Lloyd Herman is described as “an arts administrator, curator and museum planner and an acknowledged expert on contemporary craft.” He is best known as Founding Director of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (1972-1986). An acknowledged worldwide authority on contemporary craft, Lloyd Herman is best loved by the Smithsonian Women’s Committee (SWC) as “the Father of the Craft Show” for suggesting in 1981 that the SWC hold a craft fair to raise funds for the Smithsonian.
Lloyd joined the Smithsonian Institution in 1966 and began his career developing a changing exhibition program for the Arts and Industries Building. He recommended that a building originally saved from demolition by First Lady Jackie Kennedy be used for the Renwick Gallery to present exhibitions on “architecture and design, contemporary and traditional craft, traditional decorative arts, plus ethnic and folk art from various countries.” While at the Renwick, he presented over 100 exhibitions, most of them focusing on architecture and design, contemporary and traditional craft, and decorative arts.
In retirement, Lloyd moved West and became actively involved in the development of what became the Canadian Craft Museum in Vancouver, B.C. At the same time, he curated traveling shows for the Whatcom Museum of History and Art in Bellingham, WA. One such exhibition was titled “Trashformations: Recycled Materials in Contemporary American
Art and Design.” In 1998 he joined the planning staff of the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA., as Acting Senior Curator.
As an independent curator, Lloyd Herman continued to develop exhibitions on craft and design topics for the U.S. Information Agency, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, and other entities here and abroad. He has lectured on American crafts throughout the United States and internationally in countries stretching from Australia to Saudi Arabia. Recipient of many awards and honors, Lloyd is an honorary Fellow of the American Craft Council and has been decorated by the monarchs of Denmark and Belgium for exhibitions that he organized on the crafts of their countries.
Throughout the past 40 years, Lloyd has continued to be a loyal friend and unstinting supporter of the SWC in our mission to raise funds for grants to the Smithsonian. He has served as a Craft Show Juror four times, twice as an Awards Judge, and four times as a Craft Show Honorary Chair. In 2013, he contributed an insightful essay to the Craft Show program titled “The Art of Repurposing.” He has presented numerous entertaining and educational programs during the shows and moderated many thought-provoking panels and discussions. He is always available to offer insights and advice.
Since 2015, Lloyd has worked with SWC member Fran Dubrowski to judge entries for the Honoring the Future Sustainability Award, presented annually to a Craft Show artist who points the way to a more sustainable future for Planet Earth. Fittingly, Lloyd Herman is the distinguished Honorary Chair of the 40th Anniversary 2022 Smithsonian Craft Show. Thank you, Lloyd Herman, our SWC Champion!