2016-04-01 / Spotlight

State of the Art

Rick Bryant, Executive Director | Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts

Rick Bryant is prepping for the biggest party of his life. This summer, the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts will celebrate its 50th festival — and you can bet that the four-day sidewalk sale and exhibition that features 308 artists will be the biggest yet. Bryant has been working for Arts Fest in one way or another since the 1990s, so he knows first-hand the growth it has seen. “I think of the festival as somewhat unchanging as far as things we do,” he says, “but it really has changed over the years. People want something new every year, and we try to give it to them.” But before the party starts, here are five other things that make Bryant feel festive.

Time Travel
“I love to go to sites of historic or architectural interest — anything from Monticello to old Las Vegas. If I see a historic site, I’m going to stop. Sometimes the tours are pretty bad, but there’s usually something interesting there. I’m a history buff and I find those things fascinating. I’ve been to six or seven presidential libraries.”

Ring Around
“I know that some people think you’re a tool if you wear your college ring. But it represents my college; it represents Charlottesville, which is like the greatest city ever. It’s a fun place. The ring has Minerva holding an olive branch and a cornucopia. How many people can say that?”

Best Dressed
“I pay attention to how I dress. After a pair of boxer shorts, an Oxford shirt is the most basic garment that you can wear. You can dress it up, you can dress it down. When they’re worn out, I wear them as a smock. I wear them to the beach. I think they should only come in three colors, which are pink, white and blue.”

Beach Bum
“My grandparents started going to Stone Harbor, New Jersey, in the 1930s. They picked the best place ever. In addition to the beach, it has all these cheesy small town activities. I go for my birthday weekend the last weekend in June and then I don’t go again until mid-August. I try to go every month except January and February.”

On the Wall
Of course art is important to Bryant, but the pieces that grace his walls at home are maybe not what you’d expect. “They’re not particularly valuable, but they all mean something to me. I had a portrait of my dog painted by Terry Swanger. When I retired from the insurance business, Terry gave me this as a present.”

BONUS: Check out Bryant’s blog, The Wandering Wahoo (, which he subtitles “Adventures of a Doofus Hipster-Wannabe.” Whatever he may want to be, he is funny. “That’s my creative outlet.”

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