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Society Of Arts And Crafts' New Executive Director Wants To Put The Historic Organization On The Map

Boston Society of Arts and Crafts new executive director Brigitte Martin. (Courtesy Society of Arts and Crafts)
Boston Society of Arts and Crafts new executive director Brigitte Martin. (Courtesy Society of Arts and Crafts)

The Boston Society of Arts and Crafts' new executive director wants the organization to top the list of the city's tourist destinations alongside the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

It's a bold goal for the 122-year-old organization quietly nestled in the Seaport. But Brigitte Martin, who will take over the role on March 1, is eager to make it happen.

“I really want this to be a fun experience so that when the people come into the Society of Arts and Crafts they go, ‘Wow, I had no idea this existed. I had no idea this is possible and this was actually something that relates to me and that relates to my life,’ ” Martin said in an interview.

She will replace Celeste Wilson, the interim executive director, who held the position since last April when former executive director Fabio Fernandez stepped down.

Martin was previously the executive director at the Furniture Society in Illinois. She is the founder of The Crafthaus, a metalsmith, gallerist and author. She has worked in many aspects of the arts and crafts world and hopes to use her knowledge in order to help people create personal connections to the artwork.

“When we interviewed Brigitte, we were impressed by her analytical and thoughtful knowledge of craft, its place in society, and its potential,” Society of Arts and Crafts board president Jennifer Rayburn said in the announcement Thursday. “She’s visionary in outlining opportunities to expand the reach of craft, which dovetails perfectly with the Society of Arts + Crafts’ mission of education. With our new home in the Seaport, we’re no longer a little walk-in gallery, we are a serious organization with intentions to grow.”

The society moved from its space on Newbury Street to its current home in Boston's Seaport District in 2016. One of the oldest arts and crafts societies, it was founded in 1897 to promote the creation of craft art.

Martin plans to continue that tradition and help the organization grow.

"I'm interested for the society to forge our own path and to create programming that everybody just knows right away... So long story short, I would like to have the Society of Arts and Crafts to be a must-visit destination."

Cintia Lopez Arts Fellow
Cintia Lopez is a fellow for The ARTery, WBUR's arts and culture team.

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