Arts & Events » Arts and Culture

Art for Art’s Sake

Fifty-eight years strong, Visual Arts Center of Richmond’s Craft + Design Show returns to Main Street Station.

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Showcasing the works of more than 150 artists from around the country, Richmond’s annual Craft + Design Show is a feast for the eyes not only for the works on display, but for the people watching of its Friday night Patrons’ Preview Party.

“Because it is an art-centric event, people really do come [well] dressed,” says Stefanie Fedor, executive director of the Visual Arts Center of Richmond that stages the event annually as a fundraiser. “It’s the party of the year. It’s such a fun time to see so many different creative folks from Richmond.”

The Craft + Design Show had its beginnings in 1964 when VisArts’ predecessor, the Hand Workshop, presented the work of 70 artists and craftsmen as the exhibition “A Sculptor’s Crafts.” Since 2017, Craft + Design has taken place in Main Street Station’s renovated train shed.

“It’s a museum quality exhibition,” Fedor explains. “All the artists are juried in, so we have artists that are professionals looking through submissions and picking the top of the top. Those artists are invited to come and participate in the show.”

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From around the country, artists come to Richmond to show off their wares.

“It’s any type of craft medium that you can think of, so everything from wood to clay, metals, jewelry, wearable art, a lot of functional art for the home,” Fedor says. “You get the opportunity not only to see these amazing items that they’ve made, but you also get to interact with the artists themselves, which is a really special aspect of the show.”

On Friday, the Patrons’ Preview Party takes place, allowing attendees to shop the event before anyone else. The evening will feature beer from Hardywood, cocktails by Belle Isle Craft Spirits, wine and hors d’oeuvres. Cocktail attire is recommended.

Saturday morning, the Rise + Shine Brunch will take place, featuring artist and designer Susan Hable as guest speaker, a light brunch with coffee, and mimosas and Bloody Marys by Belle Isle. Following the brunch, Craft + Design will enter its general admission shopping hours, taking place both Saturday and Sunday.

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In the downstairs section of the train station, multiple tables will be set up with art supplies as a free, family-friendly artmaking space.

“We’ve … really expanded, in the past few years, free opportunities for people with families and children who want to come,” Fedor says.

She adds that, in recent years, Craft + Design has worked to emphasize local makers. This year will feature five local maker booths run by Richmond businesses that include Lineage, Dear Neighbor and Join or Die Knives.

Additionally, the event will include roughly a dozen teacher booths to exhibit works by the art center’s roughly 200 teaching artists. These booths are offered to the teachers at a lower price so they can try their hand at being part of a craft show.

“It’s a way for us to highlight the community that works with us throughout the year,” Fedor says. “A handful of the makers have learned some of their skills here at VisArts. It’s a great representation of what we’re doing here every day at the VisArts Center.”

The Visual Arts Center of Richmond’s Craft + Design Show runs Oct. 14-16 at Main Street Station, 1500 E. Main St. For more information, visit craftanddesignrva.com.