Festival of Learnshops
With so many working studio artists, Berea seemed the perfect place to establish a summer arts program where these artists could share their skills and passion for the arts with others – something like Penland School of Crafts or the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina. The problem was that there was no large building where all the classes could be housed. In typical Berea-fashion, the artist community got together with City government and brainstormed. Instead of having all the workshops in one big building, why not have studio artists open their studios and give people the rare opportunity to learn in the actual working environment of the artisans? And for those artists who did not have enough space or who were coming in from out of town as instructors, we could find rooms spread throughout the community, so that the entire community becomes the campus. Since the first Festival of Learnshops in 2011, the event has exploded from five days in July to seventeen with an amazing variety of classes. Participants select among classes that last from two hours to three days to pursue an interest in sustainable living, mosaics, playing the dulcimer, blacksmithing, creative writing, painting, Appalachian crafts, fiber arts, jewelry, glass, storytelling, theatre, instrument making, bonsai, woodworking, or professional learning for educators. Many classes are open to children or teens, so you can share creative time with your children or grandchildren.