New Hunterdon Art Museum exhibit explores craft school’s history From the Ground Up

Noble Horvath

Hunterdon Art Museum will host a virtual opening reception for its new exhibit, “From the Ground Up: Peters Valley School of Craft,” on Saturday, Oct. 3, from 7 to 8 p.m. © Patrick O’Shea | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com/petersvalley.org/nj.com/TNS Peters Valley School of Crafts is the subject of a […]

Hunterdon Art Museum will host a virtual opening reception for its new exhibit, “From the Ground Up: Peters Valley School of Craft,” on Saturday, Oct. 3, from 7 to 8 p.m.



a house with trees in the background: Peters Valley School of Crafts is the subject of a new exhibit at the Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, opening with a virtual reception on Saturday, Oct. 3.


© Patrick O’Shea | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com/petersvalley.org/nj.com/TNS
Peters Valley School of Crafts is the subject of a new exhibit at the Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, opening with a virtual reception on Saturday, Oct. 3.

The display will be open for public viewing at the museum from Oct. 4 through to Jan. 10.

“From the Ground Up,” will be the first-ever exhibit examining Peters Valley’s 50-year history and key moments that have defined the institution — from its earliest formation as an experimental craft colony, to the building of its Japanese wood-fired kiln in 1980, to the prominence of women blacksmiths at Peters Valley in the early 2000s.

The show, curated by Elizabeth Essner, will combine historical ephemera with more than 75 fiber, jewelry, ceramics, wood, photography and metal works by artists involved at Peters Valley, as well as on-site artist residencies to allow further engagement with artists working in craft-based materials.

“We’ve been working with the Hunterdon Art Museum and Essner for the past two years to ensure this milestone exhibition includes pieces that communicate the rich history and development of contemporary craft in America,” said Peters Valley Executive Director Kristin Muller. “The interactive artist residencies will also exemplify to visitors the experiential aspects of Peters Valley’s immersive studio workshops.”

“I’m thrilled to be able to shed light on so many stories of artistic transformation that have happened at Peters Valley,” said Essner. “The school has engaged hundreds of artists and thousands of students over its 50-year history, yet its story has never been told.”

Artists whose work will exhibited are Vivian Beer, Bruce Dehnert, Fawn Navasie, Luci Jockel, Kirk Mangus, Emil Milan, Shiro Otani, Malcolm Mobutu Smith, Stephen Shore, Toshiko Takaezu, Louise Todd Cope, MJ Tyson and Andrew Willner.

Artist residencies will include weaver Cynthia Alberto and her Brooklyn-based weaving studio Weaving Hand, jeweler Lauren Eckert and woodworker Janine Wang.

Set in the wooded landscape of the Delaware Water Gap National Park in Layton, Peters Valley was first proposed in 1970 as a planned colony of artists and craftspeople, with resident blacksmiths, ceramists, fiber artists, metalsmiths, woodworkers and photographers populating the site’s 18th and 19th-century buildings. Over time, as Peters Valley’s educational mission moved from the margins to the center, it grew into the craft school it is today, which brings together local, national and international artists with students for immersive materials-based workshops. For information, visit petersvalley.org.

The Hunterdon Museum is located at 7 Lower Center St., Clinton. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays by appointment, with the first hour on Thursdays reserved for seniors and immunocompromised visitors. Admission is $7, $5 for seniors, students and military and free for ages 12 and younger.

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