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2023 Steffi Dotson Service Award Recipients

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. 

Brent Skidmore Headshot

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 Headshot Cropped

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.