HARRISBURG, PA (February 23, 2011) - On Tuesday, March 15 members of the state's second largest industry, tourism, will gather at the Capitol to celebrate PA Tourism Day.

Since its founding, Pennsylvania has enjoyed an excellent reputation for fine craft and art. Tourists and visitors come to the Keystone State seeking that locally handcrafted pottery, glass, woodcarvings, jewelry and paintings.  To commemorate PA Tourism Day, about a half dozen artists affiliated with the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen and the Village Artisans Gallery will be on-hand explaining and demonstrating their craft and displaying their work. The Village Artisans Gallery is a nationally recognized gallery housed in a circa 1875 former church brick building located in the historic village of Boiling Springs.

 "Today's tourists and visitors seek to experience the friendly, relaxed small village atmosphere that still remains at the locally owned businesses in Cumberland Valley, PA," said Rob Fulton, President of the PA Convention & Visitors Bureaus, which is joined by the PA Tourism & Lodging Association and the PA Tourism Coalition as organizers of Tourism Day.  Tourism Day is part of a three-day industry summit, being held at The Hilton Harrisburg, March 14 -16. 

Tourism Day will begin at 11:00 am as hundreds of industry professionals parade from The Hilton Harrisburg to the Capitol for a noon rally and exposition.  The 90-minute event will feature costumed characters from area attractions and sporting events, in addition to a variety of exhibits and promotions highlighting the many features of tourism in Pennsylvania.   The rally will also include complimentary photos with the characters, giveaways and FREE guided tours of the Capitol.  This free event is open to the public.

Participating Tourism Day artists include:

                    Gay Foltz Folk-Art Carver. Tourists can find her at work creating whimsical woodcarvings in her

                    studio that has been an integral part of The Village Artisans Gallery since it opened it's doors in

                    1995. Gay's work is collected by visitors from all over the globe and has been featured on

                    HGTV's "That's Clever" and in numerous magazine and newspaper articles. 

  • Deborah Hershey, a Fine & Collage Artist working in Central Pennsylvania, depends greatly on the cultural tourist. It is these guests who actively seek out local galleries and festivals in search of items created by the hands of resident artists and craftspeople which are vital to sustaining the Pennsylvania arts.
  • Kurt Brantner is a potter currently living and working in Boiling Springs, PA. His vocabulary of form and fire is derived primarily from the Seagrove, NC tradition of Southern United States where he began his studies in 2005, blended with concepts from the far-east which he has acquired through literature, philosophy, photography, museums, and the influence of other potters whom with he has worked closely.Kurt's current clay body consists primarily of clay dug near the confluence of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Erin Keck of Steam-Punk Clocks & Journals loves to dive into a project where she can breathe new life into something that has been discarded. She enjoys creating her themed Steam-Punk clocks and journals from found objects, metals and paper.
  • Jean Van Brederode has found copper and enamels to be the most thrilling media, allowing endless variety in color, form and texture. In 34 years of teaching experience, art has always been a part of her life and now is her main passion and driving force.
  • Linda Billet is a glass artisan working out of her Pennsylvania studio. Her large glass panels are installed in public spaces as well as private homes. Billet uses glass to "paint her canvas," sometimes with shards that are as tiny as dust. While working with glass, she uses dimension to her full advantage, even if it is only a quarter of an inch.

Pennsylvania tourism accounts for more than 400,000 jobs or nearly seven percent of all individuals employed in the state.  In 2009 the industry generated $32.9 billion in economic impact to Pennsylvania, which equates to $3.4 billion in state and local tax revenues.