The Nel Oudemans Award is both a recognition and support for emerging artisans. In conjunction with the monetary award, recipients are eligible for an approved educational experience within a year of being named a Nel Oudemans Award winner. This offer is made to support emerging artisans in gaining broad-based experience in world market trends as well as developing valuable career networks and contacts. The foundation will work with each individual recipient to select an educational mission that will have a valuable impact on his or her career. As new opportunities arise, the foundation works with its partners to research and evaluate options.
Since 2013, SHMF has worked with Craft Alliance Atlantic Association, a pan-Atlantic trade association to identify meaningful opportunities for Nel Oudemans winners. The mission of Craft Alliance is to provide market opportunities and professional development to the craft sector in Atlantic Canada. According to Executive Director, Bernard Burton the purpose of the educational missions is to expose market ready Atlantic contemporary fine crafts people to new opportunities in the gallery market and introduce new concepts to allow artists to expand their presence in a global market. From 2014 to 2019, Allison Greene, Phil Savage, Emily McCumber, Matt Watkins and I Chun Jenkins all attended SOFA Chicago, (Sculpture, Objects Function Art and Design Exposition). As participants in a 4-day excursion under the leadership of Mr. Burton, SHMF sponsored artists toured the exhibition of hundreds of international exhibitors as well as attended educational sessions and private gallery tours and art centres arranged by the Craft Alliance.
In 2020, Craft Alliance Atlantic initiated a new educational program to Collect in London, England and Ralph Simpson the 2019 Nel Oudemans recipient was able to participate with the largest ever educational group coordinated by the Alliance. The five-day conference included an international exhibition of over 450 craft artists as well as tours of 12 private galleries and visits to three public galleries, The National Gallery, The Tait Modern, and The Victoria and Albert Museum. Simpson characterized his experience at COLLECT 2020 as “inspirational, exhilarating and humbling for an emerging artist. Five days of non-stop exposure to fantastic art in the company of 17 other artists from across Canada made a tangible difference to the way I view myself as an artist and to the way I approach my artistic practice. It filled me with excitement and initiative to create art.”
SHMF is also pro-active in sponsoring exceptional opportunities for career growth in conjunction with the Canadian Craft Federation. In 2018, the foundation was a proud sponsor of New Brunswick attendance at the CCF national conference Placemaking in Halifax and Luneberg, Nova Scotia. Providing exposure to national or international conferences for Nel Oudemans recipients as well as other emerging artisans to support creative growth and build valuable networks for New Brunswick artists.