7FM, whose unwavering support and sponsorship made the event possible. Additionally, the design team, THE LITTLE FRIENDS OF PRINTMAKING, based in Milwaukee during these years, designed the promotional materials, including limited edition silkscreen posters, between 2007 and 2015. Their unique style and attention to detail helped create the lasting identity of AVC.
Additional history, archives, and images are available upon request.