Discovering suburban class in GoggleWorks

More than 20 art studios housed in one facility creates an artistic atmosphere in Reading, Pa.

Courtesy GoggleWorks GoggleWorks highlights 201 Washington St. in Reading, Pa.

If you had to guess, where do you think the largest and most comprehensive arts studio in the country is located? New York City? Los Angeles? Right here in Philly? Wrong, wrong and wrong. Located Reading, Pa., an hour outside Philadelphia, in a converted goggle factory, is the aptly-named GoggleWorks Center for the Arts.

Featuring more than 20 individual art studios inhabited by artists, a gift shop, an independent movie theater and more, GoggleWorks is great for those days when you and

your friends think you’ve done everything. Whether alone or with a group, this studio offers many classes, including wood-working, glass-blowing, jewelry, ceramics, metal-making and photography.

“We are open all week, and probably the best part of GoggleWorks is that it’s completely free to enter,” Director of Marketing and Development Kristin Kramer said. “We [also] feature summer camps, scholarships and specialized events that go all year round.”

One of the more prominent upcoming events is the monthly Second Sunday, which will feature live music, “make-and-take” projects and the opportunity to watch artists do their craft right in front of you.

“I like everything about it,” freshman dance major Rachael Hart said. “It’s where I spent four years dancing in beautiful studios in a building where culture and the arts were celebrated and cultivated.”

Transportation to GoggleWorks is simple: A round-trip ticket via the Bieber Tourways bus service is $35, and the station is within walking distance to GoggleWorks.
According to its website, the main focus of the GoggleWorks is “to nurture the arts, foster creativity, promote education and enrich the community.”

It appears to be doing all of that and more at a zenith that not many other facilities in Reading – much less Philadelphia – can boast. Spread across 145,000 square feet, the Center for the Arts has the ability to cater to at least one artistic interest of everyone who enters its doors.

GoggleWorks only celebrated its fifth year of operation in 2010, so it still has the sheen of a new building, yet is able to grow and adapt with both the outside and art worlds.

Coming up in the spring is a Curator’s Choice event, in which handpicked local artists will present their artwork to the community, from March 13 to April 22. A selection of works from Brenda Bunten-Schloesser, who is known for her requisite fiber collages will be presented later in the spring.

Kevin Stairiker can be reached at

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