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Masters of the Building Arts

From the soaring skyscrapers of New York City to the adobe churches of New Mexico, from the sturdy stone walls of New England to the majestic monuments of the nation's capital, master craftworkers in the building arts have brought enduring beauty to our built environment. Working in wood, stone, brick, and metal, in plaster, paint, glass, and clay, they transform designs on paper into three-dimensional works of art. Much depends on their workmanship and skill: on their deep understanding of raw materials, their careful selection and use of tools, their mastery of technique. The final product is the result not only of their knowledge and abilities, but also their creativity and care - their will to excellence.

Artisans in the building trades share a deep appreciation for the aesthetic value and expressive power of technical perfection. They delight in skill and find meaning and pleasure in the poetic qualities of workmanship - in their ability to craft objects of beauty and strength through their special touch. Their great pride and creative spirit, their love for their work, and their commitment to excellence are manifested in a lasting legacy of architectural achievement left behind for generations to come.

The 2000 Festival program celebrated the extraordinary artistry of craftspeople in the building arts and explored the many challenges they face today as they work to preserve our nation's past and build for the future. The Festival brought together a selection of master artisans - stone carvers, masons, carpenters, terra cotta artisans, plasterers, blacksmiths, stained glass artisans, and adobe builders - who have enriched our world with the work of their hands, and who educated and informed Festival visitors not only with their skills but also with their knowledge and lore.

Marjorie Hunt was Curator and Jim Deutsch was Program Coordinator; Betty Belanus was Education Specialist and Family Activity Guide. An Advisory Committee included: J. Bryan Blundell, Kurt Dewhurst, William Dupont, Cynthia Field, Henry Glassie, Norman Koonce, Betty Monkman, Peter Nabokov, Joanna Reagan, Rex Scouten, William Seale, Chris Sturbaum, John Michael Vlach, and Ed Worthy.

The program was produced in collaboration with the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers and the International Masonry Institute, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Building Museum, the American Institute of Architects, and the Preservation Trades Network. Major funding was provided by, the Marble Institute of America, Allied Stone Industries, the Building Stone Institute, the Indiana Limestone Institute, and the National Building Granite Quarries Association. Major contributors included Target Stores, the Associated General Contractors of America, the National Association of Realtors, and the Smithsonian Women's Committee. Additional donors included the School of the Building Arts, Duron, Inc., the Brick Industry Association, the Laborers' International Union of North America, the Smithsonian Educational Outreach Fund, and the Copper Development Association, Inc.

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