By Marcus Long

From Nov. 7-10, ten Kutztown students had an opportunity to exhibit their work at the 37th Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. KU was the only public university to be showcasing student work at the event, and it was Kutztown’s second time participating.

“This is a very good opportunity for students, faculty, and the university to gain publicity for our program,” said Professor Jim Malenda. While many students are undoubtedly excited about this opportunity to showcase their talent, Malenda is proud of his role in obtaining Kutztown’s permission to participate. Malenda has attended the craft show for 26 years, taking students with him each time. This resulted in an extended invitation for Kutztown to have its own space at the show in 2012.

Last year was the first time KU participated in the event. “It was somewhat chaotic having to organize all the details from scratch. For example, we didn’t have the proper appointments for a booth and had to improvise,” said Malenda. “This year, we had advertising postcards and proper signage courtesy of Professor Elaine Cunfer from the communication design department. Professor Jim Chaney and Ron Lamb, the technician for the College of Visual and Performing Arts, helped to design and fabricate pedestals. Michael Radyk donated his professional ‘pipe and drape’ for the booth set up. I donated the glass cases used to display the metal. Through this collaborative effort, the booth looked very professional and received many compliments.”

Kutztown University's booth at the 37th Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show
Kutztown University’s booth at the 37th Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show

Sarah Emert, who specializes in fine metal jewelry, is one of the ten students who participated in the show. A senior majoring in Art Education and Crafts, Sarah will graduate in December. She hopes that the craft show experience will be useful in the future when she applies for jobs and goes on to sell her work.

“Artists pay for their own supplies,” said Emert. “I cast a lot of pieces in silver, which is expensive. It’s easier to sell than the same pieces cast in bronze, because silver is more valuable, and has easier resale value if a buyer would later choose to sell it. To some, it’s an investment.”

Emert, who was at Kutztown’s booth at the show on Sunday, had 20 pieces on display, mostly in the $100 price range.

“The overall experience was really awesome, but it was a lot of work and a lot of preparation as well. There were several days where I didn’t drive home since I was at the studio so late,” she said. “It’s a really good experience that will look great on a resume.”

Moving forward, Professor Malenda hopes to continue KU’s participation in the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show and he would like to integrate the student experience into the curriculum.

“We’re hoping to integrate this event into an independent study for credit because it is a very practical application as an academic and hands-on experience, which also provides publicity for the students, the program and the university at large”, he said.


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