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Chester County Press

Howard Pyle Studio Group exhibit opens at Kennett Library

12/06/2023 12:21PM ● By Richard Gaw

The Kennett Library launched its fourth exhibition in its art gallery space on Nov. 30 that showcases the work of the Howard Pyle Studio Group, a group of women artists who own and maintain the artist’s former studio near Trolley Square in Wilmington, Del.  

The exhibit will be on display through Dec. 30.

The mission of the group -- who has been in existence for over 80 years -- is to educate, inform, and carry on the legacy of celebrated American illustrator and artist, who during his career was one of America’s most popular illustrators. When Pyle opened the Franklin Street studio in 1900, he attracted a group of young, eager-to-learn artists such as NC Wyeth, Harvey Dunn and Frank Schoonover, who thrived under Pyle’s teaching and whose collective talent illuminated the “Golden Age of Illustration.”  Over time, Pyle, his many successful students and their descendants became known as the Brandywine School that served as a major influence on the work of Andrew Wyeth.

“Arts, culture, education and entertainment all flow together,” said Kennett Library Executive Director Christopher Manna. “We think not just about the printed word, but also about the printed and painted image. Expression and communication and culture are reflected in books and in the visual arts, and this is another platform to connect with the community and show how we are trying to inform them about cultural change.”

John Baker, Chairman Emeritus of the art department at West Chester University, served as the co-curator of the exhibit with Kennett Library Development Director Mary Hutchins. 

“Wendy Cotton, one of the artists in the exhibition, is also supporter of the Kennett Library along with her husband and knowing that Wendy is part of the Howard Pyle Group, we thought it would be great to bring the group in and exhibit their work,” Baker said. “We also thought it would be wonderful to bring in artists from Wilmington areas across the border to Kennett Square.”

As part of its opening reception, the library kicked off its first gallery exhibition in late August with a series of photographs that detailed the construction of the building. Its second show featured a collection of Maya-Asian art that displayed paintings, calligraphy and costumes, which was followed by an exhibit that highlighted Hispanic Heritage Month. 

Baker said that the library is creating a schedule of art exhibitions for 2024 that he said will present a wide range of mediums and techniques and highlight commemorative events such as Black History Month. 

“Now that people know that this an exhibiting space and a wall that will rotate in content, we have already had requests,” he said. “We also want to feature exhibitions that highlight the talented students in our Kennett and Unionville school districts. We want to make sure that we use this space in the future to speak to the community.”

The art gallery in the library was made possible by a generous gift from the Cabot-Kjellerup Foundation. A portion of all art sales will benefit the Kennett Library and its arts and culture programming. To learn more about the Howard Pyle Studio Group, visit

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].