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March 22, 2017
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Allied News

Athenaeum, Habitat, Wharton Esherick to be Celebrated at Philadelphia Furniture Show

By Rosemarie Fabien, PhD | Fabien Communications

Philadelphia, PA (March 2017) – The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia, and the Wharton Esherick Museum will present new projects and ongoing work at the 23rd annual Philadelphia Furniture Show, March 31 – April 2 at the Philadelphia Armory. They join fifty woodworkers, weavers, potters and other makers of exceptional furniture and furnishings at the longest-running exhibition of its kind in the US.

“These beloved institutions are enduring, unique and serve the region incomparably,” said Stefa Normantas, owner of the Furniture Show. “I know that they and the artisans exhibiting hand-made work will inspire and delight visitors to the Furniture Show.”

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia is housed in a National Historic Landmark Building on Philadelphia's Washington Square. Founded in 1814 as a membership library, the Athenaeum comprises circulating and research libraries, extensive architectural and photographic collections and several thousand maps, along with important American paintings, antique furniture, and rare examples of design art. In addition, the Athenaeum hosts dozens of cultural events each year, on topics such as architecture and social justice, immigration in Philadelphia, the history of Utopian communities, Shakespearean performance, and American popular music.

“Since its founding, the Athenaeum has been a resource of first resort on matters of architecture and interior design history,” said Peter Conn, executive director, Athenaeum. “Well-made, bespoke furniture pieces are our antiques of the future, so naturally we are delighted to be in their midst.”

Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia builds strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter. Families in need of decent, affordable housing work shoulder-to-shoulder with volunteers, donors, and Habitat staff to build new homes and repair existing homes across Philadelphia. By offering no-interest mortgages and accepting sweat equity as a down payment, Habitat is able to offer affordable homeownership opportunities to families who would otherwise not qualify for a mortgage. Habitat also operates a ReStore, which accepts donations of new and gently used furniture and sells them to the public at discounted prices, generating more funds for homeownership and home repair programs.

“We are thrilled to be this year's Community Collaborator for the Philadelphia Furniture Show,” said Corinne O’Connell, associate executive director, Habitat Philadelphia. “I expect to meet many like-minded people who value what we do, appreciate woodworking and building, and may be willing to swing a hammer for us.”

The Wharton Esherick Museum is the hilltop studio and residence of the dean of American craftsmen, Wharton Esherick (1887-1970). A sculptor who worked primarily in wood, Esherick extended his unique forms to furniture, furnishings, utensils, interiors, buildings and more. His motto, “if it isn’t fun, it isn’t worth doing,” is evident in the joyful expression of his work, inviting the eye and the hand. A National Historic Landmark, the Museum in Malvern, Pennsylvania has more than 300 of his works on exhibition.

“We are honored that so many woodworkers exhibiting in the Furniture Show were influenced by Wharton Esherick,” Julie Gannaway, executive director, Wharton Esherick Museum. “It will be our great joy to share space with the next generation of artisans.”

The Athenaeum, Habitat Philadelphia and Wharton Esherick Museum will join long-time Furniture Show partners Center for Art in Wood, Nakashima Foundation for Peace, Wayne Art Center and The Furniture Society in celebrating at the Preview Party on Friday, March 31st. Party-goers will have the first chance to purchase one-of-a-kind furniture pieces before the Show opens to the public on Saturday.

In keeping with the decades-old custom, the Party begins with the ceremonial splitting of a log using a two-person gang saw. A cappella group Penn Counterparts from the University of Pennsylvania will perform songs from its award-winning repertoire. Karma Revero, a luxury hybrid performance car, will be on the floor -- courtesy of the new Karma of the Main Line, one of only ten Karma Automotive dealerships in North America. Dad’s Hat Whiskey and Flying Fish Beer will have craft beverage sampling to pair with hand-crafted furniture, and hearty hors d'oeuvres will be provided by 12th Street Catering. For out-of-towners, the Rittenhouse Hotel is offering a special weekend package for guests of the Furniture Show.

If you go
Where: 23rd Street Armory, 22 South 23rd St, between Market and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia

When: Friday, March 31, Preview Party, 6-9pm, $45. (VIP Passes for $75 include access throughout the weekend and complimentary champagne)
Saturday, April 1, 10am – 6pm, $15, students $8
Sunday, April 2, 10am – 5pm, $15, students $8
Weekend Pass: $12 in advance

Info: Tickets can be purchased at www.philadelphiafurnitureshow.com or by calling 215.387.8590.

Philadelphia Furniture Show
In concert with Philadelphia’s centuries-old tradition of fine woodworking, the Philadelphia Furniture Show has exhibited exceptional, artisan-quality furniture and furnishings annually since 1995. Exhibitors are invited to participate based on the quality of their work. The Furniture Show is produced by Green Tree Events, also the producers of New England Made Giftware and Specialty Food Shows (www.nemadeshows.com). Contact: Stefa Normantas, [email protected], 215.387.8590.

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