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American Craftsman show to kick off 42nd year

A more colorful lineup of crafts with a significant proportion of new artisans will greet visitors to the 42nd annual 100 American Craftsman show, opening a three-day run tonight in the Kenan Center Arena, 195 Beattie Ave.

Elaine Harrigan, marketing director for the Kenan Center, said upon reviewing the goods on offer, "We were really impressed with how vivid and bold the colors were. They were really complementing what's going on in fashion and decor."

Despite the show's name, there will actually be 110 artisans showing their wares. The lineup, chosen by a jury, includes 23 newcomers.

Returning artists include three "master craftsmen," so dubbed after winning honors at previous shows.

They are Jim and Pat Reno of Fredonia, who work with clay; another clay artisan, Richard Aerni of Rochester; and Lockport native Christopher Stangler, who creates with paper.

Newcomers include two glass artists and three basket makers, bringing the total in that specialty to four.

Thomas S. Kenan III, a trustee of the Kenan Charitable Trust, has traveled from North Carolina to help open the show at 6 p.m. today.

He is a grandnephew of William Rand Kenan Jr., whose bequest founded the Kenan Center 45 years ago.

There is a bandstand in the center of the arena to provide live music throughout the weekend.

Classic rock fans will want to pay attention tonight, because Graham Lear, veteran drummer with Santana, will be sitting in with the Ralph Fava Trio, the traditional opening night act.

Other musical groups on stage this weekend will include the Buffalo-area folk duo John and Mary; Jackie Davis & Company; Duo II Muto; the Pocket Change Trio; and the Mark Mazur Trio.

Hours for the craft show are 6 to 9 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $6, and each attendee also will be given a raffle ticket for the hourly drawings for items donated by the participating artists.

While the craft show is going on in the arena, the adjacent Kenan Center Gallery, 433 Locust St., will be hosting a special art exhibit Saturday and Sunday called "Extraordinary Forms."

The exhibit focuses on wood and fiber by teachers of studio craft art from Buffalo State College, Rochester Institute of Technology's School of American Crafts, and Sheridan College of Ontario.

Food vendors will include the Kenan Arts Council's usual brownies and lemonade, along with treats by Sweet Melody's, Mountaintop Kettlecorn and Singer Farm Naturals. A sit-down cafe with a menu provided by the Shamus Restaurant also will be open.

The Kenan Quilters Guild will be raffling off a handmade quilt, and the Kenan Herb Club will hold its herbal plant sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Buffalo News is among the major sponsors of the event, along with WGRZ-TV, First Niagara Financial Group and the Phillips Lytle law firm.