Jason Mundok, from Lancaster's Wood Stove House, explores the arts and those who make the arts happen in Central PA.
The arts scene in Lancaster is lucky to have the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen headquarters located on the 300 block of North Queen Street, one of the coolest blocks in the city. How did we get this lucky?
The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen was started in the 1940s along with several other state craftsmen guilds. In a recent podcast interview the PA Guild’s Program Director, Nick Mohler, explained that the craftsmen guild initiative was started by Eleanor Roosevelt to help men and women become more self-sustaining during World War II when most of the factories in the United States had shifted to the war effort. A few of those state guilds remain today, and Pennsylvania is one of them. Their mission is “recognizing that the making of craft enriches all” and their members include artists who make all types of handmade goods, such as furniture, kitchen ware, woodworking, decorative art, and much more.
The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen spent 27 years leasing a building in Tyler State Park located in Bucks County, just north of Philadelphia. A half-dozen years ago or so the state conducted an audit of the state parks and the result was a mandate for the PA Guild to engage in millions of dollars of renovations to a building they didn’t own.
Opening night at 335 N. Queen St. (July 2012)
Lucky for us, the PA Guild had been producing a craft show for many years at Franklin and Marshall College and had been dealing with CB Dombach, a local Lancaster business that rents tents and awnings. This network along with the rising arts renaissance in the area led the PA Guild to choose Lancaster has it’s home base. They temporarily rented some space from CB Dombach until their new location, 335 North Queen Street came up for sale in the spring of 2012. The PA Guild jumped on the opportunity to claim the building and was open for business less than four months later. The new building includes the guild headquarters, a retail store with work from over 100 members, and workshop space open to the general public.
PA Guild of Craftsmen gallery (December 2012)
The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen boasts 1,500 members in 33 states (you don’t have to live in Pennsylvania to participate). They live out their mission through support for individual members, operating four regional fine craft fairs, and offering over 70 hands-on workshops each year right here in Lancaster. The PA Guild has added another unique dimension to the arts scene here and we’re proud to have them call Lancaster home.
Jason Mundok is a podcaster, blogger, and musician from Lancaster, PA. Along with Steve Carlson, Jason operates WoodStoveHouse.com, an online publication aimed at featuring the arts and those who make the arts happen in and around Lancaster, PA. Find Wood Stove House on Facebook and Twitter.