Arts and Entertainment

Libraries' Special Collections exhibit honors Arts Festival history

The University Libraries exhibit “Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts at 50: Making Lasting Memories” is on display through Friday, July 29, in the Exhibition Gallery of the Eberly Family Special Collections Library, first floor Paterno Library, on the University Park campus.  Credit: Jill Shockey, Penn State University Libraries / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A Penn State University Libraries exhibit opening today (June 7) at the home of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts’ (CPFA) official archives reflects back through a half century of artifacts from the annual arts celebration.

The exhibit, "Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts at 50: Making Lasting Memories," reflects on the history of the event popularly known as the Arts Festival, which brings more than 125,000 attendees to downtown State College and Penn State's University Park campus each July. The University Libraries’ Eberly Family Special Collections Library houses the CPFA archives of the top-ranked Arts Festival, which began in the summer of 1966 as a nonprofit, volunteer-run corporation that celebrates the arts.

To commemorate its semicentennial year, the Penn State University Archives is exhibiting materials from the CPFA archives, including programs, photographs, newspaper clippings, T-shirts, buttons, brochures and reports.

The Arts Festival includes a nationally recognized Sidewalk Sale and Exhibition, performers of international and regional stature on outdoor and indoor stages, a massive sand sculpture, Italian street painting, BookFest, gallery exhibitions, Children’s Day activities, festival races and much more.

Among the special features of the Special Collections Library’s exhibition are approximately a dozen historic banners dating back to the early 1970s. Banner artists include local creators such as Ronald Way, Ginny Cooper, Joan Schrock, Marty Edmunds, Joanie Eyster, Sally Bowers, Lois Rector, Teresa Shields, State College Chapter of Mothers and More, and the Park Forest Middle School Art Club.

In addition, selected artworks from participants in the Sidewalk Sale will be displayed, including a sweetgrass basket by Mary Jackson; photography by Pat Little, Gene Pembroke and Dan Westfall; graphic arts by Andy Van Schyndle, Bruce Reinfeld and Susan Loy; and other samples of the creative talents evident throughout the Arts Festival.

The exhibition is open to the public 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays through July 29 on the first floor of Paterno Library. A gallery talk by CPFA Executive Director Rick Bryant will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 29, in Paterno Library’s Foster Auditorium.

For additional information about the exhibition or the gallery talk, contact Jackie Esposito, University archivist, at or 814-863-3791, or Paul Dzyak, sports archivist, at or 814-865-2123.

Exclusive to the University Libraries' Special Collections Library exhibit, “Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts at 50: Making Lasting Memories,” is a display of several handcrafted banners made by banner contest participants through the years, including this one depicting the Arts Festival mascot, a jester. Credit: Jill Shockey, Penn State University Libraries / Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated June 14, 2016