The 48th annual Mount Gretna Art Show welcomed almost 9,000 people through its gates on Aug. 20 and 21.
The Pennsylvania Chautauqua, a nonprofit organization, presents the rain-or-shine art show. According to its website, the organization’s mission is “the advancement of literary, scientific, intellectual, physical and social welfare and the promotion of cultural and religious activity, recreation and entertainment.”
“The Chautauqua uses the power of art to build community,” Kerry Royer, director of the Mount Gretna Outdoor Art Show, said. “We offer a variety of fabulous art, gourmet food, live music, and artistic engagements for kids. The show has something for everyone.”
While the art show takes place on the third full weekend in August every year, the organizational process behind it starts the previous fall.
“The show is juried by professional artists and educators,” Royer said. “We start to accept applications in November of each year. All categories are reviewed by medium, and the top scorers are invited to exhibit at our show.”
During the art show, judges review the exhibitors live. The top 30 exhibitors receive an automatic invitation to the following year’s art show.
The 2022 Mount Gretna Art Show hosted 200 exhibitors from a national pool of artists.
“This year was fresh,” Royer said. “We had 50 exhibitors – ‘New Artists’ – who had never displayed at Mount Gretna before.”
In the week leading up to the art show, exhibitors new to the area and those with familiar faces carefully load their vehicles with art pieces.
“One story that was relayed to me is that there was an artist who drove from a large city in New England,” Royer said. “He said he wondered as he drove through cornfields, and then a forest, how many people come to this show. Then, nearly 9,000 people showed up. He had an amazing response to his work and already said he wants to return to our charming locale next summer to participate again.”
The Mount Gretna Art Show has been named one of the “200 Best” nationwide by Sunshine Artist magazine for over a decade. The show was deemed number 38 in classic and contemporary craft in 2022.
So, what’s the secret behind the nationally successful art show? Royer claims it’s a village.
“The show brings something rare and special to Mount Gretna as we celebrate the arts in our community,” Royer said. “Volunteers from all Mount Gretna neighborhoods come out in full force to support the show. We simply could not put on a national show like this without the help of our volunteers, emergency services, fire company, borough, police departments, and auxiliary. We are so lucky that people joyfully want to be a part of this amazing event year after year.”
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