Niagara Gazette — “Craft as Art. It’s what we’re made of,” is the slogan of the Kenan Center’s 43rd annual 100 American Craftsmen show, but planners say it’s also the heart of its success for more than four decades.
Over the span of 43 years, the event has showcased— as exhibitors and demonstrators—a veritable “who’s who” of craft artisans who went on to prominent careers as artists and educators, including enamel artist Shirley Rosenthal, Wendell Castle — known as the “father of the art furniture movement”; fiber artist Nancy Belfer (mother of author Lauren Belfer); master woodworker Doug Sigler; and Harold B. “Bill” Helwig, a leader in 20th century enameling, just to name a few.
While some of the artists are from the Niagara region, artisans primarily come from north eastern United States and Mid-Atlantic, with some coming from as far as Texas and California. Twelve of the artisans received automatic acceptance as master craftsmen or previous Best of Show winners including: Richard Aerni, Sally Danforth, Bryan Hopkins, and Jim & Pat Reno, all clay artisans; Julia Skop, jewelry; and Chris Stangler, paper. Previous Best of Show awardees who will be returning are: Carolyn Dilcher-Stutz, clay; Andrea Geer, wearable fiber; Robert Hessler, clay; Cheryl and Don Olney, wood; Scott Sober, wood; and Joann Vanderheite, mixed media.
In addition to the craft artisans, visitors to 100 American Craftsmen can enjoy a variety of special amenities including live music throughout the weekend. This year’s line-up includes: the Ralph Fava Trio on Friday night; Jackie Davis & Friends, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday; John & Mary, 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday; and Doug Yeomans & Mountain Run 3-6 p.m. Saturday. Pocket Change Trio will perform from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday and the Mark Mazur Trio will close the show from 2-5 p.m. Sunday.
Gourmet food vendors will include Singer Farm Naturals offering a variety of natural dried fruit mixes, Mountaintop Kettlecorn, and Sweet Melody’s Authentic Italian Gelateria. Lockport’s own Shamus Restaurant will once again provide a selection of salads, sandwiches and desserts in a sit-down cafe, and the Kenan Arts Council will be manning their annual Brownie & Lemonade —this year including some sugar-free choices for those on sugar-restricted diets. An addition this year will be Black Willow Winery from Burt, which will be on hand throughout the weekend selling wine by the glass and bottle.
The Friends of the Kenan Herb Club will once again host its annual Herbal Plant Sale on from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m .Saturday. Saturday.
The show will take place at the Kenan Center Arena, 195 Beattie Ave., from 6-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission at the door is $8.
Major sponsors are: Renewal by Andersen, The BVisitors are also welcome to visit the Kenan Center House Gallery, located in the 1850s Kenan House, which will feature an exhibit of watercolorist Margaret M. Martin.
Proceeds from 100 American Craftsmen benefit the Kenan Center, a community center for arts, education and recreation. The center supports a fine art gallery, a preschool program; an 150-seat theater; and a sports and recreation arena that houses large-scale public events, including 100 American Craftsmen and the Niagara Wine & Beer Fest in January.
For complete details and directions, go online to www.kenancraftshow.com or call 716-433-2617.IF YOU GO • WHAT: 43rd annual 100 American Craftsmen • WHEN: 6-9 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday • WHERE: Kenan Center Arena, 195 Beattie Ave., Lockport • MORE INFO: Call 433-2619 or visit www.kenancenter.org • COST: Admission is $8.