The Burke Prize

A new annual award that reinforces MAD’s commitment to celebrating the next generation of artists working in and advancing the disciplines that shaped the American studio craft movement, the Burke Prize is an unrestricted $50,000 award made to a professional artist under the age of forty-five working in glass, fiber, clay, metals, or wood.

Named for Marian and Russell Burke, two passionate collectors of craft and longtime supporters of MAD, the Burke Prize will be determined by an annual jury of professionals in the fields of art, craft, and design following an open application process.

Eligible applicants are professional artists under the age of forty-five working in glass, fiber, clay, metals, or wood. Applicants must be American citizens or permanent residents, living or working within the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, or the US Virgin Islands. 

The applications will be reviewed by a jury led by Shannon R. Stratton, William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator at MAD. This fall, the Museum will present an exhibition of work by a selected group of finalists of the Burke Prize, prior to the announcement of the first winner at MAD Ball.

2018 Jurors

Michael Radyk is the Director of Education for the American Craft Council and Editor in Chief of the journal American Craft Inquiry, as well as an artist who has focused his practice on both industrial and hand weaving.  Radyk received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and developed his interest in education and teaching while at RISD and Brown University’s Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning.  He has spent the last ten years exhibiting his work, producing both handwoven and Jacquard textiles and sculptures, and teaching at various institutions. Radyk’s approach highlights his aim of expressing his multilayered sources of inspiration, meaning, metaphor, and research. Radyk’s work is included in the Textile Collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. He has exhibited throughout the United States and internationally. Upcoming exhibitions include: Blue/Green: color/code/context, Brown Grotto Arts in 2018, and The Invitational Biannual Exhibition 2019, International Fiber Art Fair, Seoul Arts Center, South Korea.                                                           

Jenni Sorkin is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History at University of California, Santa Barbara. She writes on the intersection between gender, craft, material culture, and contemporary art. She holds a PhD in the History of Art from Yale University. She has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Luce Foundation, and the Getty Research Institute. In 2016, she co-curated, with Paul Schimmel, Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947-2016, the inaugural exhibition at Hauser & Wirth in Los Angeles. She recently published Live Form: Women, Ceramics and Community (The University of Chicago Press), which examines American post-war ceramics practice through the lens of gender. She sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Modern Craft, and publishes and lectures widely.

Namita Gupta Wiggers is the Director of the Master of Arts in Critical and Historical Craft Studies, Warren Wilson College, North Carolina, a new low-residency program focused on craft history and theory launching in Summer 2018. Wiggers leads Critical Craft Forum, an online and onsite platform for dialogue and exchange about craft, including a Facebook Group, iTunes podcast, blog, and annual sessions at College Art Association. She taught courses on contemporary craft and theory, history of graphic design, curating through craft, and theory of objects. From 2004-14, Wiggers served as the Curator and Director (2012-14) of Museum of Contemporary Craft, where she curated and organized more than 65 exhibitions, hundreds of programs, and commissioned critical writing for online and print projects. Wiggers serves on the Board of Directors of Haystack Mountain School of Craft, Maine, as Exhibition Reviews Editor, Journal of Modern Craft, and on the editorial boards of Garland and Norwegian Crafts. Current projects include: editor of Companion on Contemporary Craft, Wiley Blackwell Publishers, and a research project on gender and adornment with Benjamin Lignel.

Frequently Asked Questions

Applicants must be:

  • A US citizen or a permanent legal resident
  • At least 21 years old and not older than 45 at the time of application 
  • A working artist, not a hobbyist, who can demonstrate a commitment to their practice as a professional

Applicants cannot be:

  • An institution or small business
  • A full-time student in a degree-granting program or its equivalent
  • Applicants may not be students at the time of applying, even if graduation is pending the same year
  • A current employee, consultant, board member, or major funder of the Museum of Arts and Design, or an immediate family member of such a person

Why is there an age restriction? 

The prize is meant to celebrate and support young artists who represent the next generation working in the traditional American studio craft disciplines of glass, fiber, clay, metals, or wood. In the past, “young” or “next generation” has often meant under the age of 30 or 40. We have expanded this to 45 to accommodate the length of time many artists take to complete schooling as well as the exceptional financial burden that schooling places on young artists today, requiring most to pursue full-time employment before they can fully dedicate themselves to the studio.

We recognize that there are many talented artists over the age of 45, but most (although not all) have had the benefit of time to create a stronger professional network and economic foundation for their practice. By giving visibility to the next generation of artists working in these disciplines, we hope to carry craft into the future both by inspiring artists to pursue these disciplines and by inspiring curators, critics, and collectors to recognize their work. In the end, this impacts the whole field.

Can collectives apply?

We understand that there are many collaborative partnerships in the art world and we encourage you to apply as long as all members of the collective meet the requirements of the application. You can find specific instructions on how to navigate our application as a collective in the application itself. Collectives must demonstrate an extensive collaborative practice.

What is the jury looking for in the winner?

The prize will recognize exceptional artwork in form and concept. Please submit the work that you see as best representing your art practice, and that reflects both your mastery of your craft and your innovation within your field.

Do I have to work solely in one of the five mediums (glass, fiber, clay, metals, or wood)?

No, you do not, although these mediums and your skill in handling them, both manually and conceptually, should be evident in your application. Applicants can work in all five mediums, a combination of these mediums, or a combination of these mediums and others not listed, like video or performance.

I don’t have an MFA. Can I still apply?


I work in one of the mediums listed, but I focused my schooling on painting (or video, or another studio discipline). Can I still apply?



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