Press Office
106 South Street
Easton, MD  21601
410-822-ARTS (2787)

For Immediate Release (October 23, 2017)


October 23, 2017, Easton, Maryland—Academy Art Museum Director Ben Simons announced today that last weekend’s 2017 Academy Craft Show–Fired Up brought “thousands of people and more than $165,000 to the Museum” and “far surpassed all previous Craft Show records for attendance and community fund-raising.”

He called the 2017 Craft Show, “a magnificent triumph, thanks to the entire mid-shore community.  People were streaming into the exhibits, buzzing and buying on all three days.”

Final numbers are still being tallied but more than 50 businesses and dozens of private citizens sponsored artists and Craft Show events.  Thousands more bought admission tickets and participated in the raffle of high-end Craft art works donated by Show artists.  The final event of the Craft Show was Monday’s drawing of winning raffle tickets at the Museum in Easton.

“The 20th Anniversary Show demonstrates the tremendous support from every part of our community for their Museum, which serves as the hub of the arts on the Eastern Shore,” said Simons. “It shows how much of a destination museum we are for people from surrounding cities as well. The proceeds from the Craft Show support mission-critical Museum programs like ArtReach, our free educational outreach program for thousands of school children in the mid-shore’s five counties.”

“Thanks to community generosity like this,” Simons said, “we can offer so much to the community, from world-class exhibitions to art classes for all ages. If you love the arts, or you would like to love the arts,” Simons added, “please know, the Museum is here for you.”

Simons praised Holly Fine of Easton for the Show’s success on every level.  Fine is a Museum Trustee and an artist who spent a year coordinating volunteers and Museum staff on all Show operations and the art itself.  Simons explained, “There is nothing but admiration and thanks for and to Holly Fine.  The juried Academy Craft Show has grown significantly in quality and importance to the art world, and that is due to the leadership of Holly Fine and her team.”

Governor Larry Hogan congratulated the Craft Show on its 20th anniversary in an Official Citation hand-delivered at the Opening Party on Friday to Fine, Simons, and Museum Board Chair Catherine McCoy by Senator Addie Eckardt (R) and Delegate Johnny Mautz (R) who also brought citations praising the Craft Show from the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates.

Show Chair Fine said she was “thrilled” with the results of “everyone’s hard work.” “Thanks to this true team,” she said, “we attracted 70 first-rate artists, and thousands of our neighbors, into a first-rate show. I had an eye on the front door non-stop, and saw for myself that everything, happily, was surpassing all of our expectations.”

The Academy Craft Show Awards are highly valued by the professional artists from 18 states, from Oregon to Maryland, who merited invitation into this show.  “But the Show itself was honored,” says Fine “when Bennett Bean accepted our request to be Honorary Chair.”

Bennett Bean, the celebrated and acclaimed master artist, was presented with the 2017 “Visionary Artist Award” at the Opening Party on Friday.  His one-man exhibition re-opens this week at the Academy Art Museum after its brief hiatus for the Craft Show.

Four of the five competitive juried awards for 2017 Academy Craft Show – Fired Up went to nationally-acclaimed artists exhibiting in Easton for the first time: Porcelain ceramicist Cliff Lee of Pennsylvania won Best Body of Work, 1st Place; Porcelain sculptor Scott Causey of Florida and jeweler Susan Mahlstedt of Missouri tied for Best Body of Work, 2nd Place; Best Booth Design went to precision watchmaker Geoffrey Roth of Arizona. Best Piece in Show went to ceramicist Robert Hessler of New York who had won Best Body of Work at the 2015 Craft Show.

Simons also shared news about next year’s Craft Show: “We are thrilled to announce that the Craft Show will be back next fall from October 19th to 21st. The 2018 Academy Craft Show will feature artistic jewelry and will be called DAZZLED!

Simons and Fine added that the Craft Show’s dedicated website,, will stay active as a Museum resource for the growing field of fine-art Crafts.  “The Show website is bursting with content just in its first year,” said Fine. “It has photos, links, and insights from Craft artists who are at the top of their game and their fields.”

Simons added, “We want to keep developing the Museum’s Craft Show and its website as a treasure trove of information about Craft as high-art.  Just ‘click’,” he said, “and then please, come see us.”


Names from left to right, top to bottom Robert Hessler, Best Piece In Show; Ben Simons, Academy Art Museum Director; Bennett Bean Visionary Artist and Honorary Chair; Scott Causey, Best Body of Work, Tied for Second Place; Cliff Lee, Best Body of Work; Geoffrey Roth, Best Booth Presentation; Susan Mahlstedt, Best Body of Work, Tied for Second Place; Mary Ann Mulligan, Owner of Ben Franklin; Holly Fine, Academy Craft Show Chair and Academy Art Museum Trustee