In Berks County, we’re proud of the exceptional local art and artists that surround us and add to the culture of our community. GoggleWorks in historic downtown Reading, PA was created as a center for art to happen every day. We encourage you to take an hour or a whole day to explore the unique works of art, crafts, dance and musical performances offered here.
GoggleWorks Center for the Arts takes its name from its 5-story building’s original use as the Willson safety goggles factory. It was renovated and adapted for use as a community art and cultural resource center for Berks County and Central and Southeastern Pennsylvania, and is the largest, most comprehensive interactive arts center of its kind in the country. The factory building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The GoggleWorks complex is large, taking up half of a city block with six buildings and 145,000 square feet of art space. (The other half of the block is for the facility’s free, secure and convenient parking.)
Inside, you’ll find 35 artists working in their professional studios and five exciting galleries displaying their work in ever-changing exhibits. There are dance and music studios, a woodworking shop, a glass blowing facility, a ceramics studio, and offices for 26 local community arts and cultural organizations, such as the Berks Ballet, the Berks Classical Children’s Chorus, and the Polish American Cultural Center.
Experience the art of glass fusing, lampworking, stained glass, hot casting and glassblowing in the large, state-of-the-art hot glass, warm/cold glass, kiln forming, glass fusing, and lampworking studios.
Attend free demonstrations and learn about the tools and how pieces are created from start to finish. Take private lessons or workshops taught by GoggleWorks’ highly trained instructors to experience the magic of hot solid glass sculpting. You’ll get to pick and apply colors, twist and turn your piece, then blow or shape it into a colorful and unique paperweight or glass flower. No previous experience is necessary.
If ceramics are your passion, GoggleWorks provides artists with the space to work, the highest quality instruction and well-maintained facilities. The 2,200 square foot studio features 10 electric wheels, an extruder, slab roller, large Bailey gas kiln, two electric kilns, an electric test kiln, two Raku kilns, and a fully stocked raw materials room. Stop in any time to see what the artists are creating, or sign up for classes or workshops. GoggleWorks offers 200 arts-based classes every 10 weeks.
Festivals at GoggleWorks
In addition to all of the arts facilities, exhibitions and classes/workshops at GoggleWorks, plan you visit to coincide with one of the Center’s annual festivals:
- arts festival READING – This annual event takes place during American Craft Week on the first weekend in October of each year. It features juried entries from as many as 90 high quality, visiting artists and craftsmen, as well as 30+ GoggleWorks studio artists, Glass and Ceramics Studio demonstrations, music, and great food.
- Film Festival – The Boscov Film Theatre at GoggleWorks features a 130-seat theatre and state-of-the-art equipment. It’s home to regular movie screenings of films and video from around the world, with discussion groups featuring movie historians. Also plan on attending the new ReadingFilmFEST from November 13 to 15, 2015, which will feature seasoned and emerging filmmakers with projects in all genres.
- Second Sundays –Visit GoggleWorks on the Second Sunday of every month (except July and August) for a special open house to enjoy special exhibits and performances.
Last, but not least, resuscitate yourself with lunch at the on-site Café and shop for exquisite handmade gifts. GoggleWorks is located at 201 Washington Street in Reading, and is open daily from 11:00am to 7:00pm. Admission is always free.
Expand your horizons by watching artists, woodworkers, ceramists, glass blowers, and jewelry artisans in action in their GoggleWorks studios, take in a movie or performance, and enjoy a fun, free outing for the whole family. Browse the Greater Reading Convention and Visitors Bureau website, or visit us inside the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts.