Echo Lake Conference 20th Anniversary Exhibition

A Twenty Year Retrospective May 18 to June 16

New Hope Arts hosts Echo Lake’s anniversary exhibition featuring 20 years of collaborative works in wood, metal and glass by artists of Bucks County with renowned artists from around the world. The Echo Lake Conference, begun in 2018 at Bucks County Community College, is modeled on the simple idea of creative people working together for three days of collaborating to make objects of art.

What began as an experiment has grown to include artists from all over the world while keeping to its local flavor including students, staff, and faculty from BCCC. The Twenty Year Retrospective exhibition features works from all previous years of the Conference, along with admission-free public access; a presentation by Mark Sfirri, founding member, and a month–long opportunity to view this remarkable creative experience.

Reception, Saturday, June 1, 5-8 pm; Gallery Talk by Mark Sfirri, 6:15 pm; Gallery Hours: Friday, Saturday & Sunday from Noon to 5 pm through June 16. New Hope Arts, 2 Stockton Ave. New Hope, PA 215 862 9606 More information:  or

Introduction to the Twentieth Anniversary Exhibition of Echo Lake

January 2019


The idea was simple: get a group of creative people together for three days of collaborating to make objects of art, have a banquet at the end, and auction off all the art work to fund future conferences. We never expected to make a profit, but each Echo Lake has routinely ended in the black. As a result, funds have been used to purchase machinery and tools for the woodworking and sculpture areas at Bucks County Community College, cash prizes have been awarded to deserving art students, and we’ve paid for this exhibition and catalogue.


It’s hard to believe that we held our twentieth conference in 2018. Echo Lake started out as a local experiment reinterpreting the international Emma Lake Conference that began in Saskatchewan, Canada in 1996. It has become a much larger event that has included artists from all over the world while keeping to its local flavor and continues to include students, staff, and faculty from BCCC, where the event has taken place for most of those years.  A dedicated organizing committee with an ability to select participants who work well in this sort of setting has made it a successful and much anticipated yearly experience for many. To date there have been over 250 different participants from 17 countries!


Having two or more artists conceptualize and create artwork in a short period of time is by no means a recipe for success, but often what materializes is the result of a kind of creative tangent that no one involved would have anticipated and that’s what creates the excitement. Many participants leave Echo with an interest in trying something new or continuing to collaborate long after the conference concludes.


It is useful to know artists who have participated in the making of the objects in this exhibition as well as the stories of how the pieces evolved through the process of making them, and where this experience has altered the course of an artist’s direction.  But even if you are not aware of any of that, it is our hope that you enjoy an exhibition that is based on a very different approach to creativity and making. 


Here is a list of active collaborative art conferences.  It is truly a global phenomenon.


Emma Lake (Saskatchewan Canada)                        Biennial 1996-present

CollaboratioNZ  (Whangerai, NZ)                              Biennial 1998-present

Echo Lake (Newtown, PA)                                                          Annual 1999- present

Collaboration Australia                                                Biennial 2000-present

Hawkes Bay Turning Collab. ( NZ)                             2006-present

Collaboration Western Australia                               2009-present

Hawaii Artist Collaborative (Big Island, HI)             Biennial 2011-present

French Collaboration                                                   Biennial 2013-present

Frogwood  (Portland, OR)                                                          Annual  2013-present

Kollaboration, (Kamoursska Quebec, Canada)      Biennial 2017-present


Mark Sfirri