Posts Tagged ‘Central PA Festival of the Arts


Jurying the 2015 Central PA Festival of the Arts

Best of Show recipient, photographer Patricia Wilder, and myself.

Best of Show recipient, photographer Patricia Wilder, and myself.

The Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition at the annual Central PA Festival of the Arts is consistently ranked as one of the top outdoor fine art and fine craft shows in the country. This event brings artists and craftspeople from across the nation to State College, PA. More than three hundred exhibitors offer a wide variety of objects for sale including baskets, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, painting, mixed media, photography, sculpture and wearable art.

As part of the Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition’s jury process, almost 1,000 artists from the United States and several foreign countries submitted digital images of their work to be juried. Last February, Four other jurors and myself reviewed the images, with the artists receiving the highest scores were accepted into the Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition. While I have exhibited at the CPFA nearly every year since 1996, this year it was my honor to serve as a juror. My fellow jurors were:

Nancy Burch Brassington grew up in a farming community in northern Virginia where life centered around work on the farm, 4-H Club, and the rural Methodist church. She left the farm for the bright lights of Fredericksburg, earning an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Mary Washington University. After earning two degrees in painting and drawing from Penn State, she found her voice as a painter whose work reflects her rural roots. Today she has a twenty-five year exhibition record and is currently is represented by the Agora Gallery in New York City.

Cappy Counard makes jewelry and small containers that draw from her interest in architecture, the structural geometry found in nature, and those unexpected moments of beauty that make us stop and pay attention. In addition to her studio work, she is a professor in the Metals/Jewelry program at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania where she has been a professor since 1999. She has exhibited, lectured and demonstrated extensively throughout the United States

An assistant professor of art at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, Pat Howard teaches photography and digital art. Prior to her engagement at Juniata, she taught drawing and photography for the School of Visual Arts at Penn State, including study abroad programs in Mexico and Ireland. For many years she was a rostered artist with the Arts in Education residency program of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, teaching photography workshops in K-12 schools throughout central Pennsylvania.

Jordan McDonald is currently a resident artist at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia and is teaches ceramics at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. He received his BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Nova Scotia and his MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in New York. McDonald utilizes a wide array of techniques and materials in his work – primarily pots that are rooted in the history of ceramics.

For me, jurying the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts was a true privilege. Shaking hands and talking with over 300 artists, seeing their work up close, and learning about their process was an amazing experience that was both gratifying and inspirational. I cannot put into words how moved I was by many of these artists and craftsmen upon hearing how passionate they were about the work they create. I walked away from this experience a more invigorated artist, and a bit more appreciative of the work and creative energy put fourth by my fellow artists. My deepest thanks to Rick Bryant, Carol Baney, Pam Lausch, and the entire CPFA staff. It was a wonderful experience! And a special thanks to my wonderful wife and partner, Chris, who supports me when I say “I agreed to be a juror!”

Here is a just a taste of the art and artists at the CPFA, via my iPhone:

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More Central PA Festival of the Arts 2012

Booth Villamagna, aka B-8

I had a successful show this year at the Central PA Festival of the Arts. My sales nearly tripled over last year, and I am quite pleased. In the awards department, well, I am having a bit of a drought. I have not won an award of any size, at any show or festival, since St. Louis about three years ago. Not sure what that means, if anything, except to my ego! Ha, ha!

In addition to the chance of selling my work and maybe getting a hunk of prize money, there are some additional reasons that I do the arts festival at State College. I have these great neighbors that are on “our street”. Not only are they talented artists in their own right, but they are fun people to be around. A few of us have made it a tradition to have dinner on the second night of the festival at Faccia Luna, which Chris and I look forward to each year.

On the first night of the festival, the CPFA holds a dinner for the exhibiting artists. More food, more adult beverages, and more talk. For the past three years, the Palmer Museum of Arts offers breakfast for the artists, and it is a wonderful opportunity for Chris and I to see what is going on at the Palmer.

Chris and I also enjoy shopping the over 300 artist booths, and sometimes if the moon and stars line up, we can TRADE with another artist. Woot woot! This year we purchased a wonderful piece from kinetic sculptor and artistic ninja, Tomas Savrda. We had not seen Tomas since he was our neighbor at CPFA 14 years ago! This year Tomas was presented with an award.

Of course, don’t think that doing the arts festival is a stroll down easy street. The booth tent must be erected, panels installed, work hung. Then four long days of meeting the public and hopefully selling your work. All this wraps up with everyone’s favorite, the illustrious tear down. And this year, we did it in the pouring rain! However, the likes must outweigh the dislikes, because Chris and I have been doing the CPFA since 1996. And I owe so much to my beautiful wife, Chris, for not only her hard work, but for always believing in me. She is the greatest!

Just a small part of the Central PA Festival of the Arts

Our neighbor of many years, fiber artist Susan Levi-Goerlich from Columbia, MD.

Another neighbor, potter Pam Cummings of Harrisburg, PA.

Chris with glass jewelry artist Loretta Fehling of Nokomis, Florida. Loretta’s contagious laugh affects everyone in our neighborhood!

A sampling of work by jeweler Kim Young (aka “the Kimster!”) of Richmond, Virginia.

At the artist party with Mitch Lyons, Kim Young, and Chris & Robert Villamagna.

Also at our artist party table was watercolorist Dave Gill and friends.

A example of Dave Gills watercolor skills.

I met clay artists Robert Kastrinos, Orlando, FL, after Chris had purchased one of this oil lamps. His tea pots were amazing!

One of Robert Katrinos’ amazing tea pots.

After 14 years it was so good to reconnect with friend and kinetic sculptor Tomas Savrda. Chris and I were excited to purchase one of his pieces, “Cowboys and Indians”.

Cowboys and Indians in motion.

This guy referred to himself as the Analog Tele-Phongrapher, making old-school amplifiers for new-school devices. Wild! If I had a bunch of money, that big one would have been ours!

I’m sorry to day that I do not recall this artist’s name, but his wire animals were just great!

Yes, you can even get a free hug at the arts festival!

Newlyweds Umut Demirguc and James Thurman stopped by B-8! Both are metals artists par excellence! Some of you may remember when James had an exhibition at West Liberty University’s Nutting Gallery a few years ago.

The man, the myth, the legend…..Mitch Lyons! And after a rainy-day trade, Chris and I now have a piece of Mitch’s work! Woot, woot!

One of our new neighbors, and our only neighbor from France, Philippe Laine with hand painted pillows and lamp shades.

An artist does what he must to keep cool at the art festival!

Annie Matsick wants to be my buddy once she sees that I won the Solon de Refuses Bagel Award! Nice shirt Annie!

What a way to wrap up an art festival: Loretta’s friends bring us home-made sticky buns! They were delicious!


I could have had a B-8

Chris and I have been exhibiting at the Central PA Festival of the Arts since 1996, and each year our booth number has been B-8. Well, there was a year where we forced to move to Pollock Street due to construction on Burrowes, and the following year we were back at B-8. For several years now, Chris and I have given away a little momento to visitors of B-8. This year we gave an individual, portable air conditioning device, also known as a fan. Here are a few photos of B-8 along with some of our “fans”.

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Central PA Festival of the Arts 2011

Wonderful weather, visiting with friends, and seeing new art. Those were the best parts of this years Central PA Festival of the Arts. My wife, Chris, and I have had the same booth space….B-8….almost every year since 1996. This year Chris surprised me with B-8 stickers that also included my website address. It was fun passing them out, and a great conversation starter with both the public and other artists. Sales of my work, while up from 2010, were hardly profitable. That being said, I’ll share with you the good parts of the four day experience, letting my photos tell the story.

Enjoy the slide show!

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Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts

I’ve really dropped the ball on the blog recently. It has been three weeks since I have made an entry, so let me bring things up to date. After the College Board AP reading in Cincinnati last month, I started preparing for the Central PA Festival of the Arts in State College. Chris and I started doing this art festival in 1996, and we really look forward to it each and every year. Here are some pictures I took at this years event:

My booth, B-8, located on Burrowes Street.

Another view of my booth at this year's festival.

Fiber artist Susan Levi-Goerlich has been one of our neighbors at CPFA for the past several years.

Mitch Lyons, the Godfather of the clay monotype is also in our neighborhood.

Photographer Jim Spillane is a regular at the CPFA.

Chris relaxing across from our booth.

Since losing a few trees on Burrowes the past couple years, big umbrellas come in handy for some much needed shade!

Dana Marsh in the booth!

Dana Marsh is the social networking guru for the CPFA and is the person responsible for getting on Facebook this spring. Yes, I used to be glowing with the coolness of NOT being on Facebook, but now I am just another lemming! HA!

A Penn State student shooting some news video of my work.

Sometimes it rains during the arts fest, and Susan is prepared!

They were all out of big umbrellas, so this had to do.

In her booth, the jeweler and mixed media artist, the amazing KIMSTER! aka Kim Young!

Kim had a good show, but her mighty van broke down and she was forced to spend a few extra days in State College until repairs could be completed.

Jeff Unzicker, and his brother, Tom, make some kick butt pots!

Some more of the great Unzicker work!

Chris and I brought home a couple cups from the Unzicker brothers, but I would have loved one of the big pieces! Jeff and I discussed a possible exhibition at West Liberty in the future.

Work by Virginia artist Joan Gardner.

One of our "new" neighbors on Burrowes, ceramic artist Peter Saenger.

Ready to head home: Loretta Fehling, Robert Villamagna, Susan Levi-Goerlich, and Chris Villamagna.

My sales at CPFA were at an all time low, and I ended the weekend deep in the red. On the other hand, it was a beautiful summer weekend, filled with great artist friends, my work was on the festival t-shirt (Thrill!), and I was invigorated by the great art around me.


On the Road Again!



Yours truly, with "glasses" by basket maker Sylvia Lehman

Yours truly, with "glasses" by basket maker Sylvia Lehman

    This past week, July 8 through 12, Chris and I were in State College, PA for the Central PA Festival of the Arts. We have been participating in this festival for 13 of the past 14 years, and it has become somewhat of a reunion as we reunite with our “art friends”. Less than 24 hours after returning home to Wheeling we attended a concert featuring Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Bob Dylan. Willie sang his signature song, On the Road Again, and the lyrics reminded me of how much I enjoy getting together with fellow artists at the CPFA:

On the road again
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We’re the best of friends
Insisting that the world be turnin’ our way


Me, Laura Barletta, Don Barletta, and Chris

Me, Laura Barletta, Don Barletta, and Chris

    For nine years, Laura and Don Barletta have been putting us up (and putting up with us). They, along with Bunny the Wonder Dog, provide us with a home away from home. 

    At the top of this blog you saw a picture of me wearing “basket glasses” by artist Sylvia Lehman. Several of us had a good time trying the spectacles on as you can see below:


My wife, Chris, with some of Sylvia's baskets in the background

My wife, Chris, with some of Sylvia's baskets in the background


Clay print ninja Mitch Lyons said the glasses made him feel like a super hero

Clay print ninja Mitch Lyons said the glasses made him feel like a super hero


It's me again, along with artist and glasses creator Sylvia Lehman

It's me again, along with artist and glasses creator Sylvia Lehman

    During the festival, Mitch Lyons (clay printing), and myself (assemblage) demonstrated how we create our craft. We were, however, just the opening act for fiber artist Susan Levi-Goerlich. Even Mitch, who is famous for throwing an onion ring (left over from lunch) onto his printing plate, could not bring in the huge crowd pulled in by Susan.


Fiber artist and worm queen Susan Levi-Goerlich mezmarizes the crowd

Fiber artist, Master Gardner, and worm queen Susan Levi-Goerlich mezmerizes the crowd


Susan making art on the Sears Ultra Art Creator 6000

Susan making art on the Sears Kenmore Ultra Art Creator 6000

  Susan has been our longest neighbor on Burrowes, and Chris and I look forward to our annual dinner with her on Friday night at Faccia Luna. (But we did miss our good friend and artist Kim Young of Richmond, VA, who is healing from a broken wrist.) And if you wonder how Susan got the title of Worm Queen you will need to ask her.

 Jewelry artist Loretta Fehling (who says all my work is about sex and that I need to change type fonts on my collage cards) brings her entire booth and contents to the show in a VW Bug! She somehow is able to convince people from a local church to put up her booth while she directs the crew like Martin Scorsese. Loretta is a fun addition to the Burrowes Street neighborhood, but we wish we could get her to come out of her shell. She is so quiet and reserved.


Loretta packed and ready to hit the endless black ribbon

Loretta packed and ready to hit the endless black ribbon


Loretta and some of the Burrowes Street gang

Loretta, her loaded bug, and some of the Burrowes Street gang

    My sales were at an all time low for this festival, barely covering expenses and with any real profit looming off some where in the distance. I did win a merit award, which always an honor and indeed helps in the financial department. Not much return for the amount of work involved, and yet Chris and I so much enjoy seeing our friends and being a part of such a well run event. Could we just drive to the festival and visit our friends? Sure, but it just wouldn’t be the same. Besides, loading and unloading a van, putting up and tearing down a booth, and filling it with art is a good workout!


My booth at the CPFA

My booth at the CPFA

    The weather at State College was beautiful all four days! Unseasonably low temperatures and low humidity made for very pleasant “booth sitting”. We did have a storm which came in early Saturday evening, and there was a prediction of 60 to 70 mile-an-hour winds. However, we only received a 20 minute downpour and the winds somehow missed us!


Furniture designers/artists Evy Rogers and Joe Jacobs peek out during the rain storm

Furniture designers/artists Evy Rogers and Joe Jacobs peek out during the rain storm

    Evy Rogers and Joe Jacobs have been our neighbors on Burrowes Street for the past four years. Joe helped us secure our booth a bit better when we received word of the approaching storm. 


Artist Mike Albin in his booth

Artist Mike Albin in his booth

    I was only able to see about half of the show this year, but one artist I met was Mike Albin. His booth made me stop for a second look. Mike is a photographer and his wife, Patty, is a talented painter. Patty paints the frames that surround Mike’s photographs and as a team they create some very interesting work. They do a great job of showing their process on their website. Check it out here: Mike and Patty Albin.


Some of Mike and Patty Albin's work

Some of Mike and Patty Albin's work



Breakfast at the Diner

Breakfast at the Diner

       On Sunday morning, the last day of the festival, fellow artists and friends met for breakfast at the Ye Olde College Diner. Clockwise from left is Mitch Lyons, Greg Lyons, a fat bald guy, Kate Snyder, Chris Snyder (Kate and Chris own the wonderful Natural Food and Garden Store in Lewisburg, PA), Chris Villamagna, Susan Levi-Goerlich, and Sylvia Lehman.


Penn State


Villamagna booth at Central PA Festival of the Arts

Villamagna booth at Central PA Festival of the Arts

    From July 9 through 13, Chris and I were once again at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. We have been doing this festival since 1996, and it is the only one I have done the past few years. The show is great, and we have met some wonderful people during our years of attending the event. Getting to hook up with several of our artist friends is part of what makes this a must-do event each year.

    Sales of my work were way down at this years event, about one third of my 2007 sales for the same show. I did receive the Lautsch Family Award for Excellence. The award was presented by Lynwood Sloan, PA Department of Tourism, and Pam Lautsch, sponsor of the award.

Lynwood Sloan, PA Department of Tourism; Robert Villamagna; Pam Lautsch, sponsor of the award

The man, the myth, the legend.... Mitch Lyons!

   The Best of Show Award was given to artist Mitch Lyons. Mitch’s clay prints are fantastic! If you want a real creative experience, take on of Mitch’s Clayprinting Workshops! It is an experience you will not soon forget. He is the clay printing ninja!