The Thousand Islands Arts Center (formerly The Handweaving Museum and Arts Center) is a nonprofit educational institution concerned with preserving the skills of traditional artists and artisans and supporting the heritage arts. The Arts Center maintains a year-round arts curriculum, a permanent textile collection and library, and two dedicated studios for weaving and pottery. The Arts Center also organizes additional educational programs, an annual conference and several yearly exhibitions for the public. The Arts Center’s goal is to sustain and grow this resource for artists, students, and the broader community while developing awareness, fostering skills and building appreciation for the heritage arts. The Museum is recognized around the world for its unique collection. It is the only museum in the United States which is dedicated to the craft of weaving. The impressive collections include over 20,000 accessioned items. Scholars from North America and Europe regularly access the Museum’s collections, and a growing number of weavers attend conferences and seminars annually.
The Arts Center began as The Thousand Islands Craft School founded in Clayton in 1966. The first class had 44 students. Currently we serve over 500 students on an annual basis with a diverse demographic. Today over 100 classes are held annually focusing on a wide variety of mediums and techniques in the heritage arts.
In 1990 the Arts Center was granted a state museum charter. True to its charter, the Arts Center collects preserves and interprets a permanent textile collection.
The Ruth Holroyd Collection
Ruth Holroyd is a weaver who was taught by the best instructors. She taught and lectured in the U.S. and worldwide. She succeeded Mary Snyder in her teaching position at the Chautauqua Institute, wrote many articles for the leading weaving magazines and is the author of serval books. Since 1990, she has offered her technical assistance in the documentation of the Handweaving Museum’s collection of woven materials and has taken it upon herself to document the extensive collection of Mary Snyder. As a dedicated member of the Museum’s Collection Committee, she has been most deeply involved since the Museum’s founding.