If you are traveling to western New York state to visit the historic Roycroft campus, or to Pennsylvania for a pilgrimage to Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Fallingwater” this spring, you may want to take an excursion through western Pennsylvania to visit a new exhibition. By Our Own Hands: The Roycrofters Continue the Handcraft Tradition of the Arts & Crafts Movement, curated by CJ Hurley and Barbara Pierce of CJ Hurley Century Arts, will run from March 3 – April 7 at the historic Singer Sewing Building at 46 Seneca Street in Oil City, PA.
Part of a year-long, grant-supported series of shows arranged through Art Inside, the exhibition will provide historical context of the international Arts & Crafts movement, the development of the Roycroft Arts & Crafts colony in East Aurora, NY, and an understanding of how the legacy of the movement is being carried out by artisans today. Looking at what was done in the past, the show will view how the applied arts are being practiced today by contemporary Roycroft Renaissance artisans, and explores the reasons why making things in the handcraft tradition is important to artisans today.
Curators CJ Hurley and Barbara Pierce recently moved their home and business from Portland, Oregon to Oil City, Pennsylvania to be closer to aging parents. The small town, nestled along the Allegheny River in the foothills of the forest, has a growing community of artists who have relocated from around the country in response to the town’s Arts Revitalization Program, which was modeled after the success of Paducah, Kentucky.
When Art Inside was awarded a Pennsylvania state arts grant, the couple was asked to curate a show focused on the Roycroft. “We thought it was a wonderful idea,” says Barbara, “although our town has fallen victim to the same blight as other American rust belt cities. Like Detroit, Pittsburg, Erie, and Buffalo, Oil City has a notable history and a great collection of truly well crafted late-Victorian and Arts & Crafts houses that were built when ‘Oil was King.’ This show is a real opportunity to not only expose the community to the significance of their architectural legacy, but to offer a glimpse at the sorts of furnishings that went into their vintage homes, and why things were made the way they were.”
The exhibition will showcase work in six areas from eleven nationally known Roycroft artisans: Thomas Pafk [Furniture]; Ron Van Ostrand [Metal]; Laura Wilder and Holly Bird [Printmaking]; Mary Philpott, Ann Perry Smith, and Mary Pratt [Ceramics]; Natalie Richards and Karen Sienk [Textiles]; and Shawn Kruger and CJ Hurley [Painting].
There will be an opening reception on Friday, March 3rd at 6pm. For more Information, please go to https://www.facebook.com/events/224307784692689/ or contact Barbara Pierce at (814) 493-8642.
The historic Oil City Carnegie Library is a partner in this project and will be host to related educational events and exhibit of original Roycroft books. The exhibition is supported in part by Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA) Grant Program.
Next Week: News on the Upcoming American Art Pottery Association Convention !
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