BEREA — For the past six weeks, and with over 47,789 Facebook votes tallied, craft lovers from all over the country have voted Berea as their No. 1 favorite town for crafts. Beating out much larger cities such as St. Petersburg, Florida (No. 2), Asheville, North Carolina (No. 7), Louisville, Kentucky (No. 10), and Northampton, Massachusetts (No. 8), Berea fans logged onto the American Craft Week website to vote.
The contest was sponsored by the organization Craft, and the Craft Retailers Association, whose annual focus is the celebration of craft during American Craft Week Oct. 1-16.
The town of Berea is synonymous with the word craft and was designated by the state legislature as the “Folk Arts and Craft Capital of Kentucky.” Berea is home to Berea College which in 1883 started its Fireside Industries program which continues today as the Berea College Student Crafts Program. This college program creates and sells weavings, wood products, brooms and pottery to buyers from all over the country.
The town is also home to numerous artisan studios, the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, a wide range of galleries and studios offering exceptionally high quality art and craft, annual arts workshops, festivals and juried craft fairs.
Berea is also the location of the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, which since opening in 2003, has welcomed over 3 million people, with 233,592 visitors in 2015. The Center offers visitors a chance to purchase art and craft made by over 750 Kentucky artisans, to view special exhibits, meet artists, watch demonstrations, enjoy Kentucky cuisine at the Artisan café, and learn all about Berea.
“This contest really tapped into Berea’s sense of community pride, into Kentucky’s great network of artists, and into the amazing number of visitors who come to Berea, said arts consultant Judy Sizemore. “Even people who don’t live in this town – they take pride in Berea as a community and as craft lovers.”