Community Rallies for Creative Arts Workshop

Within a few weeks of learning it had to replace its furnace, Creative Arts Workshop rallied supporters with a successful fundraising campaign.

Young artists in the sculpture studio enjoy learning to use chisels and rasps to carve figures in soapstone. Photo credit: Elizabeth Grant

In early November, the heat went out at Creative Arts Workshop just as it was setting up for its holiday sale, the 50th Annual Celebration of American Crafts. It was soon determined that the 47-year old furnace needed to be replaced. CAW quickly mobilized its supporters with a fundraising goal of $94,000. An anonymous donor stepped forward with a match challenge; then donations soon followed.

Within a few weeks, a new furnace was piping heat into the classrooms and gallery space, and the holiday exhibit opened. As of December, CAW had raised $77,000 toward its goal. (Click here to contribute to the building first aid fund.)

"It has been amazing," said Executive Director Anne Coates, who said of the community support.

Started in 1961, Creative Arts Workshop is the largest community arts school in the state, providing a variety of art classes to all ages and abilities. It has over 50 faculty teaching 300 courses to 2,000 students.

Its annual Celebration of American Crafts held until Dec. 24th (click here for details), features works by more than 125 artists, primarily from New Haven and the northeast and draws 3,000 visitors each year, and is a major fundraiser for CAW.

The arts organization was awarded a three-year general operating support grant from The Community Foundation in 2016. During that time, CAW hired Coates as its new executive director and has worked to stabilize its finances.

Did You Know?

In addition to pottery, drawing, and painting, Creative Arts Workshop also has classes in bookmaking, jewelry making and metalsmithing, and the fiber arts.

Learn more about Creative Arts Workshop on

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.