Home is where the art is – and will be
12/19/2017 01:02PM ● Published by Richard Gaw
On the evening of Nov. 3, hundreds of people who like both traditional and contemporary art took part in Kennett Square's monthly Art Stroll to see what's been coming from our area's most creative minds lately.
A funky new take on the local art scene was happening nearby, but it wasn't limited to a gallery or a section of an office building. Four homeowners located within a stone's throw of one another downtown had opened their front doors to more than 150 people.
"Home is Where the Art Is," sponsored by Kennett Township, was a pop-up banquet of creativity. On East State Street, works by artist Caitlin Kelley were featured alongside paintings and illustrations by Caroline Roosevelt. Just up the block on West State Street, photographer Kyle Kentzel showcased some of his work, while Wylie Florence-Bushnell screened one of his fashion videos. In a carriage house on Magnolia Street, artist Laura Mulhern showed her paintings, jewelry and terrariums; and on Mulberry Street, John Burdumy displayed his handcrafted leather goods, while Adam Wallacavage showcased his handmade chandeliers.
In between, there were bonfires, performances by local musicians and food catered by Sarah Bates of Brewer's Hideaway Farm in Rising Sun, Md. Best of all, the tour gave patrons the opportunity to purchase the work of local artists while getting a chance to know them.
“We were able to draw people from different demographics – people you don't normally see at typical art walks in Kennett Square,” said Roosevelt, who planned the tour with Mulhern and Kelley. “We transformed all of the spaces we used into galleries of their own.”
For Roosevelt, launching a pop-up art tour sprang out of her time living in Seattle's trendy Capitol Hill section, an enclave of indie-chic bars, eateries and clubs. A friend of hers had established an in-home gallery in her apartment that coincided with Friday art walks in the district.
“While I didn't want to commit to a brick-and-mortar permanent establishment, I thought it would be really fun to open up homes in the area to promote art and artists,” Roosevelt said. “I look at towns like Lancaster, which in the last ten years has become a more art-centric town. I think Kennett Square is positioned to do that. We're off the Main Line, we're fairly close to Philadelphia, and there is a larger symbiosis geographically and culturally within short access to Kennett Square. We want to bring that clientele of appreciation here.”
“I think there's this great younger generation of artists in this town, which has historically enjoyed a huge reputation for art, through the Wyeths and the Brandywine Valley artists,” Mulhern said. “But when you think about art in Chester County, your mind traditionally goes to paintings of rustic barns and rural settings -- and while we will always appreciate that reputation, we want to expand it to include cutting-edge art and the introduction of a new generation of artists.”
Roosevelt, Mulhern and Kelley are working with Claire Murray of Historic Kennett Square to organize a follow-up to the successful November tour. Slated to occur in conjunction with a Kennett Square Art Stroll either during the winter or early spring of 2018, the next pop-up event will showcase the work of new artists.
“We had a month and a half to organize our first pop-up, and we hand-picked both our artists and our locations,” Kelley said. “For future events, we would like to arrange a call for artists and have them apply for acceptance through a curated arrangement. I expect that we will eventually generate more and more visitors, and because we now have more time to organize the next tour, we can have the time to step it up the staging of the locations.”
While the art installations and roster of artists will change at the next "Home is Where the Art Is," there is a strong liklihood that the venues that hosted the first tour will remain.
"We have these four locations, whose owners are enthusiastic to participate in another project and host new artists," Roosevelt said. "We consider these locations as little worlds that we can change and curate."
To inquire about the next pop-up art tour in Kennett Square, or to inquire about inclusion as an artist, email Caroline Roosevelt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Lauren Mulhern, visit www.laurenmulhern.com. To learn more about Caitlin Kelley, visit www.ceightlnkly.wordpress.com.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email email@example.com.