2012 Community Art Exhibition in Lancaster

Every year the Lancaster Museum of Art hosts the Community Art Awards exhibition (previously known as the Open Art Awards.) It is an open exhibit where anyone who “lives, works, or worships” in Lancaster County can submit one piece to the gallery. Understandably, some years this lack of jurying is evident, though it is great to have a venue where you can see a panoply of what the county has to offer.

This year the exhibition is particularly fine and the level of art is very professional. One thing about living in a smaller community is that there is less of a taboo on certain forms of art. Watercolors tend to get a bad rap in the “art world” even though they’re tremendously difficult and can be very evocative and beautiful. This exhibition featured a fair number of watercolors, and my favorite piece in the exhibit was Joanne Hensel’s watercolor, Milkpods at Middlecreek. She has a marvelous depth of field and contrasts sharper details with a misty background. There’s a dark, stormy sky and a range of rusts and dark grey teals makes an excellent color contrast.

It’s an interesting blend of media, with woodcuts, acrylics, oils, and mixed media pieces. Most of the pieces are painting (or wall pieces) but there are a few sculptures and craft pieces. Along with my Scorpius, the Lancaster Designer Chapter was represented by Ted Rasmussen, who has a turned wood bowl. While I always associate him with his super thin turned pieces, this bowl is chunkier, though smooth with some beautiful burl details.

That’s my piece, Scorpius, in the middle there, staring at the wall…

On an aside note, my piece was displayed backwards. This is funny because when I dropped it off, the woman in front of me had a really complicated piece that needed to be assembled and I said,”mine is pretty self evident.” Obviously it’s not as self evident as I thought. It looks a little like it’s mooning the room to me. Next time, I’ll know to mark it better.

The exhibition runs through August 26th and it is a great example of the different pieces Lancastrians create. Also you can vote for the People’s Choice Award (hint, hint.) Plus it’s about 2 blocks away from my favorite coffee house, Square One which you should also visit if you’re in the area.

PCAD’s Senior Show and Celebration

This past Saturday I went into Lancaster for two events – one of which was the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design’s Senior Exhibition.  We went into the school and they handed out hand fans.  These were given both due to the heat and because they listed which majors (and what food) was on each floor of the school.  The front gallery had what looked like one piece by each artist, giving a nice overview of the graduating class.  I decided to start on the fourth floor and work my way down.

The Conqueror ©2010 Ashleigh Leiter oil on canvas 20" x 30"

The fine arts majors were on the top floor and the one group of paintings that stuck out for me were Ashleigh Leiter‘s.  Her oil paintings were dark, each with a color highlighting her subjects – silverware.  That’s right, there were fork, knives, and/or spoons that were pushing their way out of darkness, with some hidden by transparent veils.  It was haunting and beautiful, and it was using utensils.

The main thrust of PCAD is design, so there was a ton of illustrators and graphic design majors.  The commercial art was really tight, simple, and well done, but it’s just not my thing so I didn’t spend long here.

Four Horsemen Illustration ©Micah Henderson

I was drawn into the illustrations, however.  About 1/3 of these were done in a fantasy/Dungeons & Dragons theme, so I liked that just on principle.  A couple really stuck out.  Micah Henderson had a stunning depiction of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  It was vibrant and freaky and the horses looked amazing up close.  But my favorite artist in the entire exhibition was Lisandro Gonzalez.  His illustrations were for Don Quixote. Instead of showing him tilting at windmills or wearing decrepit armor, he chose to depict how Quixote envisioned himself.  His giant looked like an enormous minotaur with earrings in his horns and tattoos swirling on his body.  The style was simple, graphic, and clean, very refreshing when compared to many fantasy novel illustrations.

Don Quixote and the Giant ©2010 Lisandro Gonzalez

I enjoyed the photographers also, but suprisingly not as much as the illustrators.  Victor Rivera had  interesting narratives in his photos that featured a dead girl, pit bull, and someone running in the forest.  A little disturbing, but interesting.  And Jennifer Blaisdell had nude photos that focused in on parts of the body (hard to decipher exactly what parts) and featured a larger model.  They were beautiful and intriguing.

I highly recommend this exhibition if you’re in the Lancaster, PA area.  It will be up through May 29th.  It’s interesting to see an entire school’s worth of artwork, and you get a glimpse into what goes on inside that building on Price and Chestnut Streets.

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Spring Fever? Plan an Art Weekend Getaway!

Has the really cold, snowy Winter followed by an overly warm March given you Spring Fever yet?  Why not celebrate Spring with an art getaway weekend in Lancaster, PA?  An easy drive from NYC, DC, Philly, and Baltimore, Lancaster has a vibrant art scene that will be showcased during this year’s Spring Art Walk weekend, April 17th & 18th.

During the Art Walk there will be all kinds of events, kids activities, concerts, and, of course, the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen’s Spring Craft Market where, along with 40 other artists, I will be selling my work.  So come out and make a day or a weekend of it.  Make sure and stop by my booth to say when you visit.  Below I have some links to make your trip more enjoyable.

Lancaster Marriott on the Square

Places to Stay:

Lancaster Arts Hotel – Why should the art stop when you go back to the hotel at the end of the day?  Not only does this hotel have an art gallery inside it, it is home to the John J. Jeffries restaurant where you can order food from locally sourced farms.

Marriott at the Lancaster Convention Center – Lancaster’s newest hotel, it’s located right at the Square downtown.  You’ll be in walking distance to almost everything!

Places to Eat:

Want a nice microbrew with your dinner? Check out Lancaster Brewing Company (a few blocks from the Lancaster Museum of Art) and the Lancaster location of Iron Hill Brewery (just a couple blocks from the Arts Hotel).

Want something with caffeine in it? Check out Rachel’s Cafe and Creperie on the 300 block of North Queen conveniently surrounded by galleries (and one block from the Craft Market!).  Get a delicious crepe and wonderful coffee.  Or if you just want a great cuppa, go to Square One Coffee on Chestnut and Duke streets where the coffee is always fair trade, organic, and delicious (it’s where I buy all my beans).  Both places also have art on display.

Lancaster has an ever-increasing number of small ethnic restaurants as well as the ubiquitous pizza places, cafes, and fine dining choices.  Just walk down the street and you’ll find something tasty.

Outside the Guilded Tulip Gallery

Galleries to Visit:

There are tons of great galleries to visit during the Spring Art Walk (or whenever!), so I can’t list them all here.  Some of my favorites are:

Progressive Galleries on Queen Street (near Rachel’s!)

Red Raven Gallery on Prince Street’s Gallery Row

The PA Guild of Craftsmen’s Gilded Tulip on Prince and Walnut streets.

Lancaster Museum of Art on Lime and Chestnut Streets

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