By John Chambless
For the past 38 years, the Unionville High School Art Gala has been able to draw from the county's lengthy roster of professional artists. To their credit, they haven't relied on the standard barn-and-bridges school, but have reached out to less traditional artists. This year, they're featuring one of the region's best, Downingtown's Jeff Schaller.
Schaller's whimsical paintings draw on our shared memories of pop culture, advertising, Hollywood and nostalgia. His work is seen in the murals inside Iron Hill Brewery restaurants, and his paintings are always delightful additions to any regional art show.
This year's Art Gala will be held Nov. 8 from 6 to 9 p.m., and Nov. 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Unionville High School (750 Unionville Rd., Kennett Square). There are more than 60 local artists exhibiting paintings, photographs, jewelry, and fine crafts in glass, metal, clay and wood. Talented young artists from the high school get a chance to exhibit their works alongside pieces by the professionals as well. Thirty percent of the sales go toward the educational programs at the school.
If you admire Schaller's work, you can join him for an informal discussion of his work process on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 11 a.m. in the school's LGI lecture hall. The program is free.
On his website, Schaller posts this about his work: “His multiple-image pieces, with images ranging from polka dots to popular culture, evoke emotions and memories in the viewer. … Using lost and found images, words and language, Jeff's goals are to paint with a precision and intricacy not normally found in encaustig paintings.”
The Art Gala draws about 1,000 visitors each year, including plenty of people who don't even have children in the school system – they just come for a one-stop buyer's market for the area's fine art. For more information, visit http://uhs.ucfsd.org.