Message from the President

Now fully in the swing of a new semester, the re-start of so much "in-person" work has been invigorating, with the days feeling both novel and normal. We're a fuller school this year, with more people in our programs and the shops abuzz with activity. As always, our students represent many chosen paths: some are early in their education joining us right from high school, others arrive post-college hoping to grow their skills, and still others are adding to successful careers as veterans, teachers, farmers, musicians, lawyers, and cooks. The range of experience is ever-inspiring.

This, our 140th year, serves as a 'bridge' as we move from the urgent response and adaptations of 2020-2021 and toward the future. A priority for our work this year is crafting a new strategic plan, one that maps our goals for the next five years, while also envisioning the shape of our School in ten years, when NBSS will celebrate its 150th anniversary. 2031 is right around the corner.

Happily, this is another year of concrete, hands-on work, not just visioning and planning. As we rebuild enrollment in our Full-Time programs, we're also excited to welcome Continuing Education students back to our building in early 2022. Complementing our sturdy core of in-person courses are online classes, which are currently in pilot mode but will be open to the public this spring. These new offerings will allow us to teach skills we know well, and also venture into areas newer for us. Coupled with the second season of our In the Making series, these virtual efforts continue to grow our profile and reach, inviting more people from many life paths to be a part of what we do.

Another critical piece of our work is looking at the actionable ways in which NBSS can become a more diverse, inclusive community. Growth and new initiatives in these areas are happening through the leadership of the Diversity-Equity-Inclusion Committees, at all levels. This includes opportunities through our program offerings, funding partners, recruitment relationships, Board membership, and student, staff, and faculty support systems. This work is guided by learning, by self-reflection as an institution, and by our commitment to the School's future.

I experience the productivity of NBSS to be absolutely dizzying. As soon as I learn of one exciting project, visitor or effort, the next one is on the horizon. I hope you'll take the time to experience the dynamism of this place yourself, through our Portrait Project, our In the Making series, publications and our posts from our programs. The work of this small school is remarkable, re-energized, ambitious, and expansive.

Here's to a future-focused school year, eyes up and ahead.

Sarah Turner, President

Sarah Turner

Previous Messages from the President

Our Students Are Our Inspiration
Sarah Turner

Message From the President: Last week, we held the second of our graduation ceremonies for the year, and it felt like more of an accomplishment than ever. After this strange year, we were so proud to (finally) celebrate the courage, care, and hard work of our students, faculty, and staff—together, in the Old North Church. The quieter and more careful year has provided the School a time to reflect on our values, our history, and where, as NBSS turns 140 years old, we will go next.

Steady, Daily Work
Sarah Turner

Message From the President: I would have been proud to write this note to you simply marveling that we made it to the end of 2020 teaching in person with no program closures or serious health concerns at NBSS. That alone is an accomplishment, and I'm grateful for the diligence, care, and resilience that made it possible.

Careful, Yet Expansive
Sarah Turner

Message From the President: Though much is different on the surface this fall, our students and faculty are engaged as ever. Despite the precautions and the quiet, slow work of reopening, there is buoyancy and energy at NBSS. This is the framework for the year ahead, I believe; two simultaneous inclinations to be balanced. While we are protective and careful, reserved, and cautious with our work and resources, happily, we are also in an expansive, experimental, and outward-focused mindset, one that follows the generative opportunities that come with change.

About Sarah

As an educator, leading from both the office and the studio, Sarah has worked at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, the Rhode Island School of Design, the State University of New York at New Paltz and the Oregon College of Art and Craft. As the Dean at Cranbrook, she directed the Academic Programs of the Academy, including a ‘public-lecture-as-variety-show’ series, and a Critical Studies + Humanities residential teaching fellowship, which she established in 2009. Sarah has also worked extensively in the areas of student success, from enrollment and admissions to developing opportunities for students and alumni. She has lectured widely, regularly serves as a guest critic to studio programs, and has organized exhibitions on contemporary craft and design in the US and abroad. In 2005, Sarah was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to the Netherlands to research Dutch contemporary applied art.

In addition to her work in education, Sarah has maintained a studio practice rooted in craft. Trained initially in metalsmithing and jewelry, her work has ranged from woodworking to weaving to printmaking – always with a focus on the meanings inherent to objects and materials. Her artwork has been included in exhibitions nationally and internationally, including the Museum of Art and Design in New York, the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, Galerie Noel Guymarc’h in Montreal, and The Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston.

Sarah has been a volunteer and advisor for a variety of organizations, including the Southeast Michigan Fulbright Association, the Vermont YWCA, the Art Jewelry Forum, and the Society of North American Goldsmiths.

Born and raised in Ohio, Sarah received a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from Smith College and a Certificate in Metalsmithing from the Oregon College of Art & Craft. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art.


For interview requests, speaking engagements, or other inquiries, please contact Kevin Derrick at or 617-227-0155 x180.