By Gwen Hefner, Kentucky Artisan Center
Berea, Ky. is well known for its craft history and traditions as well as
the wealth of talented artisans, fine craft galleries and shops located
throughout Old Town, College Square and Chestnut Street. New to this
mix are exciting events and learning activities that are now available
to visitors, travelers and residents alike.
At the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea visitors can watch demonstrating
artisans, musical performances, book signings and food tastings and
take home educational handouts every Saturday of the year from 10:30
a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Center showcases innovative works in 4-5 special
gallery exhibitions each year and offers second-Saturday gallery talks
The City of Berea offers visitors numerous learning experiences such as
the popular Self-Guided Studio Artists at Berea Tours which take
visitors into numerous interesting studios throughout the town and
beyond. Teachers and educators can attain new professional development
training by participating in Berea’s Arts Across the Curriculum program.
Educators tour a variety of artist studios, acquire lesson plans to
incorporate into their classrooms and return with students for on-site
Berea College crafts can be viewed on the college square at the Boone
Tavern Gift Shop, the Log House Craft Gallery and at the SCOTS center.
Visitors can also take student-led tours through the college’s Student
Craft Industries production areas to watch broomcraft, weaving,
woodcraft and jewelry making. Tours are Monday - Friday at 10 a.m. and 2
p.m. Call 859-985-3145 for more details.
The Berea Arts Council offers a variety of year round arts experiences
including exciting gallery exhibits and first-Friday readings. They
will host a watercolor workshop with artist Joe Fettingis June 7-9,
2012. Call 859-985-9317.
Berea’s newest opportunity for learning is called the Berea Festival of
Learnshops. Artists from all around the state lead classes and hands-on
workshops in contemporary crafts, music, woodworking, painting, writing,
culinary arts and more. Just about any trade or skill you might want is
offered by working professionals in small and personal studio settings.
Whole families can come and learn as many classes are available to
children. Registration for the July 13-29, 2012 offerings has begun and
courses available are listed online at www.berea.com
And Berea is also home to two exciting craft fairs, both held each year
in the beautiful woods of Indian Fort Theater. Demonstrating artists and
children’s activities are always a part of these enjoyable fairs making
them a true family destination. The Berea Craft Festival is held
annually in July, and the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsman’s Fall
Fair is always held during the height of the color season in October.
If dancing takes your fancy, Berea is home to the Oh Contraire Dance
Association which holds dance/teaching sessions with callers and
musicians from across the country every fourth Saturday at the Acton
Folk Center. The groups holds an annual Spring Dance Weekend April
27-29. For more information, visit folkcircle.org/contra
Berea is also home to the nationally known Christmas Country Dance
School held Dec. 26 - Jan 1. Classes offered are in traditional English
clog, country, Morris, rapper, Danish, Appalachian clogging, and square
dance. All age participants can also take classes in singing,
instruments and crafts. Register by Dec. 1 at berea.edu/ccds
Berea is a growing, unique and creative community - a place where it can indeed be said that the - Arts are Alive!