Fifteen years ago, a groundbreaking effort began to brand a quarter of the Commonwealth as the "Pennsylvania Wilds" and invest in it to create a premier nature, heritage and cultural destination that would fuel local economies and inspire stewardship among the people who live, work, play and visit the region. Engaging the region's artists and craftspeople in the work is key to building a meaningful regional brand and infusing pride into economically-distressed communities. The Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania, our membership program that supports artisans and entrepreneurs through such regional branding, was born out of this belief. Today, nearly 200 local artists and craftspeople participate in this juried arts and business development program.
What this program has revealed is that the Pennsylvania Wilds has many talented artists, craftspeople and entrepreneurs, but many visitors, residents and event artists are not aware of this due to the region's rural geography (the PA Wilds covers 25% of PA, but accounts for only 4% of the population). It can be difficult to appreciate the creative spirit and skill of the region's artists and craftspeople when so many of them practice their craft in a room at their house on a back country road, out of sight.
Telling the story of the region's creative makers is essential to developing the region's identity and sense of place and to helping the public appreciate and be inspired by the creativity around them.
Now in its second year, and showcasing more than 200 images and 48 makers, the Creative Makers of the Pennsylvania Wilds - A Traveling Public Art Show raises awareness about the region's creative community by bringing their stories to public spaces. This exhibit, which features regional artisans and producers making their crafts in their creative spaces, highlights members of the Wilds Cooperative Pennsylvania (WCO), a program that is a direct product of the last 15 years of PA Wilds work. Today, there are about 300 regional artists, craftspeople and creative entrepreneurs participating in the WCO, which is administered and promoted by the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship.
This exhibit is free and open to the general public.
12/01/18-1/31/19: Gmeiner Art & Cultural Center, 134 Main St., Wellsboro.
03/01/19-03/31/19: Capitol Building East Wing Gallery, 501 N. Third St., Harrisburg.
WHERE WE'VE BEEN
5/25/18-7/9/18: Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, 5660 US Route 6 West, Ulysses. Reception 6/30 from 3-5 pm.
4/6/18- 4/27/18: Factory Works Gallery at The Pajama Factory, Williamsport, opening reception 4/7 during Green-O-Ree, closing reception 4/26 (as part of the PA Wilds Annual Dinner and Creative Entrepreneur's Conference)
opening reception, 11/3
This exhibit will continue to travel throughout Pennsylvania, please check back often for updates to the touring schedule.
Venues interested in hosting the show can contact LaKeshia Knarr, our Outreach Specialist to learn more about how to be added to the touring schedule.
A Touch of Nature
This exhibition was supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.