West Reading Avenues Spring 2022

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Greater Reading’s hub for arts, shopping and entertainment Spring 2022

31st Annual Berks Jazz Fest April 1-10 featuring The Hot Club of Reading


The Talk of the Town

e n e c S t r Spring A

Visit our new website!



Table of Contents CONTACT INFORMATION Publisher, Tracy Hoffmann Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc. Design, Kim Lewis 2669 Shillington Road, #438 Sinking Spring, PA 19608 HoffmannPublishing.com 610.685.0914 Avenues@HoffPubs.com

ADVERTISING Alicia Lee 610.685.0914 ext. 210 Alicia@HoffPubs.com

BOROUGH BUSINESS West Reading Borough 500 Chestnut Street West Reading, PA 19611 WestReadingBorough.com 610.374.8273

WEST READING MAINSTREET PROGRAM West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation 20 N. 6th Avenue, 2nd Floor West Reading, PA 19611 VisitWestReading.org 610.685.8854 View the Digital Version of West Reading Avenues online at aves.hoffmannpublishing.com. The opinions expressed in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced electronically or in print without the express written permission of the publisher. West Reading Avenues is published quarterly {Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter}.

In Every Issue 3

Letter from the Manager

In the Know & On the Go 4

New and Improved, plus Celebrating Business Anniversaries!

West Reading Peeps 8

Meet Monisha Knight of Hot Yoga West Reading

Spread the Word: #WestRdgAve

28 Star-Studded Lineup for 2022 Fest April 1st – 10th

Arts & Culture in the Community

34 Spring Art Scene - What’s popping up at Art Plus Gallery 36 Spring Iron Pour and Forge Festival 38 Dinosaurs & REAL BODIES


The Talk of the Town

40 Event Calendar 42 5th Annual Ice N’ Spice Festival Recap 43 West Reading Craft Pretzel & Beer Fest 43 74th Annual Armed Forces Day Parade 44 West Reading Farmers Market 44 2nd Friday 45 Plein Air West Reading 2022

In the Community


12 Danny DeCarlo, IA Club 14 Alison Pakradooni, Be Mine Boutique 14 Amanda Alger, Dressed in Love Bridal Suite 15 Tod Auman, Dundore & Heister 16 Cherie Slusser, United Artists Salon & Spa 16 Caroline Hill, Van Scoy Jewelers

18 Hospitals Across the Country Facing Critical Shortage of Blood 20 Changing Views: Bell Tower Salon Spa 22 The Art Room - It’s All About the Experience

Eat Drink & Live Find Us On:

Berks Jazz Fest

25 Dining Destinations 26 More Than A Bar!

Hot jazz is hot these days, and several Reading-area kindred musical spirits are seizing the moment. Guitarist Josh Taylor has teamed with his son Josiah on guitar, bassist Trey LaRue, Chris Heslop on sax, clarinet, and washboard, and jack-of-alltrades Ken Gehret to form an ensemble called Hot Club of Reading. See them at the 31st Berks Jazz Fest. Pictured (l to r); Trey LaRue, Chris Heslop, Josh Taylor. Cover Photo: Fadi Acra



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Avenues Spring 2022

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Letter from the Manager

The WEST of 2022 by Mark Ratcliffe, Main Street Manager, West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation The West of 2022. A big part of West Reading’s rebranding was understanding what our strengths are. They are Arts, Entertainment and Health. These are the strengths of our Main Street and what we look to build upon as we look to grow this year and beyond. We are excited to expand our public arts this year with more murals helping to connect Penn Ave with our mural corridors. We will also look to do more than just murals and live music. Public art can be sculptures, light displays, interactive art, and various types of performance art. Art helps bring our Avenue to life even when our shops are closed. We will continue to support and grow our health-oriented businesses working closer with the Reading Hospital and the businesses that support the hospital along with our restaurants, farmers market and added safety measures to help grow a healthier community. You will see more events in 2022 that will continue to include 2nd Fridays and our Farmers Market. We will be adding another restaurant week, a bridal walk, a farm to table dine out and some more wine, beer and liquor strolls. Speaking of Restaurant Week, we kicked off the year with a new Restaurant Week in mid-January followed by Ice and Spice hosted by the West Reading Tavern.

When visiting our merchants tell them you saw West Reading Avenues magazine!

Find Your Dream Home!

These wintertime events draw a great crowd with creative prefix menus, hot spiced drinks, and world class ice carvers. February brought Galantines Day on the Saturday before Valentine’s Day. West Reading Fashion Week is back for a fun interactive event early March. Jazz Fest is also in March then on to our Craft Pretzel & Beer Fest on April 23rd, a Bridal Walk in May all leading up to Plein Air and Art on the Ave in June. That is a lot, but that is only the first half of the year. We will also have a few smaller events sprinkled in to round out West Reading’s Spring and Summer events. All in all, this will be an exciting year in West Reading, so get ready to enjoy more art, live a little healthier and have a lot more fun! visitwestreading.org


In the Know & On the Go New and Improved, plus Celebrating Business Anniversaries! If you’re opening a new Avenues business, celebrating a business anniversary, or want to showcase something new, please email us at Avenues@hoffpubs.com.


Fox + Fern Collective

West Reading Mayor Samantha Kaag welcomed new owners and best friends, Shelby and Sabrina, with a Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on January 14th. The salon specializes in balayage, color corrections, livedin color, and bridal services.

ROG is moving their Wyomissing office four blocks down to 840 Penn Avenue. The new location provides 42 parking spaces and will be handicapped ADA compliant and accessible. The office will be right across the street from the new Wawa at the corner of Park Avenue and Penn Avenue. Stay tuned!

442 Penn Avenue, West Reading (610) 816-5918 foxandferncollective22@gmail.com

840 Penn Avenue, Wyomissing (future location) 610-374-4097 braces@fantasticsmiles.com www.fantasticsmiles.com


The Gem on Penn

IA Club

Owner Danny DeCarlo took on a rebranding and interior renovation project that brings the club to a more exclusive level for its members. See our interview on Page 12 in our The Talk of the Town feature.

243 Chestnut Street, West Reading IAClub712@yahoo.com HOME | The Italian American (wixsite.com)


Niko Kaltsas, the new owner of Mazi, was a young Greek who grew up in the restaurant business and now looks to take Mazi to the next level. He has a background in breakfast and lunch and has decided to trade in the early mornings for late nights. Niko loves to meet new people, so don’t be shy and stop by for dinner and say hello.

614 Penn Ave, West Reading (610) 396-5143 www.mazigreek.com


ROG Orthodontics

Avenues Spring 2022

The Gem on Penn offers crystals, gemstones, jewelry, incense, art & much more at extremely affordable pricing. We are moving down the block from 611 Penn Avenue to 635 Penn Avenue in West Reading and we plan to open the larger location early March. In this new space, we will be able to provide a larger selection of merchandise, offer a wide array of classes and workshops, host private events/parties and have space for other small businesses to vend within our walls. 635 Penn Avenue, West Reading 610-927-5402 thegemonpenn@gmail.com

428 Penn Ave Notes

Turnberry Construction Group’s latest commercial project is at 428 Penn Ave. The 3-story building will feature a first-floor restaurant called Nōōdl, a fast casual ramen shop in partnership with established West Reading restaurateur Adam Cocuzza and chef Jeremy Nolen. The 2nd and 3rd floors boast two separate executive apartments, designed with contemporary styling and custom cabinetry, a wet bar, walkin closets, laundry, and off-street parking.

The 3rd floor executive apartment will feature a spiral staircase, accessing a private rooftop deck, with amazing views of the Pagoda, Fire Tower and Penn Avenue.

Kevin on Nōōdl:

“We’re really excited to start this new adventure with the ramen restaurant, a concept I truly believe Berks County will love.” On the building, located on a small footrprint/driveway, in between several existing buildings in the 400 block : “It’s been a really cool opportunity to build such a unique property in a rather tight space,” said Kozo, “and the process of working with the West Reading Borough, talented architects, engineers, and tradesmen has helped this project come to life. It’s been a smooth process!” For more information, contact Turnberry Construction Group at 610 775 7575 or info@turnberryconstructiongroup.com.

BUSINESS ANNIVERSARIES! Encrypted Escape Room held its four-year anniversary on November 30th, 2021. 600 Penn Ave, West Reading Lilibea’s “an intimate place for intimates,” celebrates its

thirteen-year anniversary on March 15th, 2022. 613 Penn Avenue, West Reading

Regina’s Salon held its six-year anniversary on November 30th, 2021. 518 Penn Avenue, West Reading Snazzy Beauty Boutique celebrated its first anniversary on December 12, 2021. 408 Penn Avenue, West Reading The Celtic Myth and Moonlight gift shop holds its 19th anniversary in West Reading on March 17th, 2022. 641 Penn Avenue, West Reading United Artists Salon and Spa is in business for over

three decades, at 35 years on February 1st, 2022. 299 Penn Avenue, West Reading

Muddy Creek Soap Company celebrated

six years in business this February. 608 Penn Avenue, West Reading

Serenity Boutique celebrated 1 year in business. 720 Penn Avenue, West Reading The Art Room celebrated 1 year in business. 633 Penn Avenue, West Reading

Swerl Designs celebrated 1 year in business. 438 Penn Avenue, West Reading visitwestreading.org


West Reading Map READING




Avenues Spring 2022

































Peter specializes in customer service. Whether listing or selling residential or commercial real estate, Peter is dedicated to helping his clients. His personal attention to every aspect of the business has garnered him more than 200 five-out-of-five Gold Star independent reviews. “Pete Heim is the absolute best at what he does. His integrity and positivity come through in every conversation with him. We have worked with Pete many times over the past 20 years and we still laugh about our first meeting. I’ve recommended Pete to other friends and family over the years and would continue to do so. He truly has your best interests at heart. I am blessed to have him as my realtor and friend.” ~Bev L. “Can’t say enough positive things about working with Pete. His reputation is outstanding and earned the old fashion way. Honest, caring, smart, communicative, and client focused.” ~Steve M. “Pete is top notch! His level of expertise & customer service is hard to beat. I’ve worked with him for many years & will definitely call him again. Thanks for a successful sale!!” ~Laura D.

Peter K. Heim, CRS,GRI Buying or selling a home is one of life’s biggest decisions, and having Peter Heim by your side to help you navigate through the multiple steps of the transaction is key. Born and raised in Berks County, Peter is an award-winning Real Estate Broker with more than 35 years of experience. His knowledge of the area and the Berks County real estate market is a huge asset. Consistently one of the top agents in Berks, this seasoned professional brings his hardworking yet fun personality to every interaction to do the best job for you.


office: 610-898-1441 cell: 610-745-3378 email: pheim@kw.com www.peterheimrealtor.com

“Now more than ever HOME is important!”

West Reading Peeps

Just An Earth Guide... Meet Monisha Knight of Hot Yoga West Reading By Denise Drobnick


or Monisha Knight, becoming the owner of Hot Yoga West Reading, 120 S 3rd Ave, on November 15, 2021 was the realization of an intention set the year before – during a pandemic, no less – and the culmination of a lifetime journey. But it was just the beginning for this business owner, mother, budding community activist, nurse, yogi, and “earth guide.” Let’s get to know her better…

Born in Red Bank, NJ, Monisha Jefferson was the eldest of 7 children. The family moved around quite a bit, with a mother who struggled with drug addiction and at times found herself incarcerated. Monisha was pulled in and out of schools so frequently, that some of them didn’t want to take her back. Although Monisha said that like most kids, she just wanted her mom no matter what, there was instability and uncertainty in her everyday life. Around age 7 or 8, she remembers seeing 8

Avenues Spring 2022

people hurting other people on the news and asking, “God, why am I here?” She felt a sense of not belonging anywhere, and felt confused when people told her she resembled her mother. Around this same time, Monisha was molested by her mother’s boyfriend, and she and her younger sister, Aja, were sent to live with their great grandmother in Middletown, NJ. Great grandma Mary Louise was a nurse and a fiercely independent woman who taught the girls that they needed to be self-reliant and not count on others to take care of them. She ran her home like a boarding house, often taking in other senior citizens in need of care. There were animals – goats, lambs, geese, rabbits and dogs – and Monisha developed a love of the outdoors and nature. There were also rules, such as if you missed church on Sunday, you lost your privileges for the week. There was stability here, and Monisha took in all the lessons her great

grandmother offered – maybe to a fault. But as her great grandmother got older, it was difficult for her to take care of 2 young girls. When she was 76, and Monisha and her sister were 12 and 11 respectively, Monisha would call her 26-year-old Aunt Delissa in Texas crying. One day, Aunt Delissa showed up to take the girls to live in New York City, and although they lived in Manhattan at first, Monisha said eventually she lived in “all the boroughs.” The girls attended Catholic school, and Monisha graduated from Bishop Loughlin High School in Brooklyn and was accepted to NYU as a secondary English education major. At 18 she married her high school sweetheart, Jamel Knight, and by 19 they had their first child, Jacquel. He was a preemie born at 26 weeks, and although Monisha remained at NYU for 1 ½ years, it was a challenge for a young mother of a child with developmental delays. She decided to transfer to a less rigorous program at the College of New Rochelle, where she majored in childhood education and psychology. When Jacquel was one, his sister, Tien, was born. As a mother, Monisha was consumed with giving the appearance of “raising her kids right,” but at home her style was open and free. Her studies in child psychology played a role, as she tried concepts like “coming down to a child’s level” – complete with furniture at ground level – and allowing her children to finger paint on the walls to spur creativity (and perhaps not coincidentally, Tien, now 25, is an artist living in California). By the time Jacquel was 5, Monisha was working for a British-based investment bank in NYC. While their friends were sending their children to expensive private schools, Catholic school was more within budget for Monisha and Jamel. When they realized the school was unable to provide the services Jacquel needed, they placed him in public school and soon packed up and moved to Allentown, PA for better public schools. While there, two more children came along – daughter, Daia, in 2003, and son, Calel, in 2005. Once the family had

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Join us for an In-Person Presentation to learn about admissions, financial aid, and student services. In addition, faculty will present information on the following programs: Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Emergency Medical Services, Nursing, Medical Imaging, and Surgical Technology. WHEN: Wednesday, March 16, 6 p.m. Saturday, April 23, 10 a.m.

Scan QR code to learn more about admissions at Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences or visit: RHSchoolofHealthSciences.org

INFO: To register or learn more: • call 484-628-0100, or • email RHSHS@towerhealth.org, or • visit Reading.TowerHealth.org/discover

WHERE: Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences GPS address: 600 Museum Road, Reading

Health and Safety Measures COVID-19 guidelines apply to all events. Masks are required at all times within the building. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or are not feeling well, please stay home. If circumstances do not allow us to hold the event in person, we will change the venue to a virtual format and inform all registrants.

grown to four children, they wanted to get out of the city so moved again – this time to Macungie. Monisha’s thoughts turned back to career – what did she really want to be? She had thought she would be so many things…a philanthropist, a teacher, an investment banker, a lawyer even…but suddenly she realized she was meant to become a nurse, just like her great grandmother. She remembers a conversation with her husband at this time in which he remarked whatever she decided to do, she needed to finish it this time! The

comment re-ignited her belief that she needed to be self-sufficient and not dependent on anybody, especially a man. She was accepted to the Reading Hospital School of Nursing, a program that offered training and clinicals all in one location and on-site daycare. By 2010 the family moved to Sinking Spring and Monisha graduated in 2012. Finally – as a nurse – she felt completely like herself. Soon she would make a discovery that would further change her path: hot yoga. Continued on next page visitwestreading.org


West Reading Peeps

While working at Phoebe Berks in 2013, she met Dr. Ann Marie Lago who told her about hot yoga and invited her to a class. Monisha had to exit the hot room TWICE and left the studio feeling devastated. On top of that, Jamel said that meant her mind was weak. Well, that was it; she went back and completed a 30-day challenge (meaning a 90-minute class every day for 30 days in a row) and lost 17 pounds. She loved the heat and continued to practice, wanting to learn more. She decided to take yoga teacher training with the late Pam Guido, beloved teacher at the former Shri Yoga and Wellness Center, and an evolution began. Even after the 200-hour training, her old insecurities crept in and she found herself feeling somehow “unequal.” Her answer was to further her training – once traveling with previous HYWR owner, the late Joel Pier, to a yoga retreat in Argentina and also attending yoga trapeze training in Barcelona – all in an effort to reset, heal spiritually, develop loving awareness, and discover her divine self. Yoga was like fresh air on a foggy mirror, allowing Monisha to really see herself. By mid-2020, Monisha found herself on Penn Avenue buying two Tibetan prints from a street vendor and setting a vague intention that one day they would occupy her future yoga studio. At this point she had been teaching for Joel, and he shared that he would like to retire soon. They made a “soul agreement” in October 2020 that she would take over when it was time. Now, as the new owner of HYWR, her primary goal is to let 10

Avenues Spring 2022

the community know the studio is not going away! She plans to cultivate joy, inspire a team of instructors who love to teach, and provide more community-inclusive events. Half price classes are back, allowing people to easily give hot yoga a try. She would like to eventually create a non-profit to bring yoga, and all its mental health benefits, to those who may not have access to a traditional studio. Monisha has come a long way on her journey, with the help of many strong mother figures along the way. She has made peace with her own mother (who is now sober and a social worker), her now ex-husband (with whom she is great friends), and even her father (whom she only met in 4th grade but is now happily in her life as grandfather to her children). She has “unlearned” and “unpacked” much to let people in and accept help when needed; we are a community after all. She doesn’t want to be emulated, though; she is just an earth guide who believes things will work out. With an abundance of love, there is no end…

e t s a m Na

31 S T A N N U A L




NAJEE with special guests BOBBY LYLE, CHRIS WALKER








presented by


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Tickets on sale NOW at berksjazzfest.com PROUD SPONSOR OF BOSCOV’S BERKS JAZZ FEST

Talk of the Town

The Talk of the Town –

Danny DeCarlo, IA Club By Karen L. Chandler

Photo Credit: Wayne Becker, Dave Zerbe Studio of Photography


he new year brought a new start to the Italian American Club. Daniel DeCarlo, Jr., the President and Head Steward and great-grandson of founder Donato Ciervo, is rebranding and reimagining the historic spot to connect with the community, welcome members of all nationalities into an exclusive atmosphere, and spread the love of friends and family as the original members intended.

WRA: The Italian American Club has quite a history. Will you fill us in? Danny: The club started in 1935 with a whole lot of Italian families who got together to start a club because, before the club, they would go from house to house and have a get-together. As families grew, it wasn’t feasible to be in people’s homes and they wanted a club where they could gather. WRA: When did you first become involved and how did that evolve? Danny: I was asked to become a board member probably when I was 21 and I was just a helper for all those years. I got more involved with the past president, my cousin, Albert Ciervo, helping out with the club. Three years ago, Albert moved to Philadelphia, and I took over the presidency so the club could go on. The club was looking at being closed when Albert left. WRA: Despite the popularity of the club, did you think it needed to change with the times? Danny: It did. It went back and forth over the years. There were many years where it was treated as almost like a fire company type of drinking atmosphere. When Albert took 12

Avenues Spring 2022

over, he made it more of an exclusive club but it went back for a short period of time to not being exclusive. We are bringing it back to exclusive again. WRA: How are you making that happen and how will it affect your customers? Danny: Now we have an application for membership in place which we didn’t have before, increased membership fees, and corporate memberships. We have Jessica Prutzman and J Prutzman Enterprises to help us with the rebranding and interior design that had to happen in the club to make it that exclusive spot. We put a granite bar top in, reupholstered furniture, painted, and added new lighting to bring it up to date. The second floor was never utilized before. It just became a storage facility, so we cleaned it out, refurbished hardwood floors, and I had a local artist, Tim Riegel, paint murals in one of the two rooms. It is a usable space that I can use for overflow on busy weekends where people can go and relax or use for great, secluded private parties. We have electronic access cards for members who used to just buzz to get into the club. That makes it become more exclusive and makes it part of ownership. We have a new logo and a website. We’ll be putting member profiles on our website blog so people can read about who is coming to the club. WRA: What are some of your favorite menu items? Danny: We have a new cocktail menu, with the help of Jim Keller of Go Fish, and we named it after some of the local and national mobsters just to keep it interesting. Two of

Photo Credit: Wayne Becker, Dave Zerbe Studio of Photography

those options are the Carlo Gambino, a mix of Johnny Walker Black and Amaretto, and the Tony Moran with fig-infused Jim Beam Bourbon, Cocchi Americano, and Averne Amaro. We were mostly a beer and liquor place and now we’re getting into wines. And Cory Brodhead from The Hitching Post helped develop the wine list. I wanted to keep it local and Jim and Cory are both members. There will be a different hot item every day. We are known for our Italian sandwiches, homemade meatballs which can be colossal or normal size, and homemade marinara sauce. WRA: What is special about Italian cuisine? Danny: Italian cuisine is special because Italians’ whole lives revolve around food. The kitchen is a special place in the house and it’s the heartbeat of the home. It’s where everyone talks and where the young ones learn the recipes. Being Italian is talking about food, eating food, and everything is food. We all miss our grandmoms. WRA: Is that part of the atmosphere that keeps people coming to the club? Danny: I think so. It’s all about friends, family, and conversation, having a drink and eating. It’s an extension of the home. Years ago the club became home away from home. They spoke the Italian language here, which obviously is no longer the case. It was a place they had of their own and down through the years it’s still family and friends. WRA: What’s coming up as far as events? Danny: We just finished up New Year’s Eve which was really successful and Valentine’s Day with live music for two nights and homemade chocolate, whiskey, wine, and dessert pairings. Live music may be every few weeks and we are going to keep that local. WRA: As a restaurant owner, why was taking over at the IA Club important to you? Danny: My great-grandfather started it, and I was also close to my cousin, Albert, who was like a brother to me. He

wanted the club to go on and he tapped me on the shoulder and wanted me to take it on because I have a 28-year history in bartending and bar managing. He thought if anyone could do it, it would be me. WRA: How is a club run differently from a bar? Danny: It was different to learn how clubs work. There are by-laws that have to be followed. In the bar business, I had the final say in what happened, now with a club you have a board and every year there are elections. WRA: Will the club have an increased community presence? Danny: One of the reasons the club was started was to support charities. We are going to have more fundraising events to give back to the community. I have always been a big supporter of St. Jude’s Hospital: that’s near and dear to me. This past year we did two fundraisers for the Animal Rescue League, and there are always different people who need help. March’s fundraiser is to support the dancers from the Yocum Institute for Arts Education who are taking part in Dancing with the Stars. We are also offering food and beverage discounts to our first responders, seniors, veterans, and food and beverage workers. WRA: Why is your location in West Reading important to you? Danny: We don’t want to be considered an after-hours club. I’d like people to come to our club for a cocktail before or after eating dinner at our great local eateries. Near and dear to our hearts are club members at Mom Chaffee’s, Willoughby’s, Go Fish! Seafood Market & Sushi Bar, and West Reading Tavern. IA Club 243 Chestnut Street, West Reading IAClub712@yahoo.com Open seven days a week, 5:00 p.m. to 2 a.m. More Talk of Town Stories on Page 14.



Talk of the Town Our businesses are truly The Talk of the Town!

Meet more business owners in each issue as we learn about their passion for the services they provide for their customers and neighbors along the Avenue. to leave with. Most importantly, I want each individual to feel welcomed whether they make a purchase or they leave empty handed. WRA: What inspires you most about the services you provide? AP: What inspires me most is making others feel good about themselves and whether someone comes in and finds themselves a new outfit, a pair of earrings, or just finds someone to talk to for a few minutes to make their day better. Spreading love and kindness is what inspires me daily and giving back to the community through business is one of the best ways to do so.

Alison Pakradooni

Alison Pakradooni, Be Mine Boutique 637 Penn Avenue, West Reading 610-816-5360

WRA: When did you open your store? AP: I opened the store November 15th of 2019. WRA: Will you share how the boutique got its name? AP: The boutique was named Be Mine Boutique because I was born on Valentine’s Day and always had a love for the holiday and sharing acts of love in general, so when opening the store I wanted to welcome in all people and make them feel loved, like the holiday, but all year long. Our logo is actually modeled after the candy conversation hearts usually received on Valentine’s Day. WRA: How do you describe the feeling you want shoppers to have when they see the type of merchandise you choose to stock? AP: My goal for every individual that walks in the store is that they feel welcomed and when they see the merchandise I hope they see the range of styles and price points that makes it feel like anyone can walk in the store and find something 14

Avenues Spring 2022

WRA: If you could choose to spend a day working at another Avenue business, which would it be and why? AP: If I could choose to spend a day working at another Avenue business, I would have to say either Dressed in Love Bridal Suite, because I absolutely love weddings and the idea of seeing someone find the dress for their big day, or Simply Bold Café because I am not only a lover of coffee, but I love the atmosphere in their shop.

Amanda Alger, Dressed in Love Bridal Suite 639 Penn Avenue, West Reading 610-401-6949

WRA: When did you open your shop? AA: I opened my shop in September of 2020! I took over my building space on March 1 of 2020, but the pandemic took over and the whole world shut down! So I had to push off my opening until September, but that gave me ample time to create my space and make it perfect! WRA: Is there a favorite style of gown for your Avenuearea clients–modern, traditional? AA: We really pride ourselves on having a very unique selection of gowns! We have everything from traditional, to clean and sleek, to rustic, to sexy… we have a great relationship with all of the designers that we work with and really provide a wide variety of options for our brides.

Tod Auman, Dundore & Heister – Local, Pastured and Organic Meats 1331 Penn Avenue, Wyomissing 610-374-6328

Amanda Alger WRA: Are there still times you get emotional when you see brides try on their perfect gowns? AA: Absolutely! We have a lot of different family dynamics that we get in every single appointment. Each appointment brings something different whether we are dealing with a body insecurity, a missing family member who passed away and will not be a part of the wedding, financial hardships… all of those things play into our appointments, and it’s incredible what my team and I are able to provide to our brides despite these things. It’s very emotional for all involved when we are able to find a bride her “dream dress.” We usually celebrate with some Champagne and pass around the tissues!! WRA: What inspires you most about the services you provide? AA: My favorite part of this job is helping women to see themselves in a beautiful way. SO many of my brides (like almost all of us) have some sort of body insecurity–arms, stomach, legs, etc. –so the thought of dress shopping for most women can be scary and stressful. We aim to provide a stress free, comfortable shopping environment for all body types and brides! I love being able to get women outside of their comfort zone a little and get them into gowns that accent all of the best features of their bodies and to help make them feel beautiful inside and out! WRA: If you could choose to spend a day working at another Avenue business, which would it be and why? AA: Probably Ady Cakes!! I LOVE sweets–especially cupcakes– and Ady Cakes does cupcakes the best!! A fun hobby of mine is baking, so I feel like that would be a super fun job for a day!!

Tod Auman WRA: When did you open your store? TA: My wife and co-owner, Chrissy, and I opened the store in July 2014. WRA: How did you become passionate about continuing the traditions of local butchers? TA: I’m passionate about local history because we have such a wonderful heritage in our community and that’s a story that needs to be told. WRA: What are the nutritional differences in the meats you provide versus those in a chain grocery store? TA: The difference is that it all starts with healthy soil. All our farm partners are stewards of the land. Our friends at the Rodale Institute say healthy soil equals healthy animals equals healthy food equals healthy people. WRA: What inspires you most about your business? TA: We believe that when we share the story of our heritage that we help build our community. Food is one of the great unifiers. It’s something we can all agree upon and it’s a source of local pride. It brings everyone together and that’s what’s fun about what we do.



Talk of the Town WRA: If you could choose to spend a day working at another Avenue business, which would it be and why? TA: The great part about West Reading is the beautiful mix of different artisan retailers that make the corridor so vibrant and exciting. My daughter and wife really enjoy shopping at Be Mine Boutique because Ali is so friendly and it’s such a fun experience. Jeremy Nolen of Say Cheese! Restaurant & Cheese is a chef I really admire and it’s always a special occasion for us when we bring in donuts from Benchwarmers Coffee & Doughnuts because they are delicious and beautifully designed.

WRA: What made you choose the beauty industry? CS: I was interested in high school. I was fortunate to attend the Cosmetology program at the Berks County Vocational Technical School. WRA: With so many options available, what piece of advice would you offer someone who is looking for a new salon and spa? CS: Our loyal clientele is our greatest advertisement for our business. The relationships we have with our clientele is the key to the continued growth of our business. WRA: What inspires you most about the services you provide? CS: Our team inspires us to the services we provide. It is their willingness to learn and grow in the field of services they provide for our clientele. WRA: If you could choose to spend a day working at another Avenue business, which would it be and why? CS: It would be an honor to spend time with all the businesses. It would be an opportunity to learn more about what other businesses do day to day. As a small business owner, I truly believe we are all in this together!

Cherie Slusser

Cherie Slusser, United Artists Salon & Spa 299 Penn Avenue, West Reading 610-376-8481

WRA: When did your business open and when did you become the owner? CS: United Artists Salon & Spa began business in February 1987. We will be celebrating our 35th year in business this year. I am one of the original owners and currently the sole owner. Three former owners are currently still employed here.


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Caroline Hill, Van Scoy Jewelers 1121 Penn Avenue, Wyomissing 610-374-9330 WRA: When did your business open? CH: The business opened in 1978 and I joined the business in 1993 and became the sole owner in 2015. WRA: What is the most important piece of advice you can offer someone who is shopping for a quality diamond? CH: Shop from a trusted source. Check businesses’ reviews and ask friends about their experiences. Don’t be lured by “great prices” in on-line advertising. Make sure you have a good understanding of quality so you can make a confident decision. Do your homework, shop around and follow your gut instinct. Shop Local!

WRA: What is your favorite occasion to help a customer select jewelry? CH: Any occasion really. There is always a story behind every purchase. I especially love the milestone purchases. “My wife just gave birth” or “my spouse just earned their doctorate and I want to recognize that achievement.” My favorite, however, is for no reason at all–except to just show affection and love, the just because gift! WRA: What inspires you most about the services you provide? CH: We can custom create almost anything and when someone comes to us with an idea to create a unique one-of-a-kind piece it is very exciting to share the journey and experience with them.We have the knowledge, we have the tools and the expertise to make it a special piece and a fun experience. A customer will never get that in a mall store. That can only be achieved working with a small business. WRA: If you could choose to spend a day working at another Avenue business, which would it be and why? CH: I would love to tend bar in one of the local restaurants or pubs. As a consumer, I often like to sit at a bar to dine because you can connect with the bartender. As a bartender, it’s a great way to meet people. You are providing them with an experience that they came there for.

Caroline Hill







In the Community

Hospitals Across the Country Facing Critical Shortage of Blood Encourages Community to Donate to Local Blood Banks 18

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s blood centers across the US continue to face critical shortage of blood donations Tower Health hospitals, including Reading Hospital, are currently experiencing lower than normal blood inventory. The health system is encouraging the community to donate blood to their local blood banks to ensure all local hospitals have adequate supply. Individuals interested in donating can schedule appointments at Miller-Keystone Blood Center or the American Red Cross.

“Blood donation is a real example of how it takes everyone to support the health of the community,” said P. Sue Perrotty, President and CEO at Tower Health. “I encourage all eligible individuals to consider donating to their local blood bank so that, together, we can ensure the ongoing health and safety of our friends, family, and neighbors. One generous donor has the potential to save up to three lives.”

In December 2021 the team at Tower Health transfused 1,372 life-saving blood products. The most common need for blood transfusions includes cancer patients who may need one to two units per week, sickle cell anemia patients can receive six or more units per month, and trauma patients who may need 12 to 60 units of blood because of their injuries. The health system also supports NICU babies with transfusions of O negative red blood cells whose donors must meet special criteria. “Miller Keystone Blood Center is the primary blood supplier for Reading Hospital, and we thank them for their ongoing efforts to collect and provide life-saving blood products for our patients,” said Therese Sucher, Interim President and CEO at Reading Hospital and Tower Health Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “I’d also like to thank the individuals who generously donate blood for those in need in our community. Blood donations are essential for our critically ill and injured patients.” “January is National Blood Donor Month and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the blood donors out there for their generosity and commitment to saving lives,” said Rami Nemeh, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Miller-Keystone Blood Center. “I would also like to encourage every individual who has never donated before to visit our website GIVEAPINT.ORG to find out if they are eligible to donate the gift of life and make an appointment to do so. Every two seconds someone is in desperate need of a blood transfusion. Since the demand for blood is high and the supply is low; we need everyone’s help to donate blood. The need for blood does not take a break during a pandemic, our local hospitals are in dire need for blood products to treat our community patients.” Eligible donors must be at least 16 years of age and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds. Individuals are eligible to donate whole blood every 56 days.



Serving Berks County Since 1971 cocaberks.org | (610) 376-8669 COCA is designated by the County Commissioners as the Single County Authority (SCA) for Berks and serves as the coordinating agency for publicly supported drug and alcohol programming.



In the Community Changing Views Bell Tower Salon Spa For over 30 years Bell Tower Salon Spa has been a beauty and wellness destination in Berks County, offering a range of services including hair, massage, skin and body care. The pandemic changed the way many businesses operate, including Bell Tower. Carolyn Helms, Bell Tower’s founder and owner, recognized that it also changed the way people viewed self-care. As she prepared to launch her new lifestyle brand, RHELM, Carolyn recruited and expanded management staffing to operate the salon/spa and refresh the iconic location. The larger mission is to ensure that every single guest walks out of Bell Tower feeling valued, relaxed, and rejuvenated. The vision behind the revamp of Bell Tower was Chuck Saylor, now the new Brand Director. A Philadelphia native, Chuck spent the last 35 years managing high-end luxury brands while focusing


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on building relationships with customers. Formerly the Regional Director at Anthropologie, his experience of catering to high-profile customers allows him to understand the Bell Tower guests and their needs. His passion for creating memorable experiences has already begun to redefine the relationship between Bell Tower and its guests. Since Chuck joined the brand, he has focused on restructuring the team to ensure the right people are in the right place to support the Bell Tower mission and objectives.

Jess Kosaric is our Marketing Manager. She’s been with Bell Tower since the start of the pandemic in 2020 and joined the team after a 15-year marketing and digital media career in New York City. Her primary focus is communicating with guests and building relationships around the Bell Tower experience. As the voice behind the Bell Tower social media accounts, she connects and collaborates with businesses to create relationships that leave unforgettable memories.

The new Salon Brand Leader, Lindsay Gumby, has been a Master Stylist at Bell Tower for over two decades and takes pride in being an educator and trainer to her fellow hairstylists. Lindsay holds the key to the brand image that has been years in the making. She understands her team’s passion. She has already brought significant changes, including an environmentally conscious haircare line, reintroduction of a monthly training curriculum, and creation of an individualized education program for stylists-in-training. The new Spa Brand Leader, Erin Healey, joined Bell Tower in 2021. She brings 15 years of beauty industry experience in a variety of roles both in and out of the treatment room, including licensed beauty instructor and skincare brand educator. As the Spa Leader, she has reintroduced a favorite guest product to

the skincare and massage departments, expanded the spa team, and launched Reiki sessions for holistic wellness.

Tower team are focused on servicing their regular guests and welcoming new customers.

The new Retail Brand Leader, Lilly Vega, brings a natural approach to guest engagement at the Front Desk. With a background in hospitality, she personalizes every guest’s experience and uses this opportunity to put a smile on their face. In her new role, Lilly has built a strong team that understands the core value of the Bell Tower mission. Her focus has been to select the right retail products that speak to the guests while always remaining fresh and inviting.

18 State Hill Road Wyomissing, PA 19610 610-372-6379 belltower@belltowersalonspa.com @belltowersalonspa RHELM Rhelm.com @intherhelm

Bell Tower Salon Spa was founded on the premise that the Berks County community would have a place to go where they could feel good, look great and have an experience unmatched in the beauty industry. Chuck and the Bell

Join The Newly Renovated IA Club 243 Chestnut Street West Reading, PA 19611 610-373-2323 Sunday - Thursday 8pm-2am Friday & Saturday 5pm-2am Follow us on or for Featu Featured Specials and Live Music and Event Schedule 2022 Membership Available

20% OFF any package. Not valid on introductory month.

610-914-2659 • www.bikramyogawestreading.com 120 S 3rd Ave. West Reading, PA 19611 visitwestreading.org


In the Community

It’s All About the Experience By Karen L. Chandler


rian Adams believes The Art Room is a missing piece of the puzzle in West Reading. Despite the borough being filled with food, drinks, and a multitude of businesses, his passion is to bring the joy of creativity to everyone who lives in, works in, or visits the area.

“I thought something like this would give people more of a quality of living,” Adams said. “You need a place where you can sit and express yourself.” After a decade spent in the high pressure and frequently superficial life of an executive shopper at Bloomingdales, Adams chose to make a drastic life change by engaging his creativity and making people feel better about themselves through art. The Governor Mifflin grad moved to West Reading about two years ago and opened The Art Room in February of 2021. Entering Adams’ shop means an explosion of color meets the eye, with projects created by Adams available for purchase, in 22

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addition to original paintings in the front “Wow” room by both Adams and Louise Candelaria, co-owner of Penn Avenue’s Finch + Fern. Special to the main work room space are paintings on display for inspiration and purchase by local artist Charles Fick, an indication of Adams’ New Year focus on working with and encouraging people with disabilities to create art. On the exterior wall adjacent to the shop, Adams has invited people who live or work in West Reading to paint murals, but he reserved about thirty more feet for his customers to “do their own thing.” Adams credits his passion for his craft to family tradition. “My mom was heavily into painting ceramics. It’s a sentimental thing,” he said. “It’s all about my family and tradition. It’s a way to make memories.”

Bringing his high-end retail background to his business means that Adams has focused on specialty ceramics, using molds to create customers’ projects that are mostly all one-of-a-kind, with some molds dating back to 1945. Adams said, “No one will ever have these. They’re special.” The ever-popular vintage ceramic Christmas trees went gangbusters at The Art Room over the Christmas holiday. Customer demand added up to over one hundred trees poured into true vintage ceramic molds, heading out for special gifts and decorations. Expecting the craze to continue will bring trees painted for other holidays, accompanied by everyone’s favorite gnomes, created for everything from St. Patrick’s Day to Halloween. And Adams pours each item into molds himself, a cumbersome process of mixing the liquid clay, pouring it into one of his many molds, and allowing for several days of drying, sanding, and firing time. The colors and textures customers can choose to apply to their projects are housed in the back room, or Paint Palace, in little pots of high-quality paint that create a big array of applications to look like anything ranging from native pottery to Italian glass. “I have the biggest paint selection ever. It’s so crazy. Glaze looks gray or black and turns color in firing. You just paint it on and people wouldn’t believe you made it,” Adams said. Customers to The Art Room can walk right in on a day they need a little dose of creativity and self-expression, but parties up to 30 guests of all ages can gather in the WOW room overlooking Penn Avenue, with reservations recommended for five or more participants in a gathering. A growing trend is for brides-to-be to pick out molds for dishes, mugs, or décor for their new homes and bring in their bachelorette party or bridal shower to create every piece custom. Projects need not just be ceramics since Adams offers wooden options like trinket boxes and signs, small decorative mirrors that only require frames to be designed, and canvas painting which can include a pour and paint technique guided by Adams. Always thinking of his fellow West Reading business owners, Adams continues to hold collaboration events as varied as a cake decorating demonstration by Ady’s Cakes, followed up by participants creating their own covered cake dish, a makeup tutorial by Tina’s Salon where attendees painted their own makeup brush holders, and a glass painting project with Chatty Monks for customers to decorate glasses adorned with both The Continued on next page visitwestreading.org


In the Community Art Room and Chatty Monks logos that can be returned to Chatty Monks for free French fries. New and different collaborations are in the works, including projects with neighbors like The Gem on Penn, Bella Jules, and Winedown Café. “I want everyone to cross-reference and understand all our stores,” Adams said. Upcoming at The Art Room is more focus on outside space with an outdoor pottery room on its way to add to the tents, tables, and photo opps all ready to go for warm months. No matter the project or a customer’s level of artistic ability, Adams just wants everyone to relax and experience the peacefulness of self-expression, alone or with friends. The Art Room - 633 Penn Avenue, West Reading 610-898-4369 Hours: Wednesdays, 12:00 to 6:00 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Sundays, 12:00 to 5:00 p.m.


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“The Art Room is all about the experience,” Adams said. “I really want people to come in here and hang out.”

Eat Drink & Live Dining Destinations Searching For Your Jam? If you’re looking for diversity in food and drinks before, during or after a show, or just a break to spice up weekly routines, visit us in the West Reading Corridor. We have something for almost everyone, from foods across the globe, to exotic drinks and over 800 varieties of domestic and craft beers. IRELAND Ugly Oyster Draft Haus

LATIN INSPIRED Mi Casa Su Casa -Soul Cuisine

CHINA Chen Vegetarian House Great Wall

CARIBBEAN Mecca Caribbean & Soul Food

VIETNAM Van’s Café Lang THAILAND Spoonful Thai Bistro JAPANESE Hawaii Kitchen (Hawaiian/Asian fusion) ITALY Nonno Alby’s Georgio’s GNA Mom Chaffe’s Cellarette Panevino Tony’s of West Reading FRANCE Taste of Crepes MEXICO Comalli Taqueria Let’s Taco Bout It - Mexico La Abuela - Mexico

LEBANESE & MEDITERRANEAN Aladdin Restaurant Judy’s on Cherry (inspired) Mazi Greek Cuisine DOMINICAN La Casa del Chimi Restaurant JAMAICAN HOJD : House of Jerk Dread Cherry’s Jamaican Delight And, of course, Great American 3rd & Spruce Drafthaus Ady Cakes American Diner Barley Mow Beer Wall on Penn Benchwarmer’s Coffee & Doughnuts B2 Bistro Brewer’s Bar & Grill Building 24 Kitchen & Bar

Chatty Monks Cheers’ American Bistro Chef Alan’s American Bistro Chicken Supreme & Sammy’s Steaks The Farmhouse Kitchen Jimmie Kramer’s Peanut Bar Nitro Bar Say Cheese Simply Bold SlyFox Taphouse Speckled Hen Cottage & Ale House Sweet Ride Ice Cream West Reading Tavern & Restaurant Willoughby’s on Park Winedown Café & Bar The Works American Restaurant & Bar Wyomissing Family Restaurant



Eat Drink & Live

More Than A Bar! By Allison Favila


hen Kacie and Chris Griffith met (“forever ago,” as she described it), they always knew they wanted to work together in the hospitality industry, although they weren’t exactly sure what form it would take. As they worked together at a bar, traveled, and soaked up knowledge about spirits and cocktails, their vision became clear.

In late 2019, they dove into obtaining licenses and finding the perfect location. After what Kacie described as a “series of fortunate events,” they found and were able to occupy the former bakery space at 713 Penn Avenue. They poured themselves into renovating the space, painting it the same colors they love in their own house, and installing beautiful plants and pillows and chairs – it truly feels like a cozy home. The Bar Cart’s specialty is the craft cocktail. Each one is made with a Pennsylvania spirit, and they update the list every week, focusing on local agriculture and highlighting the uniqueness of local liquor brands. In the spirit of putting a local or personal twist on the classics, each week’s menu includes a modified Old Fashioned. They have a beautiful selection of bitters that they 26

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also expertly use in many of their delicious creations. Foodies love chic, modern restaurants, and The Bar Cart is the equivalent place for cocktail lovers. But if craft cocktails aren’t your thing, they offer other PA products as well! Their cider comes from a fifth-generation farming family in Gettysburg, who approach their cider making almost like winemakers, experimenting with apple blends and pressing everything fresh. The wine at the Cart is from Stony Run, who grows their fruit in PA and pours lots of love into their products. There is also a rotating, local beer selection from small PA breweries – stop in, check out the current list, and ask the bartenders about it! Besides being able to drink some amazing PA spirits and beautifully crafted cocktails, one of the things that sets The Bar Cart apart is that it’s also a bottle shop. You can purchase the PA brands used in the drinks, including Kinsey whiskeys, Revivalist gin, Manatawny Still Works, and many more. If you love a cocktail, the staff will happily jot down the recipe, show you how to make it, and help you purchase the spirits and

bitters needed (then you can make it at home, snap a photo, and post it to let them know you are enjoying their recipes)! Another thing that sets The Bar Cart apart is their amazing events. Because the owners are passionate about education, they have brought in brand reps and master distillers to conduct tastings and “talk nerdy about whiskey” (kind of a perfect night in my book!). They will happily talk to you in depth about your cocktail, from the types of barrels the liquor was aged in, to where the fruits or herbs came from, to what flavors the bitters will bring out. They are also doing pop-ups with local restaurants and local artists, and have been using the theme of the pop-up as inspiration for that week’s cocktail menu – for example, during a collaboration with Terrain Textures foraged art pieces, they infused gin with porcini mushrooms and created an umami sour! The Bar Cart already has a special place in my heart, and I can’t wait to see what they do next. To keep up with their cocktail menus, their exciting events, their opening hours, new products and merch, and yes, also with Kacie and Chris’s adorable dog Reggie, find them on Facebook (The Bar Cart PA) and Instagram (@thebarcart_pa). Cheers!

Serving Berks County since 1983

Title Transfers • Notary Drivers Licenses • Registrations Duplicate Titles • Restorations


734 Penn Avenue West Reading, PA 19611 610-372-9998 M-F 8:30am - 8pm • Sat 8am - 4:30pm visitwestreading.org


Jazz Fest

Star-Studded Lineup for 2022 Fest April 1st – 10th


he 31st annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest will begin its fourth decade with 10 days of celebration of jazz in all its manifestations, from blues to big band, from bebop to contemporary, from fusion to Latin.

The festival, presented by Berks Arts, will open with the traditional Harold B. Leifer Memorial Luncheon at the Peanut Bar Restaurant in downtown Reading, with The Groovemasters, featuring bassist Bennie Sims, keyboardist Cliff Starkey and saxophonist/ vocalist Erich Cawalla. Opening night will feature the renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with trumpeter/composer/director Wynton Marsalis at the Santander Performing Arts Center. Marsalis, who was a headliner at the inaugural Berks Jazz Fest, returned with the JALCO for the 20th and 25th anniversary festivals, and last performed in Reading in May 2021 with the JALCO Septet in one of the first live concerts in the area after Covid-19. His performance on April 1st is sure to be one of the fest highlights. Fest general manager John Ernesto said several special presentations – a staple of the annual fest — are planned for 2022, including “Celebrating the Women in Jazz,” featuring 28

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iconic vocalists Patti Austin and Maysa, on Saturday, April 9th, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading grand ballroom.

Austin will appear as part of the Chris “Big Dog” Davis-produced celebration of women in jazz concert, where she will share the stage with the amazing Maysa Leak. Both are known worldwide for their brilliant vocals, and both have careers that include national awards, top hits, and international touring. Appearing with them will be vocalists Selina Albright (Gerald’s daughter) and Lindsey Webster; saxophonist Jessy J; violinist Karen Briggs; flutist Althea Rene; and multi-instrumentalist Marcia Miget.

“When we approached Chris about producing the project, he simply said: ‘Love the idea. Let’s do it,’” Ernesto said. “Chris has done an amazing job producing special themed concerts for the fest. This year’s tribute to the music of Stevie Wonder was a huge hit with our fans. I have no doubt that the ‘Celebrating Women in Jazz’ concert will be a memorable music experience.” Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro will also make his Berks Jazz Fest debut with his band on April 9 at the Miller Center for the Arts bringing his signature rock-style shredding to the tiny instrument. The Japanese American, Hawaiian-born musician has explored a variety of musical styles, and his latest album, “Jake and Friends,” pairs him with an array of legendary

musicians, including Willie Nelson, Moon Taxi, Bette Midler, Kenny Loggins, Jimmy Buffett and more. Each Friday and Saturday at 11:30 p.m., fans can keep on partying with Gerald Veasley Jams in the DoubleTree small ballroom. And during the weekdays, the music will play on with special free community concerts and regional bands in more intimate venues.

“We are looking forward to having the fest return to its traditional spring schedule,” said Justin Heimbecker, Berks Arts executive director. “Having presented the twice postponed 30th anniversary fest last August, it is a quick-turnaround, but the entire Berks Jazz Fest team is ready to go again. “With a strong, diverse lineup of artists, appealing to a cross section of music fans, we are anticipating a successful fest.”


7:30 p.m. - The Grand Reopening Tour SCOTT BRADLEE’S POSTMODERN JUKEBOX Santander Performing Arts Center Ticket: $44.50 (Reserved Seating)

FRIDAY, MARCH 25 7:00 p.m. - Jazz on the Avenue: A Night of Brazilian Jazz MINAS presents BEATLES IN BOSA NOVA featuring ORLANDO HADDAD, PATRICIA KING with special guests ANDREW NEU, JOHN SWANA, plus JIM STAGER, TOM COHEN Yocum Institute for Arts Education, Tickets, Info: www.yocuminstitute.org or call (610) 376-1576

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30 7:00 p.m. - CD Release Concert ERICH CAWALLA: THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK featuring 26-PIECE BIG BAND & STRINGS, with special opening act, THE GOVERNOR MIFFLIN HIGH SCHOOL STATESMEN JAZZ ENSEMBLE Governor Mifflin Senior High School Auditorium Tickets $15 in advance / $20 at door) Info: www.erichcawalla.com or call 610-781-8312


11:30 a.m. - Harold B. Leifer Memorial Luncheon THE GROOVEMASTERS featuring BENNIE SIMS, CLIFF STARKEY, ERICH CAWALLA Peanut Bar Restaurant For Reservations, call 610-376-8500 www.peanutbar.com 7:00 p.m. - Opening Night Celebration JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRA with WYNTON MARSALIS Santander Performing Arts Center Tickets: $79, $69, $59 (Reserved Seating) 7:00 p.m. - ijazzglobal.com presents ERIC DARIUS featuring REBECCA JADE Miller Center for the Arts/Reading Area Community College (RACC) Tickets: $49 (Reserved Seating)

9:30 p.m. - Cheers Lounge Jazz Party AL “DJ ACT” TAYLOR DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Cheers Lounge Tickets: FREE 9:30 p.m. - ijazzglobal.com presents PETER WHITE & VINCENT INGALA with special guest MINDI ABAIR DoubleTree by Hilton Reading Grand Ballroom Tickets: $59 (Reserved Seating) 11:30 p.m. - GERALD VEASLEY’S JAM featuring ERIC DARIUS, JEFF KASHIWA, BRIAN BROMBERG, JJ SANSAVERINO, CHIELI MINUCCI, BOBBY LYLE, ANDREW NEU, ROB DEBOER, TONY GRACE, KAREN BRIGGS, DONALD ROBINSON, RICHARD WALLER and more DoubleTree by Hilton Reading Small Ballroom / Jazz Cruises Stage Tickets: $35 (General Admission)

7:30 p.m. - XPN Welcomes SELWYN BIRCHWOOD DoubleTree by Hilton Tickets: $39 (Reserved Seating)



jazz fest SATURDAY, APRIL 2 1:00 p.m. - ijazzglobal.com presents NAJEE with special guests BOBBY LYLE, CHRIS WALKER DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Grand Ballroom Tickets: $59 (Reserved Seating) 3:30 p.m. - Afternoon Jazz Party Al “DJ ACT” TAYLOR - featuring performance by SEAN U DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Cheers Lounge Tickets: FREE 4:30 p.m. - GK Soul/Jazz Party GREGG KARUKAS’ HAMMOND B3 ORGAN GROUP featuring BRAD COLLINS, DEREN BLESSMAN, THE BERKS HORNS DoubleTree by Hilton Reading Small Ballroom 6:00 p.m. - Jazz on the Avenue presents A Night of Gypsy Jazz JASON ANICK & HENRY ACKER QUARTET and THE HOT CLUB OF READING featuring JOSH TAYLOR, CHRIS HESLOP, KEN GEHRET, TRY LARUE, JOSIAH TAYLOR Yocum Institute for Arts Education / West Lawn Info, Tickets: www. yocuminstitute.org


9:30 p.m. - XPN Welcomes BELA FLECK: MY BLUEGRASS HEART featuring MICHAEL CLEVELAND, SIERRA HULL, JUSTIN MOSES, MARK SCHATZ, BRYAN SUTTON DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Grand Ballroom Tickets: $59 (Reserved Seating) 9:30 p.m. - Cheers Lounge Jazz Party AL “DJ ACT” TAYLOR DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Cheers Lounge Tickets: FREE 11:30 p.m. - GERALD VEASLEY’S JAM featuring ERIC DARIUS, JEFF KASHIWA, BRIAN BROMBERG, JJ SANSAVERINO, CHIELI MINUCCI, BOBBY LYLE, ANDREW NEU, ROB DEBOER, TONY GRACE, KAREN BRIGGS, DONALD ROBINSON, RICHARD WALLER and more DoubleTree by Hilton Reading Small Ballroom / Jazz Cruises Stage Tickets: $35 (General Admission)

MONDAY, APRIL 4 7:00 p.m. - Get JazzED / Reading Musical Foundation Night RMF PROJECT PENSKE JAZZ JAM hosted by MIKE EBEN, ALBERT RIVERA, GERALD VEASLEY, BRIAN BROMBERG, BOBBY LYLE, ANDREW NEU DoubleTree by Hilton Reading Small Ballroom / Jazz Cruises Stage Tickets: Donation at the door

TUESDAY, APRIL 5 7:00 p.m. - Night of Classy Jazz Vocals BOBBY LYLE & THE LADIES OF SONG featuring TONI LYNNE, ANNETTE HINES, GRETCHEN PATTI and more DoubleTree by Hilton Reading Small Ballroom / Jazz Cruises Stage Tickets: $20 (General Admission)


7:00 p.m. - WDIY 88.1 FM presents An Evening With GREGORY PORTER Santander Performing Arts Center Tickets: $79, $69, $59 (Reserved Seating)

10:00 a.m - Jazz Brunch hosted by Michael Tozzi (10:00 a.m. doors, buffet / 11:30 a.m. show) SPECIAL EFX ALL-STARS featuring CHIELI MINUCCI, ELLIOTT YAMIN, LAO TIZER, NELSON RANGELL, KAREN BRIGGS, GERALD VEASLEY, JOEL ROSENBLATT, CURTIS MCCAIN DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Grand Ballroom Tickets: $59 includes buffet (Reserved Seating)

7:00 p.m. - The Music of Steely Dan READING POPS ORCHESTRA & THE ROYAL SCAM Miller Center for the Arts/Reading Area Community College (RACC) Tickets: $49 (Reserved Seating)

2:30 p.m. - ijazzglobal.com presents FOUR80EAST with special guests JEFF KASHIWA, JJ SANSAVERINO DoubleTree by Hilton Reading Small Ballroom / Jazz Cruises Stage Tickets: $49 (General Admission)

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6:00 p.m. - A Night With BRIAN CULBERTSON featuring MARCUS ANDERSON Santander Performing Arts Center Tickets: $69, $59, $49 (Reserved Seating)

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6 7:00 p.m. - Celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month THE LAST BIG BAND featuring special guests LARRY McKENNA, ANDREW NEU DoubleTree by Hilton Reading Small Ballroom / Jazz Cruises Stage Tickets: $20 (General Admission) 7:00 p.m. - MEBC / Get JazzED Night SFJAZZ COLLECTIVE featuring ETIENNE CHARLES, DAVID SANCHEZ, WARREN WOLF, CHRIS POTTER, KENDRICK SCOTT, EDWARD SIMON, ANEESA STRINGS, GRETCHEN PARLATO, MARTIN LUTHER McCOY Miller Center for the Arts/Reading Area Community College (RACC) Tickets: $49 (Reserved Seating)


AL “DJ ACT” TAYLOR DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Cheers Lounge Tickets: FREE 9:30 p.m. - ijazzglobal.com presents BONEY JAMES DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Grand Ballroom Tickets: $59 (Reserved Seating)

9:30 p.m. - Post-Jam Party / CD Release Concert AL “DJ ACT” TAYLOR featuring performance by CAROL ALBERT DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Cheers Lounge Tickets: FREE

11:30 p.m. - GERALD VEASLEY’S JAM KAREN BRIGGS, JACKIEM JOYNER, ANDREW NEU, JESSY J, ALTHEA RENE, TONY EXUM JR., CAROL ALBERT, CURTIS McCAIN, DONALD ROBINSON, RICHARD WALLER and more DoubleTree by Hilton Reading Small Ballroom / Jazz Cruises Stage Tickets: $35 (General Admission)



6:00 p.m. - ijazzglobal.com presents ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION CONCERT featuring ERIC MARIENTHAL, RICK BRAUN, KEIKO MATSUI, BRIAN BROMBERG, EVERETTE HARP, ADAM HAWLEY, LINDSEY WEBSTER, THE BERKS HORNS Scottish Rite Cathedral Tickets: $59 (Reserved Seating) 7:00 p.m. - WDIY 88.1 FM presents Reading Blues Fest Night CRIAG THATCHER & MIKE GULDIN GUITAR SUMMIT featuring BILL SHARROW, BILLY WEAR, TIM HOOPER, PETER FLUCK DoubleTree by Hilton Reading Small Ballroom / Jazz Cruises Stage Tickets: $25 (General Admission) 7:00 p.m. - WDIY 88.1 FM presents B3 Organ Master JOEY DEFRANCESCO TRIO featuring LUCAS BROWN, ANWAR MARSHALL Miller Center for the Arts/Reading Area Community College (RACC) Tickets: $49 (Reserved Seating) 9:30 p.m. - Cheers Lounge Jazz Party

BERKS JAZZ FEST AUCTION 9:30 a.m. registration; 10:30 a.m. auction DoubleTree by Hilton Reading Lobby Tickets: FREE 1:00 p.m. - WHUR 96.3 FM presents CELEBRATING WOMEN IN JAZZ hosted and produced by CHRIS “BIG DOG” DAVIS featuring PATTI AUSTIN, MAYSA, LINDSEY WEBSTER, SELINA ALBRIGHT, JESSY J, KAREN BRIGGS, ALTHEA RENE, MARCIA MIGET DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Grand Ballroom Tickets: $59 (Reserved Seating) 3:30 p.m. - Afternoon Jazz Party AL “DJ ACT” TAYLOR featuring performance by TONY EXUM JR. DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Cheers Lounge Tickets: FREE

4:00 p.m. - WDIY 88.1 FM presents Reading Blues Fest Day JOHN NEMETH DoubleTree by Hilton Reading Small Ballroom / Jazz Cruises Stage Tickets: $39 (General Admission) 6:00 p.m. - Jazz Cruise Night DAVID SANBORN & FRIENDS featuring special guests RANDY BRECKER, JOEY DEFRANCESCO, BILLY KILSON Scottish Rite Cathedral Tickets: $59 (Reserved Seating) 7:00 p.m. - WDIY 88.1 FM presents Ukulele Virtuoso JAKE SHIMABUKURO Miller Center for the Arts/Reading Area Community College (RACC) Tickets: $49 (Reserved Seating) 9:30 p.m. - Cheers Lounge Jazz Party AL “DJ ACT” TAYLOR DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Cheers Lounge Tickets: FREE 9:30 p.m. - WHUR 96.3 FM presents NORMAN BROWN DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Grand Ballroom Tickets $59 (Reserved Seating)



jazz fest


SUNDAY, APRIL 10 Sunday Brunch hosted by Michael Tozzi & Gerald Veasley 10:00 a.m. doors, buffet / 11:30 a.m. show NICK COLIONNE’S FRIENDS: A SALUTE TO NICO! featuring KIM WATERS, CHIELI MINUCCI, ADAM HAWLEY, MAYSA, GERALD VEASLEY, ADAM HAWLEY, BRIAN SIMPSON, JACKIEM JOYNER, LAYLA WATERS, JJ SANSAVERINO, THE BERKS HORNS DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Grand Ballroom Tickets: $59 includes buffet (Reserved Seating) 3:00 p.m. - A Contemporary Sax Retrospective INSPIRATIONS! EVERETTE HARP & ANDY SNITZER Miller Center for the Arts/Reading Area Community College (RACC) Tickets: $49 (Reserved Seating) 6:00 p.m. - Fest Finale RICK BRAUN & GERALD ALBRIGHT with special guest JEFF LORBER Scottish Rite Cathedral Tickets: $59 (Reserved Seating)


Avenues Spring 2022


Friday, April 1 / 11:30 a.m. Harold B. Leifer Memorial Kickoff Lunch THE GROOVEMASTERS featuring BENNIE SIMS, CLIFF STARKEY, ERICH CAWALLA The Peanut Bar Restaurant 610-376-8500 www.peanutbar.com Friday, April 1 / 4:30 p.m. Jazz Dinner DAVE HINKEL & FRIENDS DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Cheers Bistro 610-375-8000 Friday, April 1 / 5:00 p.m. The City of Reading presents FIRST FRIDAY DOWNTOWN BLOCK PARTY featuring OMAR’S HAT and THE TRIBE Penn Street between 4th and 5th Streets https://www.facebook.com/ FirstFridayDowntownRDG/ *Powered by Pollen Consolidated Friday, April 1 / 7:00-10:00 p.m. A Night of Jazz Guitar DAVID CULLEN Beer Wall on Penn / West Reading www.thebeerwall.com 610-743-5744 *Powered by Pollen Consolidated Friday, April 1 / 8:00 p.m. (Doors 7:00 p.m.) Funky Friday at Radisson REGGIE BROWN & BUNCHAFUNK Radisson Hotel Reading / Wyomissing Tickets: $15 at door Call 610-823-4086 to reserved seating.

Friday, April 1 / 9:30 p.m. Cheers Jazz Party AL “DJ ACT” TAYLOR DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Cheers Bistro 610-375-8000 Saturday, April 2 / 11:30 a.m. Jazz Lunch DAVE HINKEL & FRIENDS DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Cheers Bistro 610-375-8000 Sunday, April 3 / Noon-3:00 p.m. A Gypsy Jazz Brunch Affair JOSH TAYLOR’S HOT JAZZ TRIO Beer Wall on Penn / West Reading 610-743-5744 www.thebeerwall.com *Powered by Pollen Consolidated Saturday, April 2 / 3:30 p.m. Cheers Jazz Party AL “DJ ACT” TAYLOR featuring performance by SEAN U DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Cheers Bistro 610-375-8000 Saturday, April 2 / 6:00-9:00 p.m. An Evening of Jazz Fusion THE INNER URGE Reading Distilling Guild / Reading 484-222-3601 www.rdgspirits.com *Powered by Pollen Consolidated Saturday, April 2 / 9:30 p.m. Cheers Jazz Party AL “DJ ACT” TAYLOR DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Cheers Bistro 610-375-8000 Tuesday, April 5 / 6:00 p.m. Jazz Dinner ERICH CAWALLA & THE UPTOWN BAND The Peanut Bar Restaurant 610-376-8500 www.peanutbar.com

Tuesday, April 5 / 8:30 p.m. Jazz at Nitro CULLEN & COMPANY featuring MATT CULLEN, DAVID CULLEN, CLIFF STARKEY Nitro Bar / West Reading Motor Club www.nitrobar.com 610-741-6521 Wednesday, April 6 / 6:00-9:00 p.m. A Jazz Piano Happy Hour ALEX KAUFFMAN Reading Distilling Guild / Reading 484-222-3601 www.rdgspirits.com *Powered by Pollen Consolidated Wednesday, April 6 / 8:30 p.m. Jazz at Nitro DIRK QUINN BAND Nitro Bar / West Reading Motor Club www.nitrobar.com 610-741-6521 Thursday, April 7 / 6:30 p.m. Jazz Dinner ERICH CAWALLA & CLIFF STARKEY Mimmo’s Restaurant www.mimmos.org 610-373-2800

Friday, April 8 / 4:30 p.m. Jazz Dinner DAVE HINKEL & FRIENDS DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Cheers Bistro 610-375-8000 Friday, April 8 / 5:30 p.m. Jazz Dinner THE GROOVEMASTERS featuring BENNIE SIMS, CLIFF STARKEY The Peanut Bar Restaurant 610-376-8500 www.peanutbar.com Friday, April 8 / 7:00-10:00 p.m. An Evening with The Honeybeez THE HONEYBEEZ ARE … ANGIE EZELL & LARS POTTEIGER Beer Wall on Penn / West Reading 610-743-5744 www.thebeerwall.com *Powered by Pollen Consolidated Friday, April 8 / 8:00-11:00 p.m. A Funked-up Jazz Feature BRYAN TUK & THE TMF ORGAN TRIO Reading Distilling Guild / Reading 484-222-3601 www.rdgspirits.com *Powered by Pollen Consolidated

Thursday, April 7/ 8:00-11:00 p.m. A Modern Jazz Showcase SADIK AKDOGAN JAZZ TRIO Reading Distilling Guild / Reading 484-222-3601 www.rdgspirits.com *Powered by Pollen Consolidated

Friday, April 8 / 9:30 p.m. Cheers Jazz Party AL “DJ ACT” TAYLOR DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Cheers Bistro 610-375-8000

Thursday, April 7 / 8:30 p.m. Jazz at Nitro NON-ZERO GUITAR TRIO Nitro Bar / West Reading Motor Club www.nitrobar.com 610-741-6521

Saturday, April 9 / 11:30 a.m. Jazz Lunch DAVE HINKEL & FRIENDS DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Cheers Bistro 610-375-8000

Thursday, April 8 / 9:30 p.m. AL “DJ ACT” featuring CD release concert by CAROL ALBERT DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Cheers Bistro 610-375-8000

Saturday, April 9 / 8:00-11:00 p.m. An Avant-Garde Jazz Showcase AL SMITH 4TET Reading Distilling Guild / Reading 484-222-3601 www.rdgspirits.com *Powered by Pollen Consolidated Saturday, April 9 / 9:30 p.m. Cheers Jazz Party AL “DJ ACT” TAYLOR DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Cheers Bistro 610-375-8000 Sunday, April 10 / Noon-2:30 p.m. Sofrito Pop-up & Latin Jazz Brunch DE TIERRA CALIENTE Reading Distilling Guild / Reading 484-222-3601 www.rdgspirits.com *Powered by Pollen Consolidated Sunday, April 10 / Noon-2:30 p.m. Yermo: A Beats & Bass Brunch JON L. SMITH TRIO featuring Jon L. Smith (bass), Simon Martinez (guitar) and Lionel Foster (drums) Beer Wall on Penn / West Reading 610-743-5744 www.thebeerwall.com *Powered by Pollen Consolidated Sunday, April 10 / 3:20 p.m. pre-concert discussion / 4:00 p.m. concert Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration presented by AFM’s Musicians Performance Trust Fund JOHN ROZUM 17-PIECE JAZZ ENSEMBLE: TRIBUTE TO BUDDY RICH Yocum Institute for Arts Education / Schumo Theater Limited Seating / call 610-3761500 to reserve free tickets This schedule was posted as of February 22,2022. Visit www.berksjazzfest.com for the most up-to-date schedule.



Arts & Culture in the Community

e n e c S t r A g n i r p S

What’s popping up at Art Plus Gallery There’s always something new at Art Plus Gallery, 604 Penn Avenue. The exhibit in the main gallery changes every two months to showcase new work from all 25 members of the artist cooperative. On top of that, each month their Featured Exhibit Gallery is devoted to a single artist or group.

artist’s brushwork through the earthy roughness of charcoal, the smoothness and brilliance of watercolors and acrylics, and the richness of realism. Exhibit runs 3/2 through 3/31 ARTIST TALK: Sunday, 3/27, 2:00pm RECEPTION: Friday, 3/11, 5:00 to 8:00pm


Natural. Texture. Grace and grit blend organically in the natural subjects of Kelsey Showalter



Kelsey Showalter joined Art Plus in November with a large inventory of paintings in two popular genres–animals and landscapes. In her first show here, she tied the gallery record for selling a major piece in the first three days of her membership. Her artwork has sold steadily even since.

Infusing Glass with Excitement The dazzling fused glasswork of Marie Stalnecker Marie Stalnecker explores the artistic potential of fused glass like it’s an uncharted world. And she discovers treasure in new dimensions of color, reflectiveness, transparency, shape and texture.

Adding to the appeal of Kelsey’s popular subjects is a uniquely organic, multi-media technique which took her years to refine. Kelsey had long loved very different things about drawing and painting. In her work you’ll see the personal touches in an

Her expertise finds its way to a vast range of beautiful forms: wall hangings, bowls, plates, platters, clocks, pocket vases, Christmas ornaments, self-standing curved glass, earrings and pendants, to name a few. When backlighting can help showcase the pure

Avenues Spring 2022

transparency and deep, rich beauty of fused glass, Marie can integrate LED lights into the creation. Marie’s devotion to her art runs deep. She makes her own molds, and has two kilns in her studio: one that can accommodate large pieces, and a smaller one for jewelry and project components. She runs workshops at the GoggleWorks and offers private tutoring to share the techniques and secrets of her craft. She also takes commissions for custom pieces. “If you can imagine it, I can probably make it in fused glass,” she says. Exhibit runs 4/2 through 4/30 ARTIST TALKS: Saturday, 4/2, 5:00-8:00pm / Sunday, 4/3, 1:00-4:00pm RECEPTION: Friday, 4/8, 5:00 to 8:00pm.


West Reading Drug Store For the youngest to the oldest person on your list unique gifts, crafts, games, toys & much more!

Mon-Fri: 8am - 7pm Sat: 9am - 2pm Sun: 9am -1pm


Zoom with a View Exotic corners of the world through the lens of Jeff Grabert Jeff Grabert travels to some of the most exotic places on earth. Where through a savvy eye and powerful zoom lens, he takes us closer to wildlife, people, places and stunning beauty than most of us could dream of being. “My ‘Happy Place’ is being on location pursuing wildlife and wilderness images,” Jeff explains.Jeff ’s pursuit of wildlife photography has grown steadily since he began getting serious about it during far-reaching travels with his wife Susan, who is a member of the Art Plus Gallery cooperative. While the wilderness remains a passion for him, in recent years his focus has widened to include the cultures he encounters as well. “Zoom with a View” brings together some of Jeff ’s favorite images from nearly 20 different countries and regions, including Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, India, Peru, Chile and more. Exhibit runs 5/1 through 5/31 RECEPTION: Friday, 5/13, 5:00 to 8:00pm.


The Art of Friendship The Friends of Art Plus Gallery Art Plus is showcasing the diverse talents among the artist-Friends of the gallery for the first three weeks of June. From Tuesday June 21 through July 31 the featured exhibit will be paintings from the 7th annual Plein Air West Reading competition. Claire Novak Warwick Park Gloria Powell Homestead, Grings Mill Joanne Orth Hiding in Plain Sight Kimberlee Dawn Angel Blessing Her Flowers Steve Fabian Set My Soul Free “The Art of Friendship” runs 5/31 through 6/19. RECEPTION: Friday, 6/10, 5:00 to 8:00pm. Art Plus Gallery is open every day except Monday. (From January through March, it’s closed Tuesdays as well.) For hours and special events visit www.artplusgallerypa.com. visitwestreading.org


Arts & Culture in the Community Spring Iron Pour and Forge Festival


ou feel an unusual warmth sitting outside on an otherwise cool, spring day. You hear the repeated clank, clank, clank of a hammer hitting an anvil. You catch the scent of fire roasted local food that’s been pit-roasting for hours and your mouth starts to water. You’re in the parking lot of an old goggle factory, standing in the shadow of its imposing brick chimney, but surrounded by the buzz of modern city life. Then, you notice the sound of rushing wind as it passes through a furnace and is super-heated to over 2,000 degrees. Even from a distance you can feel the intense temperature. The excitement is building, the sun is setting, and soon it will be time to pour heavy metal, liquid and hot like lava, into fantastical forms. These are the sensations at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts (GoggleWorks) during their Spring Iron Pour and Forge Fest: a celebration of fire and all it can create. Returning on April 30th after a two-year hiatus, GoggleWorks welcomes the community to its annual celebration of all things molten metal. The art center, which specializes in creating unique experiences out of the artistic process, spares nothing for this particular event. It’s like the artists’ vision of a fireworks celebration–spectacular yet sustainable, highly technical but packed with fun hands-on activities, and enjoyed by people from all across the community.


Avenues Spring 2022

The event is free and open to the public, with the signature event–the iron pour itself–scheduled at dusk. Held annually for residents, artists, and visitors, up to 1,000 typically witness the sparks, pouring, tapping, and shaping of superheated metal. The celebration is complete with live music, food, and plenty to see and do for the whole family. This year the event expands to include blacksmithing, through a partnership with the PA Artist Blacksmiths’ Association. The iron pour process is pretty simple, although for GoggleWorks it tells a story of their mission. First, the metal. The nonprofit art center receives donations of radiators and any manner of hard iron detritus from churches, residential developers, nonprofits, and residents. This reclaimed iron gets broken down with a sledgehammer into smaller pieces by staff and students. Next, iron workers need a furnace that can get very hot. That’s where Albright College and artist-professor Brian Glaze come into play. Glaze lends his furnace and crucible to heat the old, hard metal. Glaze serves as sort of master of the ceremony, leading it as a massive, real-time learning experience. A pour team comprised of artists and makers along with students from GoggleWorks and Albright raise the iron to approximately 2,500 degrees, hot enough to turn the metal into liquid. They unplug the furnace and molten hot iron shoots sparks, spilling

out into a crucible container. The team pours this into cast molds made by artists and curious attendees who want to participate. Once cooled, these participants take home a new metal artwork relief-casted into the shape of their mold, a memorable souvenir of an unforgettable experience. While this process has been happening for thousands of years, it has tremendous potential for an art center like GoggleWorks, which uses hand-on experiences to drive curiosity and engagement by city residents and visitors. Leaders at the nonprofit have recently expanded the scope of their vision, greenlighting and growing outdoor and mobile programs designed to activate public spaces and make creativity more accessible for everyone. This year, the spectacle grows. With the additional support of the PA Artist Blacksmith Association (PABA), the event will open its arms to a wider community of artists working metal, showcasing a technique that similarly captivates spectators. The Forge Fest, which will precede the Iron Pour and run from 3pm to 7pm, adds a unique new opportunity to show the impact of fire and brute force on metal. PABA blacksmiths will heat metal in a forge, a furnace that holds fire, until it glows red hot. Removing the object, they hit it repeatedly with a hammer, slowly shaping it with each blow: part artistry, part exercise. Fire and heat only further add to the determination required by these artist-blacksmiths. In true GoggleWorks fashion, the art process is surrounded by much fanfare. Dundore and Heister, a local butcher shop specializing in whole animal butchery, is a key sponsor for the event. They construct a pit roast on-site for made-to-order preparations of delicious food supplied by local farmers. Led by GoggleWorks board chair Tod Auman with his wife Chrissy Auman, the food operation offers an approach in keeping with the event: finecrafted, unique, and fun to watch. The event will again welcome top-notch musical acts and other performances to the table. For those that need the garnish: GoggleWorks will add an outdoor bar, marshmallow roasting in hot glass crucibles, and hands-on activities for families and kids.

Spring Iron Pour and Forge Festival

GoggleWorks - 201 Washington St., Reading, PA Saturday, April 30th (rain date May 7th) Forge Fest begins at 2pm Iron Pour begins at 7pm The first fifty participants will have the opportunity to purchase and prepare their own mold to be cast in molten iron. The multi-week iron pour class is sold out. Search “Calendar” at GoggleWorks.org for more details and other upcoming events. visitwestreading.org


Arts & Culture in the Community Dinosaurs & REAL BODIES:

Reading Public Museum Unveils 2022 Schedule The Reading Public looks to welcome visitors with a full operating schedule for the first time since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for all cultural and hospitality institutions, but the Reading Public Museum has remained committed to safely serving the public to the highest degree possible throughout, all while preparing for this blockbuster 2022 exhibition series. The series includes the world debut of Dinosaur Explorer, which provides a look into the daily lives of dinosaurs, seeking to make connections between the similarities in their behavior and our lives today. REAL BODIES, a global phenomenon, also makes its debut in Reading. The heralded exhibition explores the intricacies of the human body, and for the first time looks at the complex effects of COVID-19 on the human body “We are excited to share our 2022 exhibition schedule with our community,” said Museum Director and CEO, John Graydon Smith. “We are bringing world-renowned exhibitions and collections to Reading, and our museum will debut new facets of collections that have been on display at some of the most prominent museums in the world.”

Dinosaur Explorer

February 19, 2022, to May 8, 2022 Through a series of dynamic displays that feature advanced animatronic dinosaurs, authentic casts and actual fossils, and highly interactive hands-on activities, visitors will learn the science behind dinosaur adaptations and understand the connections humans share with our prehistoric predecessors. Featuring the latest animatronic technology to create quiet, smooth, lifelike movements and the most current dinosaur science, courtesy of content partner Dr. Gregory M. Erickson (one of only 150 full-time professional dinosaur paleontologists in the world), Dinosaur Explorer will amaze visitors of all ages.


May 21, 2022, to September 18, 2022 REAL BODIES is a powerful exhibition that explores life by displaying real, perfectly preserved human bodies and more anatomical specimens. More than a simple display of human specimens, REAL BODIES will connect audiences to a deeper sense of what it means to be alive. Sponsored locally by Penn State Health St. Joseph’s and Highmark, REAL BODIES reveals a deep synergy between breathing, hunger, the rhythm of the heart, love, motion, thought, and medicine that makes each person unique.


Avenues Spring 2022


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Events We have compiled a brief list of events upcoming at various venues along the Avenues and we encourage you to visit the websites for each location to check out their full schedules and additional details.


West Reading Fashion Show

March 5th at 7 p.m. VIP, 7:00 p.m. General Admission, 7:30 p.m. Show Start Nitro Bar, 3rd Floor 416 Penn Ave

Dinosaur Explorer

Now through May 8, 2022 Reading Public Museum 500 Museum Park Road, Reading

Natural. Texture.

Exhibit runs 3/2 through 3/31 Grace and grit blend organically in the natural subjects of Kelsey Showalter Art Plus Gallery 604 Penn Avenue, West Reading

Once Upon a Mattress: Youth Edition

March 11-13 & 16-20, 2020 (Showtimes Vary) Genesius Theatre 153 N. 10th Street, Reading

Winter Jam 2022

March 17th at 5:00 p.m. Santander Arena 700 Penn Street, Reading

Postmodern Jukebox, The Grand Reopening Tour JazzFest Preview Concert

March 18th at 7:30 p.m. Santander Performing Arts Center 136 North 6th Street, Reading

Tartan Terrors

March 18th at 7:30 p.m. Miller Center for the Arts, RACC 4 North Second Street, Reading, 40

Avenues Spring 2022


Art Plus Gallery… artplusgallerypa.com Berks Jazz Fest… berksjazzfest.com Santander Events… Santander-arena.com Miller Center for the Arts… millercenter.racc.edu Reading Public Museum… readingpublicmuseum.org GoggleWorks… goggleworks.org Genesius Theatre… genesiusdifference.org Yocum Institute for Arts Education… www.yocuminstitute.org

Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles

March 22nd at 7:30 p.m. Santander Performing Arts Center 136 North 6th Street, Reading

Jazz on the Avenue: A Night of Brazilian Jazz JazzFest Preview Concert

Friday, March 25 at 7:00 p.m. Yocum Institute for Arts Education 3000 Penn Avenue, West Lawn

Los Angeles Azules: 40 Anos USA Tour

March 26th at 8:30 p.m. Santander Performing Arts Center 136 North 6th Street, Reading

The Bachelor Live on Stage

March 29th at 7:30 p.m. Santander Performing Arts Center 136 North 6th Street, Reading


31st Annual Berks Jazz Fest

April 1-10, 2020 (Showtimes Vary) Varied Artists & Venues Visit berksjazzfest.com

Bill Burr Comedian (Slight Return)

April 1st at 7:00 p.m. Santander Arena 700 Penn Street, Reading

Infusing Glass with Excitement

Exhibit runs 4/2 through 4/30 The dazzling fused glasswork of Marie Stalnecker Art Plus Gallery 604 Penn Avenue, West Reading

West Reading Wine Walk

April 6th 5:00-8:00 p.m. Winedown Café & Wine Bar 622 Penn Avenue, West Reading

Joan Jett & the Black Hearts

8th Annual Fashionista 5K

April 14th at 7:30 p.m. Santander Performing Arts Center 136 North 6th Street, Reading

May 1st at 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Delaney Circle, 500 Reading Avenue, West Reading

Blue Man Group

Exhibit runs 5/1 through 5/30 Exotic corners of the world through the lens of Jeff Grabert Art Plus Gallery 604 Penn Avenue, West Reading

April 16th at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Santander Performing Arts Center 136 North 6th Street, Reading

Photos and Activities with the Easter Bunny

April 16th from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Reading Public Museum 500 Museum Park Road, Reading

Explore the Museum and Participate in a Family Scavenger Hunt

April 17th from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Reading Public Museum 500 Museum Park Road, Reading


Zoom With A View

Daniel Tiger Live

May 3rd at 6:30 p.m. Santander Performing Arts Center 136 North 6th Street, Reading

The Gilmour Project

May 12th at 7:30 p.m. Santander Performing Arts Center 136 North 6th Street, Reading

Smokey & Me: A Celebration of Smokey Robinson

April 22-24 & April 27-May 1, 2020 (Showtimes Vary) Genesius Theatre 153 N. 10th Street, Reading

May 20th at 7:30 p.m. Miller Center for the Arts, RACC 4 North Second Street, Reading

The Machine Performing Pink Floyd


For King & Country

Christian McBride and Inside Straight

April 23rd at 7:30 p.m. Miller Center for the Arts, RACC 4 North Second Street, Reading

May 21 to September 18, 2022 Reading Public Museum 500 Museum Park Road, Reading

April 24th at 6:00 p.m. Santander Arena 700 Penn Street, Reading

May 22nd at 7:00 p.m. Miller Center for the Arts, RACC 4 North Second Street, Reading

Trolls Live!

Anthony Rodia, The Road Rage Tour

Blue Oyster Cult

The Art of Friendship

April 27th at 6:00 p.m. Santander Arena 700 Penn Street, Reading

April 29th at 7:30 p.m. Santander Performing Arts Center 136 North 6th Street, Reading

May Cats

May 1st at 7:00 p.m. Santander Performing Arts Center 136 North 6th Street, Reading

May 27th at 7:30 p.m. Santander Performing Arts Center 136 North 6th Street, Reading

Exhibit runs 5/31 through 6/19 The Friends of Art Plus Gallery Art Plus Gallery 604 Penn Avenue, West Reading


Rocky Live in Concert

June 2nd at 7:30 p.m. Santander Performing Arts Center 136 North 6th Street, Reading visitwestreading.org



5th Annual Ice N’ Spice Festival Recap

The Community of West Reading hosted their 5th Ice N’ Spice Festival between 400 and 700 blocks of Penn Ave. Nationally known pumpkin carver Danny Kissel of Kissel Studios, Newville, Cumberland County, lead a talented group of local sculptors, sawing and carving rectangular blocks of ice into crystalline sculptures at West Reading’s fifth annual Ice N’ Spice Festival.

Photos by Patrick Larkin


Avenues Spring 2022

West Reading Craft Pretzel & Beer Fest Saturday, April 23rd, 2022, 11am-5pm 500 – 700 blocks of Penn Avenue The West Reading Craft Pretzel & Beer Fest (WRCPBF) is the only Festival that features our area’s founding crafts, Pretzels & Beer! Celebrate Berks County’s rich heritage in the art of pretzel making with tastings from the region’s best craft breweries. Thank you to our event sponsor, Unique Snacks. Penn Avenue restaurants and vendors will be featuring pretzel-inspired dishes. The festival is free. You can enjoy a VIP or general admission ticketed tasting of all our region’s best locally made beer.

Over 50 beers to taste and a homebrew competition to kick off the event. Enjoy live music throughout the day. Check out the

after party at Nitro Bar. Come support our region’s bounty and celebrate our Pretzel Day.

Ticketed Tasting General Admission ticket includes 5 oz. tastings glass, 3 hours of unlimited tastings and the best local pretzels. Purchase tickets at https://bit.ly/34spXU4 All proceeds go to support the West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation (WRCRF), a non-profit 501(c)3 that is dedicated to the revitalization and growth of West Reading.

74th Annual Armed Forces Day Parade May 21, 2022

The Berks County Armed Forces Day Parade, the oldest Armed Forces Day Parade in the Nation, has provided recognition for past and present members of our Armed Forces for 74 years.

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Events West Reading Farmers Market

The West Reading Farmers Market is open outdoors, YEARROUND and highlights the very best in locally grown food. The producer-only market features locally grown fruits and vegetables, sustainably raised meats, poultry and farm fresh eggs, fresh cut flowers, artisan baked goods and breads, local beer & spirits, kombucha, hand-made pasta, local honey, and value-added products made with locally sourced ingredients. We are committed to supporting and promoting the rich agricultural history of Berks County!

Winter Market Season - March/April 2022 Twice a month, 10am - 12 noon: March 6, March 20, April 3, April 10 on 6th Ave between Penn & Cherry Regular Market Season - opens May 1st! Weekly markets, 9am - 1pm: EVERY Sunday, May-Dec 2022 500 Block of Penn Ave + 6th Ave between Penn & Cherry Visit www.GrowingRootsPartners.com/West-Reading for up-to-date information.

2nd Friday

Every 2nd Friday of the month, the West Reading shops and restaurants celebrate with “2nd Friday on the Avenue” hosted by the West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation (WRCRF).

2nd Friday on the Avenue is a time to celebrate and recognize our independent shops and locally owned restaurants! West Reading is 100% committed to serving our community. Our merchants are following guidelines in line with advice from the CDC, State and Local officials. Our small business owners value your understanding in limiting in-store visits and requiring masks to protect their personal safety as well as their family. Please call ahead to make appointments for our retail shops whenever possible. We invite the public to share their 2nd Friday adventures on our social media. Music Lineup: May 13, 2022 – Noah Gibney Trio Find events and more by searching Visit West Reading on Facebook and Instagram! Tag us on Instagram: @VisitWestReading #visitwestreading #liveyourwestlife Facebook: Visit West Reading Twitter: @VisitWestRDG Visit WRCRF’s website visitwestreading.org to learn more about our merchants, upcoming events and the Sunday Winter Farmers Market.



Avenues Spring 2022

Plein Air West Reading 2022 June 13-18, 2022 6/17: Patrons Preview & Awards Presentation 6/18: Opens to the Public at Art on the Avenue

The 7th annual Plein Air West Reading art competition promises to be the biggest draw yet. For the second year, the June competition will be juried. From all entries received, renowned artist Valerie Craig selected a field of 30 artists to compete for a larger array of awards, including two first places: one for the best painting done in West Reading, the other, done anywhere in Berks County.

“The intention is not to tell artists what to paint, just to guide them to places of their greatest interest,” explains Karen Weber. “The multi-faceted character of Berks County can be a blessing if you know the area but a challenge if you’re new to it. If the artist is looking for picturesque neighborhoods, creeks, farmlands, industrial areas or historical sites, this can get them on the right track.” This year the artists will have four full days to paint, up from the traditional three. Check-in will be Monday, June 13, with Intake closing at noon on Friday.

Art Plus members Russell Slocum and Karen Weber will be spearheading the event, as they have since its inception in 2015. This year they’ve been joined by Kelsey Showalter and BAA board members Chris Gamber and Gloria Powell. “This event has grown every year, and the additional hands from the BAA will be a huge help,” says Russ Slocum. “The show hangs three times in one weekend: Friday at the Olympian Ballroom for the Patrons Preview, Saturday at Art on the Avenue, and Sunday at Art Plus Gallery and Say Cheese, where it’ll stay up through July. “The partnership with the BAA is a big plus on the planning side as well,” Russ continues. “With more than 200 members, they’re adding to the event’s power to secure more sponsorships and host housing for visiting artists.”




We Offer:

For the last four years the competition has attracted around one-third of its participants from out of the area, including states as far away as Illinois, Massachusetts and North Carolina. A new perk for the artists, especially those coming from out of state, will be The Plein Air Painter’s Guide to Berks County. This resource compiles insights, tips and local knowledge from members of Art Plus Gallery, the Friends of Art Plus, and the BAA.

Sign On Bonus Competitive Pay Flexible Hours Great Benefits PT & FT Positions



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W W W. A P I S M G T. O R G /C A R E E R S visitwestreading.org







About ten years ago, Dean Rohrbach approached me to help create a “Mural Corridor ” on Kline Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. This cluster of six artworks in a one-block space brought together neighborhood residents with local artists. Cherry Street became a second location and grew into an extensive collection of over 30 artworks in three blocks. This notable public art collection is now named Dean’s Way in memory of the man who had the vision and tenacity to create it. I hope you enjoy seeing our public art collection and learn more about it through this tour. visitwestreading.com/public-art for more information. Public art is important to a community. We like our public art

to be serendipitously iscovered as residents and visitors wander around West Reading. Public art adds vitality and liveliness to our community, and best of all, public art is freely accessible. -DEAN ROHRBACH










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