by Diane VanDyke
Montgomery County Community College will be ringing in the holiday season with a special exhibit featuring the hand-crafted Carolers created and designed by Joyce Byers of Byers’ Choice Ltd., Chalfont, Pa.
The exhibit, “Handcrafting Christmas Tradition in our Community,” opens on Monday, Nov. 7, at the North Hall Art Gallery, West Campus, 16 W. High Street Pottstown. The exhibit continues through Dec. 16 with an opening celebration reception on Wednesday, Nov. 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. and a “Meet the Artist/Owner” reception with Joyce Byers on Sunday, Nov. 13, from 1 to 3 p.m.
The community is invited to the exhibit and receptions, which are free of charge and open to the public.
Joyce Byers started making her first Carolers in her home at the dining room table about 30 years ago and sold them at craft shows and small shops in the Philadelphia area.
“A scrap of fabric, part of my mother’s old fur coat, some hair from the kids, a coat hanger, some plaster and paint. The first ones were made with simple things that I had around the house. I dressed them in plaids and made them cheerfully singing because that reminded me of Christmas,” Joyce states on the Byers’ Choice website.
As the figurines gained popularity, the business grew. Joyce and her husband Bob Byers Sr. started Byers’ Choice Ltd., which now employs about 120 artisans and has become one of the largest Christmas handcraft companies in the country.
Joyce Byers still designs all of the Carolers herself, with designs now reflecting many holidays throughout the year. Jeff and Bob Byers, her two sons, are actively involved in running the business. Each year, the visitor center attracts over 70,000 people, and special events frequently attract 3,000-5,000 attendees.
Over the years, the Byers family has been honored for their support of the crafts industry, their philanthropy and their local and regional business leadership.
For more information about Byers’ Choice Ltd., their holiday events or to order Carolers, visit www.byerschoice.com.
This holiday exhibit is made possible by the generous sponsorship of long-time College supporter and philanthropist Alma R. Jacobs, an Emeritus Foundation Board Member and Honorary Alumna. Over the years, Alma has been an avid supporter of the arts and art galleries at the College.
For more information about the exhibition, contact Montgomery County Community College Galleries Director Holly Cairns at 215-619-7349 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help support the arts and art education programs at Montgomery County Community College by becoming a Friend of The Galleries. Donations are tax deductible. For more information, contact the College Foundation at 215-641-6535.
Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed weekends, except for Nov. 13.