The Maine Crafts Association and Shop Maine Craft Board of Directors announce that Sadie Bliss, executive director of both organizations, will resign from the joint role. Bliss joined the Maine Crafts Association staff in 2009 and has served as executive director since 2012.
“Sadie Bliss has been a lifetime member of the craft world,” says MCA board president Shannon Richards. “Her dedication to the arts and to makers is indisputable. Through the Maine Crafts Association, she has made an indelible mark on Maine and will be deeply missed. We wish her eternal success in her future endeavors.”
Bliss will remain in the director role until July 2022, following which she plans to enjoy a few Maine summer weeks with her family, adjust to life outside the MCA, and re-enter the workforce later this year. She will work closely with the board of directors and staff to ensure a smooth transition.
During Bliss’ time as the director of Maine Crafts Association, she nurtured the Center for Maine Craft and Maine Craft Artist Awards from their early days and carried on the organization’s longest-running program, the Weekend Workshop at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.
Under her leadership, the organization’s impact and engagement grew with now established programs such as Maine Craft Weekend, a statewide event celebrating 10 years this year, as well as the Craft Apprentice Program, the Portland Fine Craft Show, STITCH Fashion Show, the Webshop, East End Vend, Seconds & Supplies Sale, mentor booth programs at Craft Boston & New England Made and the Maine Craft Content Project. These major programs were made possible with member input and participation, community support, dedicated partners, funders and a strong staff team. They foster many quieter programs, exhibitions, collaborations, storytelling initiatives and artist resources each year.
Bliss envisioned and opened the organization’s second fine craft gallery, Maine Craft Portland, in 2018. She led the Maine Crafts Association through a process to combine forces with the Maine Crafts Guild in 2019, and, after a tumultuous pandemic year, MCA brought the Guild Fine Craft Shows back in 2021. The growth and success of the organization’s support of artists through the sales of their work in two galleries, four major craft shows and smaller markets led the MCA, with Sadie’s leadership, to embark on a restructuring process completed in 2022. Maine craft artists are now supported by two organizations working together: Maine Crafts Association, with an educational and community-building mission, and Shop Maine Craft, dedicated to supporting artists through the sales of their work.
The board of directors is grateful to Bliss for her dedication and leadership and looks forward to continuing to support the missions of both organizations. Information about the search for a new director, job description and other details will be shared publicly over the next few months. In the meantime, interested parties may inquire by emailing email@example.com.