The Richmond Register

Local News

July 15, 2014

Bringing out the ‛inner artist’

Berea Festival of Learnshops setting record pace

RICHMOND — From glass blowing and blacksmithing to watercolors and origami, people were developing their “inner artist” Tuesday in Berea.

They were attending some of the more than130 courses offered by Berea’s fourth annual Festival of Learnshops.

Many of the learnshops take place in the Old Town Artisans Village, while others are taught at Berea College or elsewhere nearby. But some are as far away as Red Lick, where another artisan community is developing.

“The cool thing is that our classes are beginner level,” said Kerri Lee Hensley, Berea’s assistant tourism director. “If you always thought you wanted to do blacksmithing or turn a bowl or learn glassblowing or paint a portrait, you can just put a little of yourself forward and see where it goes for you.”

By Tuesday, the three-week event had sold 1,130 class tickets, a new record, Hensley said. By the end of last year’s festival, 1,200 were sold

Hensley attributes the festival’s popularity to the diversity of classes as well as school teachers who attend to earn professional development credits. About one-fourth of Learnshop participants are teachers who will later instruct their students in the skills they learned in Berea, she said.

“It’s not just sitting and listening to presentations,” Hensley said. Learnshop participants “really get their hands dirty and have a fulfilling experience to share in the classroom with their students.”

Education at the Learnshops isn’t just for educators. Some courses are adult-only, but others are family oriented. Some, such as Kids Clay and Theater Improvisation, are just for kids.

Each course is taught by a proficient artist, about half of which line in or around Berea. Other instructors come from the surrounding areas, and a few come from out of state, Hensley said.

Learnshop courses are listed on, where registration can be completed. Registration and information also is available by phone at 986-2540 or toll free at 800-598-5263.

To ensure a seat in one of the courses, Hensley said early registration is encouraged.


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