2023 Steffi Dotson Service Award Recipients
Brent Skidmore Headshot
Leslie Rosenberg Headshot Cropped
The Board of Directors of The Furniture Society is pleased to announce that the 2023 Steffi Dotson Service Award is being given to both Brent Skidmore and Leslie Rosenberg of UNCAsheville’s STEAM Studios. The award is named in honor of past President Steffanie Dotson whose dedication and service during her tenure as President and as a Trustee ensured The Furniture Society’s continuing strength and accomplishments during a period of great transition.
Brent Skidmore and Leslie Rosenberg are the dynamic duo comprising the partnering team in Asheville for our community-based initiative Craft For a Greater Good. Over the past two years, and during the pandemic, the Furniture Society worked with Brent and Leslie to help form meaningful relationships in the community of Asheville, helping us to connect with and serve the Asheville community through this partnerships and the creation of impactful projects. In this version of Craft For a Greater Good, Brent and Leslie tireless worked to create and maintain the relationship between UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio, The Furniture Society and BeLoved Asheville, a local non-profit building a micro-home village to address the housing crisis in Asheville.
In this iteration of Craft for a Greater Good, under the guidance of Brent and Leslie, we were able to create furniture solutions for the micro-home village being built by BeLoved for the homeless insecure population in Asheville. Because of their efforts, we were able to help BeLoved grow and move forward with their mission and the village. Brent and Leslie helped us bring together a community of makers across the country who gave their time, created educational experiences, and made products to donate to BeLoved, and they truly helped boost and promote Craft for a Greater Good on a national scale, shining the light on the work and impact we are having on communities in need.
The Furniture Society is grateful for the combined and heartfelt efforts of Brent Skidmore and Leslie Rosenberg in helping us shape this version of Craft For a Greater Good, contributing to something as profound as creating furniture for housing the homeless which truly exemplifies the program’s intent. The Furniture Society and the Board of Directors owe Brent and Leslie a debt of gratitude for their service and are honored to celebrate their efforts at this year’s in-person conference in New Orleans on Saturday, June 10.
We welcome you to join this celebration of Brent and Leslie and to thank them for their support of The Furniture Society.
When he is not working as the Public Arts & Humanities Chair for UNC Asheville, in the Asheville community or assisting with STEAM Studio projects, Brent Skidmore is focused on mentorship and community work focused on social change through collaborative making. He has been teaching in many capacities for 30 years at universities and many of the craft programs across the nation such as Penland, Arrowmont, Haystack, Anderson Ranch and Peter’s Valley. In 2007, Brent accepted his current position at UNC Asheville where he continues to teach in the department of Art and Art History while collaborating with his peers in Engineering and Art to develop STEAM Studio @ the RAMP, a 12,000 square foot fabrication and design lab built for interdisciplinary teams focused on collaboration and innovation.
Brent continues to serve as an advocate for craft education, scholarship, and the professional development of young artists. Brent has served as a board member for the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design, an organization that works to advance the awareness and importance of craft in academia and the mainstream. He has also served as a board member for Craft Emergency Relief Fund, CERF+ that works to safeguard and sustain the careers of craft artists and provides emergency resources that benefit all artists. Along with his work to advance the understanding and power of craft, community collaborations and cross-disciplinary making, Brent has most recently worked collaboratively to build financial support for SkillSet at STEAM Studio. He has also served as a board member and now consulting partner to Journeymen Asheville, a mentoring organization for 12 to 17 yr. old boys, to develop Crafting Passages at STEAM Studio.
Leslie Rosenberg is a catalyst for collective creativity. She began her community arts journey in Portland Oregon, as chairperson of Metro Murals, a murals advocacy non-profit. As the daughter of an art teacher, she had all sorts of opportunities to experiment with art media as a child. As an adult, she considers herself a “professor of experience” having taught K‑12 art, adventure therapy to at-risk teens, and currently a shop technician at UNCA’s STEAM Studio Maker’s space. Leslie studied at Wesleyan University, PNCA, Western Carolina University, Penland School of Crafts, and Anderson Ranch. She is an artist who works mainly in wood, but has dabbled in lots of other media. Leslie believes in the power of self-expression and art to bring people together.