31st National Conference Sets New Records

With more than 3000 people streaming through the halls, meeting rooms, ballrooms, tours, seminars, and shows, the 31st National Arts and Crafts Conference at the historic 1913 Grove Park Inn lived up to its billing as “the most important weekend of the year for Arts and Crafts collectors.”

The conference officially opened on Friday with a series of walking tours of the 510-room historic Grove Park Inn, which has served nearly every president since Woodrow Wilson, countless celebrities and politicians, plus Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The inn’s famous collection of Arts and Crafts furniture, including two towering Roycroft clocks, set the stage for the weekend’s conference.

Even before the doors to the shows opened on Friday afternoon, several of the antiques exhibitors led small group discussions designed to help beginning collectors gain information and confidence in the fields of pottery, furniture, metalware, and artwork.

This conference has always been based on the premise that education is the key to the continued resurgence of interest in the Arts and Crafts movement and its revival. In addition to the daily small group discussions, the walking tours, workshops, and demonstrations gave attendees even more insight into the movement.

And when the six major seminars took place in the evenings and mornings, the doors to the shows were locked, even to the exhibitors, so that everyone could attend the seminars without thinking they were missing something in the shows.

With more than 115 of the country’s most reputable antiques dealers, artisans, authors, organizations, and publishers in the show, it is no wonder there was a long line at the opening bell — not just on Friday, but every day. Sales records were set by numerous antiques dealers and contemporary artisans in every category:  art pottery, furniture, metalware, artwork, and lighting.

(Antiques exhibitors David Rudd and Debbie Goldwein of Dalton’s American Decorative Arts in Syracuse.)

While it will take a few days to begin to get the website updated, as topics, speakers, workshops, and demonstrations are scheduled for the February 15-17, 2019 conference, they will be posted at www.Arts-CraftsConference.com.

However, the Grove Park Inn began taking room reservations for 2019 back in January, so a third of the rooms at the inn are already reserved for February 15-17, 2019. Next year Valentine’s Day falls on the Thursday of the conference and President’s Day is the Monday after the conference, so the rooms are sure to sell out quickly.

Reservations can be made by calling (828) 252-2711.