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GoggleWorks Partners with City of Reading for Full Roster of First Friday Activities

by GoggleWorks Center for the Arts

May 24, 2023

GoggleWorks Center for the Arts (GoggleWorks) and The City of Reading announced a partnership to offer a brimming roster of dynamic programs to the art center’s campus for First Friday on June 2nd, from 5 pm to 9 pm, including the Shatter Our Fears community spectacle, which will take place at 7:30 pm.

Mayor Eddie Moran said, “This month, we are joining forces with the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts to bring you an extraordinary celebration of our community’s vibrant culture. Our collaboration with GoggleWorks will infuse the event with a creative and artistic atmosphere that will leave you inspired while enjoying an array of local food vendors and live entertainment showcasing some of the best our City has to offer.”

  • 5pm- First Friday kicks off: live performances, food trucks, beer garden, vendors, activities
  • 6pm- National Juried Art Exhibition opening reception
  • 7:30pm- Shatter Our Fears signature event
  • 8pm- Andrew Pochan public mural reception; walking tours of new Art Park construction plans
  • 8:30pm- From the River public film premiere

“Shatter Our Fears, the signature event, is a collaborative project and spectacle that invites each of us to confront our fears and limiting beliefs about ourselves and our community,” said Levi Landis, GoggleWorks executive director. Landis said the project was inspired by a young art student named Alberto who said, “I spend too much time collecting the stories that hold me back.” During 42 mobile events held by GoggleWorks in 2022, participants listed their fears—for their families, their community, their own lives—on paper scrolls and deposited them into an elaborate blown glass vessel, handcrafted by professional artists to represent the time we spend holding on to our worries.

On June 2nd, the series will culminate in a public celebration in the courtyard of GoggleWorks where the glass vessel will be destroyed as a public art spectacle with an enormous “Mazo de Esperanza” or “Sledgehammer of Hope.” This effigy will be used as a symbol of moving beyond our fears and limiting beliefs. Glass artists will receive design input from participants to create a new vessel, representing a new form to spark our collective future. “This event will allow us to turn outward further to our community and engage new audiences, particularly as we plan the redesign of our outdoor spaces for creative public use.” said Landis. “Instead of a groundbreaking, we’re going to shatter glass.”

Starting at 6pm, GoggleWorks will also be hosting a reception for the opening of its annual National Juried Exhibition, highlighting exemplary two-dimensional works from artists around the country. The exhibition will showcase 2D media such as drawings, paintings, prints, collage, and photographs. Renowned artist Mark Mahosky curated the show and will select top awards to be announced during the reception.

At 8:30pm will be a public premiere of From the River, by local filmmaker Tracy Schott. The film explores the history of Reading and includes animated portions featuring a public mural by local artist Andrew Pochan called “Reading is Ours: a folk mural of Reading, PA”, commissioned by Schott Productions and installed at GoggleWorks. Tickets for the film are $10 for general admission, $8 for seniors, and $7 for students. First Friday attendees can view the public mural, which can be found on the east side of GoggleWorks’ hot glass studio. A special reception will be held there at 8pm to highlight the mural and bring to life the history displayed in the work.

Throughout the evening, the City of Reading will be activating the art center’s large, former goggle factory campus with an array of other programs. Visitors can enjoy live performances, food trucks, a beer garden, community vendors, and a variety of fun activities. In addition to the schedule of programs, attendees can check out GoggleWorks’ New Store and studios of over 35 resident artists. Admission and parking to First Friday at GoggleWorks are cost-free, and all are welcome. Donations are gratefully accepted to support the ongoing work of GoggleWorks’ nonprofit mission to transform lives through unique interactions with art.

The City of Reading hosts outdoor block parties each First Friday from May to August. In addition to the celebration at GoggleWorks, the City will be hosting Reading’s 275th Anniversary during lunchtime. The Mid-Atlantic Air Museum’s 32nd Annual World War II weekend airshow will kick off that same day, June 2nd, with a WWII reenactment on the 500 block of Penn Street with live entertainment and business engagement from 11:30 am-1:30 pm. “The daylong series of events will create a unique fusion of the June First Friday and the anniversary celebrations, resulting in an unforgettable experience.“ stated Mayor Eddie Moran.  “We hope that everyone will attend one or both events.”

Located in downtown Reading, PA, GoggleWorks operates in a former goggle factory and is composed of 145,000 square feet of creative space. The 501c3 nonprofit offers year-round arts education, including workshops, classes, and visiting artists; community outreach programs; a summer residency; youth programs and camps; 35 on-site studio artists; the Albert and Eunice Boscov theater; three galleries for exhibitions; the Berks Launchbox maker space; and nine communal studios-hot glass, wood, printmaking, warm glass, metals, ceramics, photography, virtual reality, and urban gardens. For more information about First Friday, other events, classes, and more visit

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