MacArthur Fellows Program

Carolyn McKecuen

Economic Development Leader | Class of 1994

Economic Development Leader
Camden, North Carolina
50 at time of award
November 2, 2022
Published July 1, 1994

About Carolyn's Work

Carolyn McKecuen is an entrepreneur who provides consultation, training, and technical assistance to organizations engaged in community and economic development.

Until 1995, McKecuen directed the Watermark Association of Artisans in its growth from a marginal crafts shop into a full-service, worker-owned cooperative, providing income for over seven hundred, low-income artisans by developing their access to mainstream markets.  She began as one of 30 artisan-members of the craft cooperative in 1978, and within a decade molded Watermark into one of the nation’s largest.  In 1986, McKecuen and her husband founded the Northeastern Education and Development Foundation (NEED) to teach residents the skills that they need to join Watermark as artisans.  She also created the International Internship Program, which has trained persons from more than one hundred organizations throughout the world.


McKecuen was the owner of the Albemarle Crafts and Arts Gallery (1972-1974), and operated her own pottery buisiness (1977-1981) prior to joining Watermark.  She was the executive director of Watermark (1981-1995) and taught pottery classes at the College of The Albemarle (1977-1984).  Since 1995, she has been co-principal of McKecuen Consulting, Inc.

McKecuen attended Miller-Motte Business College, Southwestern Technical College, Arrowmont Craft School, the University of Tennessee, and the National Cooperative Training Center of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Last updated January 1, 2005

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