Reading-Berks Guild of Craftsman and Fine Arts and Crafts host 12th annual juried festival

Some 80 artisans are scheduled to participate in the Reading-Berks Guild of Craftsmen’s (www.rbcrafts.org) 12th annual juried Spring Fine Arts and Crafts Festival at Kutztown University’s O’Pake Fieldhouse (312 Trexler Ave., Kutztown, PA 19530) on Saturday, March 29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This year’s spring show also includes special silent auctions on both days of the work of the late W. Eugene “Gene” Burkhart Jr., a lifetime Guild member, educator, internationally recognized and award-winning artist, Philadelphia Flower Show judge and volunteer.

Visitors can see or buy museum quality examples of contemporary and traditional work, including Pennsylvania folk art, produced by members of the Reading-Berks Guild and other juried craftsmen who are members of the Pennsylvania Guild. Kutztown University and other college art students will also display and sell their work; the Guild has offered free space and mentoring to students for the last 10 years.

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Guild President Barry Bennecoff said that, as always, many genres of crafts are represented, including basketry, clay, fiber, pressed

flowers, glass, jewelry, metal, paper, photography and wood. Traditional spring show favorites are stained glass, hooked rugs, pressed and dried flower art, furniture, woodworking, ceramics, clothing, accessories, tole and folk art paintings and holiday collectibles.

The show is again being held in partnership with the university and the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, Kutztown.

“Our Guild, which will celebrate its 70th anniversary next year, is the largest chapter in the Pennsylvania Guild, which is marking its 70th anniversary this year,” said Bennecoff. “We are dedicated to displaying the diversity of fine crafts and talent from Berks County and beyond. Our members have earned a global reputation for their work. And we are pleased to be able to showcase the work of students who will continue our traditions.

Silent auctions of Burkhart’s work will take place on both days of the show and participants can bid on 10 items each day. Winners will be announced at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday so that winners can be present to pick up their art. The auctions benefit the Guild’s scholarship funds primarily for Berks County high school students.

Other attractions scheduled for this year’s two-day spring show include working demonstrations by some of the crafts people, live music by Butch Imhoff and the Acoustic Road Show and refreshments by Dori Martin Catering.

Show Chairman Terry Boyer said there is ample free parking with handicapped accessible areas. The show is wheelchair accessible as well. The donation for admission is $6. Children under 12 and students are free. Each day, the first 50 visitors will receive a free gift.

Founded in 1945, the Reading Chapter has a four-fold mission: To promote and protect the interests of the craftsman; to encourage the study and practice of handcrafts; to uphold the best of traditional and contemporary crafts; and to maintain standards of excellence in design and technique. Membership is open to anyone.

The Reading-Berks Guild will hold its 65th annual juried Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Festival at the same location on Oct. 25 and 26, 2014.

In addition to its spring and holiday craft shows each year, the guild has a monthly show on Berks Community Television (BCTV), publishes a newsletter, hosts an annual student awards program with monetary awards for Berks County high school seniors, and disburses annual grants to members for educational use. The Guild donates yearly to BCTV and the Kutztown University Scholarship fund. It also participates in the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center’s Easter-on-the-Farm, Heemet Fescht and Christmas-on-the-Farm events.

For more details, visit the website www.rbcrafts.org or call 610-678-6650.

From Reading-Berks Guild