In April of 1973, a group of Huntsville people with a common interest in crafts, met with the hopes of forming an organization whose general purpose would be to promote the study, appreciation, enjoyment and preservation of original handicrafts, and to encourage craftsmen to continue and improve the quality of their crafts. A special emphasis was placed on young people and senior citizens to develop their talent in crafts. This was the beginning of the North East Alabama Craftsmens Association, with the idea of sponsoring workshops and providing opportunities for craftsmen to meet and exchange ideas, as well as a means of selling their products through local craft shows. Since that first meeting in a private home, meetings have been held at the Twickenham Hotel Fellowship Center, the Caretakers Building at Braham Spring Park, Ed White School, the City Council meeting room, the City Greenhouse and the Huntsville Senior Citizen's Center (our current meeting place). NEACA is a member of the Arts Council and many of our 135 members have the distinction of winning awards in various parts of the country. Workshops have been held in local schools and churches, giving many interested children and adults an the opportunity to learn a craft of their choosing.
The first NEACA craft show was held in November 1973 at Dunnavant's Mall to benefit the Heart Association. A Spring show was added in 1974, followed by the first Christmas show which was held in Von Braun Center in December 1975. Other shows were added in The Mall, Heart of Huntsville Mall, and Parkway City Mall. In 1975 it was decided to add a Fall show and to have all three yearly shows held at the VBC. These are now scheduled for the third weekend in March and September, and the first weekend in December. NEACA has continued to offer these shows without an admission price to the public.
Since 1973 NEACA has donated a total of $850,000 to local charities including: The Heart Association, Children's Home, Harris Home, Alzheimer's Detention Home, Cerebral Palsy, Helpline, Robert E. Neaves Center, Muscular Dystrophy, Chi-Ho, Arthritis Foundation, Hospitality House, Senior Citizen's Center, Madison County Rescue Squad, HIVITS, SCAN as well as many others. At present, 75% of our profits are donated to several of these organizations and many books on the subject of crafts have been donated to the Huntsville Public Library in memory of deceased members. In May of 1987, the first $1,000.00 Vocational Scholarship was awarded to a high school graduate to be used for any 2 or 4 year college program.
Board Meetings are held the first Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the Senior Center on Drake Avenue. General Membership Meetings are held on specified dates. Craft related demonstrations and relative lectures are presented, in addition to a brief business meeting. NEACA invites anyone interested in crafts to attend.