Art Watch: At new year’s looking back and ahead

While 2015 was exciting, 2016 promises even more on the local art scene

By Lele Galer, Columnist, The Times

UTColLogoGalerIf you are hanging around Kennett Square until the Mushroom drops on New Year’s Eve, swing by Mala Galleria’s opening for artist Joe Jacobs from 7-10pm December 31st. You will undoubtedly recognize Joe Jacob’s signature watercolor horse paintings, as well as many other smaller works from local artists that are available at Mala Galleria. Longwood Art Gallery in Kennett Square will not be having any artist openings until April of 2016, but they have a plethora of local artists represented in their gallery, and that always provides for a fun shopping experience.


Stubb’s Duo by Joe Jacobs.

Looking back on the 2015 year of art in Chester County, I asked a number of artists what their favorite art event of 2015 was, and what they look forward to in 2016. My favorite art event of 2015, and looking to 2016, would be the Chester County Studio Tour where I showed at Rhoda Kahler’s studio with Emily Manko, Kerry Sacco and Laura Barton – it is such a fun two day art event with such a great vibe. Jeff Schaller has really created an incredible celebration of art for the entire county with 100 artists showing their works over two days. For 2016 I’ll be showing at Stan Smokler’s studio in Kennett Square with other metal artists – very exciting! I also really loved having my metal heart sculpture outside Mala Galleria in Kennett over the holidays – Kennett is such a terrific gem of a town and it meant a lot to me to show a public art piece there!

Valetta, local painter and President of the Regional Center for Women’s Art, looks forward to showing with fellow painter Nancy Sarangoulis, ceramic artist, Carla Lombardi and fabric artist, Libbie Soffer at a 2016 Outlooks show and installation at The Delaware Art Museum. The Outlooks gallery shows in 2015 have held exceptional contemporary exhibitions, and have become must-see events. Former Outlooks Exhibition artist,

Helen Mason, says that she is most looking forward to participating in the “Engineering & Art” Exhibition at the new Henry Gallery at Penn State Great Valley, curated by the Chester County Art Association. Unlike most artists who dream of showing in museums, Helen wants to move from museum shows to local exhibitions, and this marks her first opportunity to do so in a long time. Another artist from the Outlook’s Exhibition, Stan Smokler says that the highlight of his year was also showing at the Delaware Art Museum, where “The work was framed with a Golden Rectangle to either keep the viewer inside or outside the subject; and also interpreting Hieronymus Bosch “Garden of Earth Delights…”  For 2016, he is most excited about leading his “Welding Workshop as well as the Chester County  Studio Tour and of course teaching at the Delaware College of Art & Design in Wilmington.”

Architect Wayne Simpson’s “visit to the Perez Museum in Miami ranked pretty high on my art activities this past year.  Particularly moving was a painting made up of scraps from unsold paintings entitled ‘The Estate of Rochelle F.’  It made me appreciate the struggle that artists go through to be heard and fed.”


A rooftop painting by David Katz.

Painter David Katz looks back on 2015 as the year he found his niche with his “Sky and Roof Series”; he writes, “this is my calling…I am so happy that moving out to the country lead me to this.” Painter David Oleski’s proudest art moment of 2015 was his creation of the new annual “Downingtown Fine Arts Festival”. He says this “because of the success of having the support of the community as well as my community of artists coming together right here in my hometown. It was a great thing, to build something good.”

Artist and Executive Director of the Art Gallery at Franklin Commons in Phoenixville, is most excited about the gallery’s upcoming show “Radius”. She writes, “This is a group show of various art organizations within a certain Radius of Phoenixville- incorporating a number of the lining counties.  We will be having a collaborative art project to blend the organization’s artists together, as well as have each organization talk about the impact on their community through the arts.  Excited about this show, as it is bringing the art community together in a new way.” We will have more details coming about that show closer to its opening on January 30!

Happy New Year, and wishing you all a creative and inspiring year ahead.

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