100 American Craftsmen
What’s new at this decades-old event
Work by glass artist Paul Wilsea
Images courtesy of the kenan center and artists
100 American Craftsmen takes place June 1–3 at the Kenan Arena, 433 Locust Street, Lockport. Call 433-2617 or visit 100americancraftsmen.com for more information.
Connoisseurs of fine crafts have always looked forward to the annual 100 American Craftsmen exhibition at Lockport’s Kenan Center. Artisans from all over the United States are invited to come and showcase their artworks. It’s a juried show; works are reviewed by a panel and scored.
Elaine Harrigan, the Kenan’s marketing communications specialist, is excited about this year’s show. “We have 100 total artisans in the show, with thirty new artisans,” she says. Among the new participants are glass artisans, including Paul Willsea and Carol O’Brien, who are returning to the show after years of not having their work showcased. “As always, we’ll have a very diverse group of jewelry, wood, clay, mixed media, paper, fiber, and metal artisans,” Harrigan notes, adding, “We also sponsor the Annex Marketplace where the Kenan showcases new and emerging artisans. They are Vicki LaRoque, Lisa Hodge, Darci Rosinski, Donna Angelo, Mary Anne Cappellino, Greg Van Horn, and Joe DePonseau.
Sculpture by Philip Rose; glass art work by Vicki Schneider
“Two other new glass artisans are Vicki Schneider from Hamburg, who does fragile floral designs in lampwork. Nancy Gong is a new glass artist from Rochester. She specializes in architectural glass, but for the show she will be presenting tabletop and wall sculptures. Some of our other new exhibitors include leather artisan Marty Schwartz from Wrentham, Massachusetts, who does wonderfully colorful bags; Robert Stadnycki from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, who produces fantastic wearables; Craig Carey from LaPorte, Indiana, whose mixed media work has a bit of the whimsical look of MacKenzie-Childs; and Dennis Nadler from Amherst, who is really creating some unusual mixed media pieces combining digital components like circuitry and CD discs. Also new is Philip Rose, wood artisan, from Sodus, New York, who is doing really unique, large-scale wood pieces that are much more decorative than functional (unusual in wood). Also, Michael Beam (from the Castellani Art Museum) and his business partner Randall Adams from Reading, Pennsylvania, are showing their line of reversible bow ties—very fun!”
Harrigan explains that the weekend-long event includes noncraft vendors, such as wineries, offering tastings each day; specialty food vendors Mountaintop Kettlecorn, Pickle Annie’s, and Singer Farm Naturals, and that there’s plenty for attendees to do once they’ve toured the craft offerings. An herbal plant sale takes place on Saturday, and the Niagara Frontier Art Exhibit in the Kenan House Gallery can be viewed for free.
Harrigan concludes: “What else can be said about the show—at forty-eight years, we’re still true to our mission of presenting fine, contemporary craft art, and continue to attract at least thirty percent new artisans each year. This is good news, because a lot of craft shows that present quality craft art are disappearing. The industry has changed so much. It’s a great success story for us. The event also brings a lot of attention to the Buffalo-Niagara region; we draw patrons from nearby cities, as well as visitors to Niagara Falls, who discover us in their travels. It’s interesting how many people from outside of Lockport know the Kenan Center for 100 American Craftsmen.”