Friday, April 26 2024 9:50

Brandywine Valley Art Gallery Roundup

Written by Elizabeth Hughes

Discover local art shows, tours and exhibits this spring

With spring finally sprung, the Brandywine Valley is in full bloom. So too is our region’s thriving arts scene. County Lines country is blossoming with art shows, tours, exhibits and more events — the perfect time to discover the local artists bringing color, light and beauty to our lives.

We’ve rounded up area art galleries and events for you to enjoy. Mark your calendars for these exciting encounters with art.

51st Annual Yellow Springs Art Show

A spring tradition for more than half a century, the Yellow Springs Art Show returns from April 27 to May 12. The galleries in the Lincoln Building are open daily, 10 to 4. This juried exhibition features over 4,000 works of art from over 200 artists, on display in both the first- and second-floor galleries. The popular second-floor “mini” gallery showcases miniature works of art measuring 11″x14″ or smaller, perfect for first-time art buyers.

Kicking off this year’s show is an Opening Gala on May 2 from 6 to 9 p.m. Be among the first to shop the 2024 show while enjoying hors d’oeuvres, wine and live music. Or visit during Happy Hour on Friday, May 3 from 5 to 8 p.m. for an evening of fabulous art, appetizers and a cash bar from Cedar Hollow Restaurant & Bar. Tickets for both events are available online.

On Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 12), gather the family for Art Around the Village. Spend a fun-filled day in the charming historic village of Yellow Springs and enjoy artist demonstrations, live music, kids activities, food trucks and more.

Admission is free, and proceeds from art sales benefit Historic Yellow Springs’ conservation projects, arts education programming and historical experiences. 1685 Art School Rd., Chester Springs.

West Chester Spring Gallery Walk

Come explore downtown West Chester’s vibrant art scene during the Spring Gallery Walk, Friday, May 3 from 4 to 8 p.m. Hosted by Downtown West Chester, this free event includes free, on-street metered parking starting at 4 — always a plus! May 3 also marks the beginning of the Gay Street Open-Air Market, when Gay Street (between Matlack and Darlington Streets) is closed to vehicles on weekends through September 29. It’s the perfect time to dine al fresco at one of Gay Street’s fantastic restaurants.

Pick up a brochure at any of the 17+ participating locations (complete list online, plus a few listed later in this article) to start your self-guided art tour. Local galleries, including West Chester’s newest, Graham Painting Studio, join “one-night-only” show hosts throughout downtown to showcase some of Chester County’s talented artists. Discover stunning artwork, connect with fellow creatives, and find the perfect piece for your home.

Mark your calendar for the Fall Gallery Walk, slated for October 4.

16th Annual Wayne Art Center Plein Air Festival

Photo: Brenda Carpenter

Celebrate spring at the Wayne Art Center’s Plein Air Festival, one of the longest-running outdoor painting events in the country. From May 5 to 10, 32 nationally recognized artists will create original artworks of scenes within a 25-mile radius of Wayne, capturing the charming towns, verdant farms, historic architecture and scenic landscapes that make our region special. All paintings will be completed en plein air — on site and from direct observation.

At the Collectors’ Preview & Sale, Friday, May 10 from 6 to 10 p.m., be among the first to view and purchase a piece from over 300 landscapes painted during the festival. Enjoy fine art, hors d’oeuvres, an open bar and live music. During the evening’s awards presentation, top artists will receive $25,000 in cash prizes.

The Plein Air Exhibition runs through June 22, with demos, tours and talks scheduled throughout, including a three-day workshop from juror Jill Carver on May 13 to 15. Tickets to the Collectors’ Preview & Sale and full schedule of events at 413 Maplewood Ave., Wayne.

Craft & Mercantile

Spend an evening under the stars and twinkle lights at Craft & Mercantile. Growing Roots Partners’ curated night market celebrates local makers and artisans, with live music plus food and drinks. At several locations throughout Chester County, Craft & Mercantile brings local artists and the community together in a unique way. The first event takes place on Friday, May 17 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at Kimberton Garden & Gift Shop, 2123 Kimberton Rd., Phoenixville.

Now in its fourth season, Craft & Mercantile is held monthly on third Fridays from May to November. This year’s events promise seven markets, five locations — including Downingtown’s River Station, Chester Springs’ Weatherstone Town Center, Malvern’s Burke Park and Eagleview Town Center — and lots of magic.

Chester County Studio Tour

Now in its 14th year, the Chester County Studio Tour returns May 18 and 19 for a spectacular weekend showcase of local artists throughout the county. This year’s tour boasts over 200 artists across 76 studios, representing a diverse range of backgrounds, styles and mediums. Studios will exhibit painting, sculpture, jewelry, photography, clay, glass, paper and fiber. Artists will be present to interact with buyers and tourgoers, offering an opportunity to explore their creative processes in a casual, impactful way.

You can design your own self-guided tour using the County Studio Tour interactive website. Select your favorite artists, click the “Add to Itinerary” button, and let Google Maps plot the most efficient route, with turn-by-turn directions to each chosen studio. Short on time? Use the “Find 5!” feature to find the five studios closest to you.

For a special memento, the County Collectors Series offers original framed 6″x6″ artworks for a special price of $90.

Art Gallery at Devon

Need a break from the equestrian action in the Dixon Oval? Drop by the Art Gallery at Devon, May 22–June 2, for a fine selection of art. See the Devon Horse Show article in this issue for more.

Art Galleries and Museums

Jamie Wyeth, Blind Goat, 2023, Somerville Manning Gallery

Get to know a renowned local artist at two exhibitions this spring. “Jamie Wyeth: Unsettled” is on view at the Brandywine Museum of Art. Five years in the making, this major exhibition traces a persistent vein of intriguing, often disconcerting imagery over Wyeth’s six-decade career. “Unsettled” features over 50 works drawn from museums and private collections, highlighting Wyeth’s comfort in uneasy subjects and mastery of the unsettled mood. The show runs through June 9 before traveling to four art museums across the country — from Rockland, Maine to Seattle, Washington. 1 Hoffman’s Mill Rd., Chadds Ford.

Additionally, Delaware’s Somerville Manning Gallery presents a concurrent exhibition, “Jamie Wyeth: Mysterious Familiar,” through June 1. The exhibition includes many newly completed paintings shown publicly for the first time as well as classic examples of Wyeth’s work. “Mysterious Familiar” emphasizes Wyeth’s vivid color palette, dramatic, textural brushwork and masterful use of combined media. 101 Stone Block Row, Greenville, DE.

Lisa Baird, It’s a Hunch, It’s a Hope, The Art Trust at Meridian Bank

Both during and beyond Gallery Walk, there’s plenty to see at downtown West Chester’s art galleries. The Art Trust at Meridian Bank hosts two exhibits this month. Running through May 10, “Structures” showcases works by Lisa Baird, Jeff Carpenter and Kate McCammon, with an Artists’ Talk on Thursday, April 25 at 7 p.m. Next up is “Student Scholars,” May 15 to 24, featuring 2024 Art Trust Student Scholarship recipients. Visit during the Artists’ Reception on Friday, May 17 from 5 to 8 p.m. 16 W. Market St., West Chester.

Shay Aubrey Allen, The White Rabbit, Sunset Hill Fine Arts Gallery

Sunset Hill Fine Arts Gallery is celebrating Mother’s Day with their first-ever mother and daughter exhibit, May 3 to June 8. Mother Mollie McShane Allen draws inspiration from color, animals, nature, music and children, while her daughter Shay Aubrey Allen finds inspiration in antiques, history, nature and her animal neighbors, as well as the studios of fellow artists. Meet the artists and hear their personal stories at the Opening Night Reception during Gallery Walk, May 3 from 4 to 8 p.m. 23 N. High St., West Chester.

Ginkgo Arts is a coworking space for artists and creatives in a variety of mediums. Resident artists include those who paint with oil, acrylic, watercolor and cold wax, a fashion designer who creates customized special occasion clothing, stained glass artists and a woodworker. This month, Ginkgo Arts is participating in Gallery Walk (May 3) and Chester County Studio Tour (May 18–19). 21 S. High St., West Chester.

Knauer Gallery at West Chester University

At West Chester University, experience award-winning work from some of the region’s most exciting young artists and designers at the 2024 Senior BFA Exhibition. Running May 1 to June 9, at the E.O. Bull Center for the Arts’ John H. Baker Gallery, this interdisciplinary group exhibition features an impressive array of sculpture, painting, drawing, printmaking, motion, ceramics and design curated by students and faculty. In addition, WCU will host the United States International Poster Biennial, May 20 through June 29, celebrating the latest innovations in poster design. 2 E. Rosedale Ave., West Chester.

In Haverford, the Main Line Art Center hosts a very special show. On display April 23 to August 16, the “Accessible Art Exhibition” showcases the artwork of students from the Center’s Accessible Arts programs for children, teens and adults with disabilities. Working with teaching artists, participants learn the tools, processes and language of each medium while expressing their artistic identity. 746 Panmure Rd., Haverford.

Monique Sarkessian, Daughters of Heaven 2, Gallery 222

Experience ever-changing colors, patterns and shapes at “The Kaleidoscope Experience” at Malvern’s Gallery 222, featuring the art of Jeff Carpenter and Monique Sarkessian. Each time your eyes focus on their paintings, a fresh perspective magically appears. The exhibit opens on May 15, with an Artists Reception on Thursday, May 16 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., and runs through June 8. 222 E. King St., Malvern.

Still can’t get enough art? Tune in to WCHE 95.3 FM/1520 AM on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. for Art Watch. Hosts Constance McBride and Amie Potsic talk with artists and creative leaders throughout the Delaware Valley and beyond. This month, McBride interviews artist Katee Boyle about her recent multimedia installation, “The Alice Comfort Project.”

Check our Events section, in print and online, for more.