NorthShore Auxiliary Wraps Up Successful 37th Annual American Craft Exposition (ACE)

The Auxiliary of NorthShore University HealthSystem wrapped up yet another successful American Craft Exposition (ACE)—one of the country’s longest running premier fine craft shows—with proceeds going toward research and clinical program initiatives. The virtual event, held Sept. 20–26, 2021, featured unique handcrafted items from 125 master craftspeople who created everything from ceramics and furniture to unique clothing and jewelry.

Despite being moved online because of the COVID-19 pandemic (ACE has traditionally been held at the Chicago Botanic Garden), virtual ACE 2021 boasted a 330% increase in visitor traffic to NorthShore’s website and more than 4,000 unique users the week of ACE. The net proceeds from the 2020 and 2021 ACE events raised more than $415,000 for SAVE MOMS, a maternal health organization.

“For more than 35 years, The Auxiliary of NorthShore University HealthSystem has presented a spectacular, highly popular event,” said Therese Steinken, Auxiliary/ACE manager. “ACE offers us a chance to support true artisans who continue to create exquisite, museum-quality works by hand, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to raise money to support unique programs, often providing the seed money for a new program at the hospital.”

Past ACE events have raised more than $1.13 million for a new Psychiatric Urgent Care Program and Collaborative Care Model at NorthShore and have supported everything from pharmacogenomics to breast and ovarian cancer research. In addition to the proceeds raised from a generous group of sponsors and attendees, exhibiting artists can also choose to donate a percentage of their sales through the Craft for a Cause program.

Keeping Moms Healthy and Safe

For the past two years, ACE has supported SAVE MOMS, an innovative maternal health initiative designed to protect and preserve the health of pregnant women at NorthShore before, during and after childbirth. The program is especially timely as maternal mortality is on the rise in the United States.
“This concept is really brand new in the field,” said Project Leader Beth Plunkett, MD, MPH, NorthShore’s Director of Research, OB/GYN Maternal-Fetal Medicine. “Since maternal death is often preceded by complications during pregnancy, SAVE MOMS is creating prediction models to generate automated alerts in our electronic health record to make sure each at-risk woman is recognized and treated with the appropriate care to keep our moms healthy and safe.”

Get Ready for ACE 2022!

This year’s virtual ACE featured 125 juried artists representing work in 14 media—from baskets and ceramics to mixed media, paper and wood. If you’d like to learn more about some of the participating artists, watch a selection of face-to-face video interviews or check out pictures of their handicraft on the NorthShore website and Facebook page.

Next year’s American Craft Exposition will be live! Mark your calendars for September 30 to October 2, 2022, at the Chicago Botanic Garden.