Arts Around Town

Arts Around Town: Inaugural Arts Festival Reading kicks off weekend at GoggleWorks

An inaugural arts festival is about to happen under one roof this weekend, with one of the largest displays of hand-crafted, juried work by artists and crafts people from across the country. It's Arts Festival Reading, being held Saturday and Sunday and hosted by the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts.

According to Penny Golden, festival chairwoman, nearly 100 artists will be coming together just in time for the upcoming holiday season and offering some rather unique gift ideas in the way of ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, mixed media, photography, paintings and sculpture. Artists include those who have studios at the GoggleWorks, those whose work was juried for the event, and studio managers of the GoggleWorks hot (glass) shop and wood shop. There will be glass demonstrations during the weekend as well.

Golden said local artists also are a part of the festival which, she added, already is on the GoggleWorks calendar for the first weekend of October 2013. One such local is glass artist Stephen Rich Nelson of Shillington, who will be displaying colorful glass teapots, functional items, and one-of-a-kind museum-quality pieces. Originally from the Washington, D.C., area, Nelson has resided in Reading for more than 20 years and maintains a studio apart from GoggleWorks, where he concentrates on blown glass. He said he has worked with GoggleWorks hot shop manager Scott Krenitsky for the past 12 years.

"I'm excited that GoggleWorks is doing the festival," Nelson said. "It's a great thing for the community, and I'm happy to be a part of it."

Nelson, a graduate of Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, said he called himself a painter (oils, acrylics and watercolors) until he experienced a glass-blowing demonstration. "Then I fell in love with glass," he recalled, describing it as "a way to paint in 3-dimension." It stirred him enough to pursue studies at the Rhode Island School of Design. Since then, he has exhibited nationally and his work can be found in museum collections across the country. His latest glass art involves a new pattern design utilizing the Italian decorative glass technique, Latticino, using colored glass canes.

Entertainment at Arts Festival Reading will feature local singers and songwriters, and the performing arts. Many restaurants in the community also will be taking part in the event. Hours for Arts Festival Reading are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the GoggleWorks, former home of the Willson Goggle Factory known worldwide for its development of safety products with groundbreaking innovations. The four-floor venue is open year-round as a community art and cultural resource center for Berks County and the surrounding region. It offers an innovative and interactive approach to art with more than 30 professional artists' studios, a glass studio (hot shop) and wood shop, four galleries, a film theater, and offices for arts and cultural organizations.

Admission to Arts Festival Reading is $7 in advance, $8 at the door. Free parking is available in lots adjacent to the venue. Proceeds will benefit the center and its mission to "nurture the arts, foster creativity, promote education and enrich the community."

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The Greater Reading Haunts & Hexes Ghost Trail comes alive this Halloween season with legends, folklore and ghost stories that are part of the area's culture. Tales are told so well by Reading native and paranormal expert Charles J. Adams III and other paranormal groups. The Greater Reading Convention and Visitors Bureau will start you on the haunting trail with a series of sites of the "other side," including cemeteries, bridges, hotels, mansions, campgrounds and homesteads.

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Moravian Book Shop's Historic Haunts of Downtown Bethlehem is under way with one-hour tours by candlelight led by an experienced tour guide Thursdays through Saturdays. Halloween Tours (Oct. 31) begin at 6 p.m. and run every 15 minutes through 7:45 p.m. Reservations are recommended.

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Discover Lehigh Valley has partnered with local destinations to accommodate paranormal enthusiasts and skeptics for a journey through the haunted corners of the Lehigh Valley.

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A memorial exhibition honoring one of Allentown's beloved and highly respected citizens and fine art photographers will open Wednesday at The Baum School of Art, titled "In Memory of Adrienne Snelling" (1930-2012). An opening reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibit will run through Nov. 16.

Snelling's interest in creating visual images began as a young child, but did not flourish until the 1970s, when she was 40, and won the Kodak International Newspaper Award. For the next 35 years, she pursued her passion for black-and-white photography. Many of her subjects were young personalities, in particular, her own children, grandchildren, or those of friends, in both casual and formal settings. She also photographed nature, landscapes, and her many travels to Europe.

The exhibition is presented in cooperation with Lehigh Valley Photography Month, part of the InVision Photo Festival presented by ArtsQuest.

Also at the Baum School will be "The Annual Holiday Card Juried Exhibition," with paintings submitted by local and regional artists of urban and rural scenes of Allentown and surrounding Lehigh County during the holiday season. The winning entry will be featured on the 2012 Holiday Card. Awards will be announced at an opening reception Oct. 31, from 6 to 8 p.m. An awards presentation will be held at 7 p.m.

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Artist Mort Kunstler's original, commissioned painting of the new portrait of "George Washington Crossing the Delaware River Christmas Night 1776" will be on exhibit at the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum in Allentown on Saturday and Sunday. The 43-inch-by-60-inch painting (with frame) is said to be "politically correct" by museum officials, with a few updates in its depiction of Washington leading his army across the ice-choked Delaware to launch a surprise attack on Hessian soldiers at the Battle of Trenton.

The painting was unveiled last December at the New York Historical Society in Manhattan. It will be part of the museum's new Revolutionary War exhibit with Carl Closs, a "Living Biographer" portraying General George Washington in a program on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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