The American Tapestry Alliance, or ATA, is engaged in a range of educational, outreach and promotional programs to promote its goals and benefit its members. Our program goals are these:
To improve and increase opportunities for greater knowledge of tapestry, internally and externally;
To diversify membership to include collectors, curators, specifiers and academics;
To diversify the ATA Board of Directors to include broader administrative expertise;
To evaluate the Biennial's effectiveness in reaching ATA's most relevant audiences;
To expand exhibition opportunities to include more members;
To develop and maintain a thoroughly consistent communication plan; and
To retain financial resources by supplementing them with an aggressive grant application program and expanding member and membership categories.
Distance Learning (Mentoring) Program
The Distance Learning program is designed for intermediate tapestry weavers who want to pursue an in depth study of a tapestry topic with guidance and mentoring from a more experienced tapestry weaver. An intermediate weaver is defined as someone who can warp a loom and who has woven several small tapestries or samplers. This is meant to be a self directed and well-defined program of study. Students are encouraged to narrow the range of study so that it can be completed within one year. Description and contact information located in our Members section here.
The Helping Hands distance learning program is designed for beginning tapestry weavers who want to begin exploring tapestry with guidance and mentoring from a more experienced tapestry weaver. The student must be an ATA Circle member. A beginning weaver is defined as someone who has little experience or one who has completed an introductory level workshop. This program will introduce students to warping a loom, shape building, warp and weft balance, and beginning cartoon development. Find a full description and contact information here.
To further reach our education program goals, ATA hosts an open session at a national conference every two years (HGA's Convergence) with presentations and open discussions on current topics. Collaborations with other organizations result in periodic symposia and events, such as the March 2003 "Looking at Tapestries: Views by Weavers and Scholars," where seventy attendees heard six presenters in both lecture and panel formats, and participated in an open forum with slides of their own works.
ATA sponsors two international juried exhibitions: American Tapestry Biennial and Small Tapestry International. In addition, an unjuried small format show is held in conjunction with the Handweavers Guild of America’s symposium, Convergence.
These shows highlight the best of international contemporary hand woven tapestry. They provide opportunities in the field by: a) setting high standards of excellence; b) touring across North America; c) triggering articles; and d) offering a catalogue with critical essays. ATA’s shows draw excellent attendance to the host museums and art centers.
ATA maintains a slide archive of contemporary tapestries from the biennials and other tapestry exhibitions. Slide sets are available for rental by member educators, scholars, architects, and designers. For more information check our Members section here.
The first two Study Groups were initiated during the fall of 2004. The descriptions of these groups is listed in our Members section. Additional study groups will be formed as interest dictates. If you would like to lead a Study Group, or participate in a Study Group, or if you have any other questions, please check our Members section here.
ATA believes that documenting the history of tapestry in North America can continue through its archive. Our library committee oversees an archive of catalogues, slides, newsletters, and other documents.
ATA is currently operating under its second five-year plan. For information about the plan, please contact Mary Lane, Administrative Assistant.