Berea #1 for Crafts in America

Berea student at potters wheelWith more than 47,789 votes tallied, American craft lovers have named Berea as their number one choice. Noted as top in the nation for its vibrant craft scene, Berea, Kentucky features a wide range of galleries and studios offering exceptionally high quality handcrafts, including the renowned woodcrafts, weaving, broom crafts, and ceramics made by Berea College students and a wide range of other arts and crafts produced by Berea alumni and other artisans in the broader community.

For the past six weeks, craft fans and community advocates have been logging on to the American Craft Week website to choose their favorite craft communities. Berea’s top spot in the contest, which closed Sunday, July 17, 2016, bested other American cities including Asheville, NC, Brattleboro, VT, and St. Petersburg, FL.

Designated as the “Folk Arts and Craft Capital of Kentucky” by the state legislature, Berea’s reputation for fine crafts began at Berea College, which started in 1883 with its “Fireside Industries” program of student-made products. Beginning with handwoven coverlets, Berea College saw the potential for preserving a craft tradition and – at the same time – developing a new market for traditional Appalachian crafts. More crafts were added, including broom making, ceramics, and woodworking of small craft items and exceptional handcrafted furniture putting Berea on the map and fueling the Appalachian craft revival. Berea College’s student crafts program is one of 130 different labor departments in which student work as part of their educational requirement. Student crafts can be purchased at the College Visitors Center and Shoppe, on College Square in Berea, at the Log House Craft Gallery in Berea, or online.

Over the decades, other artisans and craftspeople were attracted to Berea and set up their studios and galleries, making Berea as popular destination for travelers and shoppers who appreciate finely made handcrafted items.  

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Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Accolade, Appalachia, student crafts

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.