(Developers of the Strictly Functional Pottery National)

Brief History of the Market House Craft Center:

The organization was founded in 1946 as the Conestoga Valley Chapter of the PA Guild of Craftsmen. In 1988, reorganization took place to form into two separate organizations: The Market House Craft Center, a nonprofit [IRS 501(c)3] educational organization whose mission is the encouragement, education and promotion of quality crafts and craftsmanship. and Lancaster Designer Craftsmen, an [IRS 501 (c) 6] organization which is a membership organization for craftspeople and friends. The purpose of this organization is to encourage and promote Pennsylvania crafts and craftsmen. Membership numbers about 150 craftspeople.

MHCC Location: From 1946 to 1981 the organization met in various locations including member's homes, and nearby college buildings. In 1981, the chapter moved to its first permanent home in the lower level of the Southern Farmers Market, which was constructed in 1888 and is owned by the city of Lancaster. The MHCC remained there until 1995 when they moved out because of a lack of handicapped access and a deteriorating neighborhood which resulted in fewer people in attendance at activities. In 1995 the MHCC moved to the ARTWORKS at Doneckers in Ephrata, in Lancaster County, where it remained until the financial obligation was more than the organization could bear. At present the MHCC has no permanent location. Our meetings and activities are held in various public buildings.


  • Strictly Functional Pottery National: A national juried competition to select 95-100 quality pieces of functional pottery for this exhibition. It has been held annually since 1993, and is open free of charge to the public for one month. It is recognized as one of the top ceramic exhibitions in the country.
  • Public Lectures: Call 717-560-8816 to find current schedule.
  • Traveling Craftsman Program: There is a group of craftspeople who go into schools, retirement homes, etc. to demonstrate and educate about their crafts.
  • Workshops: Our next workshop will be October 2-3, 2010 in conjunction with the SFPN. It will feature a 2 day workshop with Bill van Gilder.
  • Publishing the Art and Craft Show Directory for Lancaster County and Surrounding Areas: This deirectory, which began as a service to the community has become a major fundraiser.
  • Financial Support of MHCC, a nonprofit [IRS 501(c)3] organization, is through tax deductible donations and the Show Directory.
  • Donations: Because it is a nonprofit [IRS 501(c)3] organization, it is supported in part through donations (which are tax deductible). Grants Received by the MHCC: Pennsylvania Council on the Arts: Grants were received from PCA since 1987 to support various programs and have varied in amount from $500 to $3000.
  • Workshop series: The earlier grants enabled nationally known craftspeople to come to Lancaster for a program that involved a free public lecture, a workshop, and a gallery exhibit of their work.
  • Regional gallery exhibits: Two regional gallery exhibits featuring a selection of crafts juried by prominent jurors to select the best entries from surrounding states. Two grants to support increased publicity for the rotating gallery exhibitions.
  • Strictly Functional Pottery National: Support since 1992-1998 for the each of our Strictly Functional Pottery National Exhibitions, until we were able to become self- supporting. Proudly, we are now have achieved a "break-even" status with the SFPN. The Steinman Foundation grant, which enabled the MHCC to remain open longer hours during the summer tourist months of 1990. City of Lancaster Arts Grant in 1992, which helped support the 2nd Annual Strictly Functional Pottery National exhibition. Lancaster Designer Craftsmen raises funds to provide the remainder of MHCC financial support mostly by publishing the Art and Craft Show Directory for Lancaster County and Surrounding Areas: This directory, which began as a service to the community has become our major fund raiser.
  • Staff: No paid staff. The MHCC and LDC are totally volunteer organizations.
Sixty volunteers work many hours to make the Strictly Functional Pottery National a success every year. Without these dedicated volunteers, the MHCC would not be able to present an exhibit of such magnitude.
Presented by the Market House Craft Center
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