Celebrate National Freedom to Marry Day At Our Valentine’s Dance!

Design by Lorraine Dunn

Sunday, Feb. 12 , 4-8 pm
11 West Mt. Airy Ave. (19119)
$10 at the door

And we’re inviting YOU! MAAG is celebrating community and diversity in the Northwest with an LGBTQ (and allies) dance party that’s open to everyone. So, the buzz has begun, and we’re answering the most important things you need to know:

1. DJ Lucky 7 will keep you dancing. She just finished spinning at the Trestle and you just
might know her. Rumor has it we may have some other guest DJs.
2. Fashion statements—YO! informal or whatever mood suits you.
3. Hours—it’s a tea dance. 4-8 pm so you have no excuse.
4. Parking—Sunday on Germantown Ave. is free parking. Or park at the lot adjoining Fitlife. Or
park in the lot at Valley Green Bank. We’ll have folks at the door to help direct you.

Come celebrate with us. Dance your hearts away, buy 50/50 raffles, support the kissing booth,
and celebrate marriage equality for all.


Countdown to the Holidays at the Mt. Airy Art Garage

Doris Grey

We’re getting ready for the Holidays in a BIG kind of way! And that means welcoming you with open arms to come in out of the cold and celebrate with us. During the first three Saturdays and Sundays in December starting Dec. 3 and ending Dec. 18, from 10am to 5pm at 11 W. Mt. Airy Avenue, Mt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG) will open its doors and offer you a diverse selection of fine art and handcrafts created by artists from Germantown, Mt. Airy, and Chestnut Hill.

Our Holiday Art Market Extravaganza is busting loose! Over 30 local Northwest visual artists and handcrafters have created a variety of unique, one-of-a kind gifts. Here’s just a small sampling of what you’ll find—fine art, handmade leather goods, photography, crocheted and original children’s clothing, clay tile and pottery, jewelry, stained glass art, woodworking, sculpture, you name it.  And our gallery will be stocked to the brim with work from our Mt. Airy Art Garage artists, 110 members and growing. Since we’ll be rotating artwork in the gallery, and different artists will join us each weekend, you’ll have new treasures to choose from every weekend.

Did we mention food and music? Yes, all local musicians from the Northwest. You just might even find your neighbor or plumber playing. Dance the afternoons away with Saint Mad, Not My Dogg, Chana Rothman, Art Miron, Tim Laborie, Richard Redding, David Cantor, and all the friends they bring to play with them! Music and art—you can’t find a better combo. Admission is free and open to the entire family. What a way to spend the holidays!

So, stop by 11 West Mt. Airy Avenue to browse the unique display of original artwork and enjoy the holiday festivities. We’ve decorated just for you! After all, supporting local artists (in the community you already love) surely beats going to the mall.

For more information, call 215.242.5074 or visit www.mtairyartgarage.org.

Arleen Olshan

Kevin Bennett




Northwest Gateway—Mt Airy Art Garage Partners With Mural Arts Program…Community Meeting Scheduled for Germantown Mural

To expand community involvement in the arts and enhance the urban landscape of Northwest Philadelphia, the Mt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG) will host a series of Community Paint Days in collaboration with the Mural Arts Program to complete four new public murals. Relative to the rest of the city, the Northwest currently has few existing murals, and this project celebrates the diverse and historic neighborhoods of Germantown, Mt. Airy, and Chestnut Hill while fostering community participation in the arts. This vision for the Northwest will invite participation in the arts process while harnessing the strength that is present in these neighborhoods. Murals will be designed and painted through a series of Community Paint Days in MAAG’s 5,000 square foot location, led by mural artists in collaboration with community members. Free and open to the public, these Paint Days will engage new arts audiences by reaching out to underrepresented communities and drawing participants from local schools, businesses, and community organizations. MAAG member artists will take a leadership role in Northwest community outreach.

The next community meeting for the Germantown Mural will be held Nov. 21, 6 pm at 5534-36 Pulaski Ave. All members of the community are welcome and encouraged to participate in determining a theme to this community mural to represent your voice and your vision. Join us in celebrating the Northwest’s unique voice and vision created by our lifelong residents, young people, and all points between.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year at MAAG…

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been busy at the Mt. Airy Art Garage. Really busy. But, to us, the chaos of productivity means three things: Community, Connections, and Art.  Between our grand opening, hosting POST (Philadelphia Open Studio Tours), and prepping for our first exhibit, “Recapturing Memories” by Meei Ling Ng, we haven’t had much time to anticipate the holiday rush. 

Plus, we’ve been sketching with plenty of students (from Chestnut Hill Academy/Springside School, Green Tree School, First United Methodist Church of Germantown, to name just a few) as they tour Ng’s 3-D installation with wide-eyes and open minds. To say the least, we’ve had our hands happily full!

As the holidays approach, though, we’re happy to announce our Holiday Art Market Extravaganza. Surely, over the next few weeks, you’ll be searching for that unique, personalized gift created by local artists to give to that special someone – and what better place to find it than at the Mt. Airy Art Garage. During the first three Saturdays and Sundays in December, from 10am to 5pm, MAAG will open its doors and offer the community a diverse selection of fine arts and handcrafts created by artists from Germantown, Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill.

So, stop by 11 West Mt. Airy Avenue to browse the unique display of original artwork and enjoy the holiday festivities. After all, supporting local artists (in the community you already love) surely beats going to the mall.

“Recapturing Memories” : a review by guest blogger Diana Tedone

We just opened our new installation by Meei Ling Ng. See it through the eyes of one of our artist  members… and special thanks, as always, to Alix Passage, photographer.

The exhibit starts before I reach the art gallery; I am intrigued by PVC tape shaped into bird footprints and “chick chick chick” written delicately with sidewalk chalk. When I arrive I am immediately welcomed by the co-founders of Mt Airy Art Garage (MAAG), Linda Slodki and Arleen Olshan, and then ushered in by exhibitor Meei-Ling Ng.  I am given a guided tour through the exhibit, and then left to wander around the space on my own, lost in my own thoughts.

Ng explains to me that she draws her inspiration from two sources: her childhood in rural Singapore and a park in Southwest Philadelphia that she calls “the jewel of the city.”  Being in the latter space felt like home to her because she was again surrounded by nature, the same earthy spaces that she loves and remembers from her childhood.  She brings her reminiscences into the gallery and molds scenes of nature to conform to the existing space in a way that is at the same time artificial and organic.  Paintings hang from the ceiling in a way that is ethereal, and yet the bold lines within many of the canvasses demand the viewer’s attention.  Other lines are fine, and the shading more subtle: the latter paintings convey a sense of gestalt.

The gestalt echoes the sense the artist is trying to convey with the exhibit itself, that the arrangement in the gallery is more than the sum of its natural and artificial parts.  There is something eerie and sensitive, delicate and whimsical about the space as a whole.  I am straddling several realties at once: past and present, natural and manmade; I am in the gallery and am also somewhere else at the same time.   I am stuck in between realities and don’t know why.  My mind hurtles backward to scenes of my own childhood in the woods, and jars me forward to the present, where I am standing in the middle of the room.

The feeling is intentional.  When I tell Ng what I am experiencing, she reassures me that my experience means that I am grasping what she intends.  At that time I am standing in the center of the room, directly in front of an arrangement composed of a small wooden bench, and a tree and bird sculpture that Ng calls “the center of energy.”  The space is intended as a gathering place and as a place to reflect.  The thick and yet delicate tree branches echo the sense of line from the paintings, works that are delicate and bold at the same time.

Further into the room is an arrangement of chickens and brightly colored plastic Easter eggs.  The chickens are made of cardboard boxes, and the artist makes no attempt to hide the boxes’ original artwork.  This is also intentional, Ng explains.  By retaining the original artwork, she again shows that we do not need to resist the tie between what is manmade and what is not, that an organic and sustainable lifestyle is indeed possible in a post-consumer society.  This assertion is echoed by a series of hanging gourds from the artist’s own garden, upon which a bird sculpture is perched.

My path continues to a space that could be a marsh with its tall reeds or can echo the seaside with its delicately placed seashells.  Nearby I see a log that could be a piece of driftwood or could equally be at home in the middle of a forest, upon which several whimsical bug creatures composed of used buttons sit.  This space again reminds me that nature and humanity can interact peacefully, and such interactions can be a lot of fun as well.

As I leave the space, the feeling of being in between different spaces stays with me.  I am thinking about nature and how I can be a part of it; of human society and how I can better integrate with it.  I am reflective, and yet I am walking down Mt. Airy Ave. trying to find my car.  I am a part of the world around me as well as being apart from it.

The exhibit invites the viewer to not only look at artwork, but also to be a part of it.  We are invited into a different world, a world of button creatures and pizza box chickens, in which the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.  The exhibit is ethereal, yet grounded; it is carefree and introspective.   It echoes memories of a childhood long ago lost, and it creates memories of an adulthood that is fresh and optimistic.  It is for children, and it also feeds the child within us.  It is a space to laugh and gather with friends, and also to reflect and think alone.   The exhibit is definitely deserving of a first, and then a second look.  It may not be a permanent installation at MAAG, but it stays with me.  “Recapturing Memories” will continue to capture my imagination for years to come.

What is the mission? WE are the mission! Mt. Airy Art Garage Launches Artists’ Breakfast Club

When Paula asked us “What can I do to help?” we responded with “What’s your fantasy?” From that sprung the Breakfast Club. We weren’t sure where it was going, all we could think of was what we had read of the Paris Salons, those we had dreamed about but never experienced. We knew that we wanted to be among other artists, to share our stories, to talk about our challenges, to share our inspirations, to be inspired by each other’s work. That’s why we originally founded the Mt. Airy Art Garage…so we could come out of isolation and find other artists.

Thursday was a phenomenal start. 15 artists, count them 15. Self-taught, PAFA grads, Tyler grads, experienced art educators, social workers and art therapists, painters, sculptors, glass artists, digital artists, handcrafters, older, younger, as diverse as our membership. Our group included founders of the Stained Glass Project “Windows that open doors!” and founders of the Art Forms Gallery. Some are having exhibitions coming up at Drexel. Some are working with the Picasso Project. Some are part of the Knesset Israel Artists Collective. One artist lived in Alaska and traveled into native villages teaching pottery and clay. One went to Japan on a scholarship. So, the group was wonderful and diverse…and growing. 

But more important were some of the ideas that were shared. I want to share them with you:

  • “Art is satisfying. It channels my focus, my purpose, my creativity.”
  • “I see things in a completely different way. I see what’s there in a given moment in time.”
  • “I want this group not to be constricting or formal. I want to share in art history, share in our own work with each other, and go back to our studios enriched.”
  • “The topic doesn’t matter. It’s how we view the world.”
  • “This group is about the commonality of artists talking, appreciating, supporting, and motivating each other.”
  • “What is the mission? WE ARE THE MISSION!”

So, we welcome you to join us, on the third Thursday of each month at 9 am at 11 West Mt. Airy Ave. Bring a sample of your artwork. Next meeting will be on Nov. 17 (bring your own breakfast). Even better, bring your story, bring your heart, bring your imaginations.  Open to all artists.

An Invitation To Artists! We’re Launching The MAAG Breakfast Club Thurs. Oct. 13 @ 9:00 am!

Have you ever noticed that the people you most relate to are in the arts? Remember the artist cafes in Paris? Well, neither do we! But we heard they were cauldrons of creativity and support. So, fellow artists, let’s stir up the pot and get cookin’ with art, philosophy and general mischief. Meet your peers.

All present at the initial gathering will help determine the course of the group. Do we present techniques or ideas to each other, invite guest lecturers, do artists “crits” or simply shmooze? Each of you is encouraged to invite artists, both members of the Mt. Airy Art Garage or not, to join in the creation of Philadelphia’s newest ART SALON—The Mt. Airy Art Garage Breakfast Club.

Please bring some breakfast to share, whether coffee or other goodies. We will meet each month on Thursdays, from 9 –10:30 am at the Mt. Airy Art Garage, 11 West Mt. Airy Ave. Admission is free. See you there!


A Glimpse Into Our Artists’ Work…

Below, you’ll find a piece written by one of our fabulous supporters, Chris McGuigan. Not only did she compose this wonderful reflection for Word Palette, but she also captured a few impromptu videos, last Sunday, during POST. Feel free to check them out at your leisure, using the attached links. Overall, they’re a great glimpse into the artists that make MAAG what it is today.

Mount Airy Art Garage and the Artists Within: Philadelphia Open Studio Tours October 1st and 2nd, 2011

On this Sunday afternoon in October the misty rain provided a thinly veiled curtain to the world beyond the inviting red open garage doors and once through those doors the stories unfolded.

Mount Airy Art Garage  is a soul fusion that is visual, instinctual, audible and richly textured.  This “It” is not just a building as it were – Mount Airy Art Garage is a lively, inspirational an nurturing community of people with the belief that each of us holds an artist within our soul, therefore, MAAG is a community to humanity and it’s artistic spirit!

Something irresistable draws you to a place where maybe, just maybe, you are crossing a threshold that will change your perspective or your life.

Looking around at first glance, what hits you is activity, bursts of color, buzzing social interaction and smiling faces. The energy and creativity abounds in sculpture, paintings, pottery, jewelry, screen prints, music, written and spoken word. It is not only what is present, but what is possible and it is not only a space that holds objects, but nurtures the spirit.

My intent was to interview some of the artists and attempt to capture in my words the energy of their words, but as each began to speak of thier work I watched as thier expressions would light up with enthusiasm.  I decided to capture the spontaneity using a small hand held video camera and to have the artists express what they do in thier own words.

Some are emerging artists, some professionals, but all possess – as artists do – that innate force that calls and they have no choice but to answer.

Whatever life journey they have been on, whatever careers they may have or have had from insurance agents, teachers, mechanics, physicians or the professional lifelong devoted artist –  that creative call cannot be quieted. And how fortunate that The Mount Airy Art Garage exists to embrace this creativity!

Mount Airy Art Garage has a clear direction to provide studio space for emerging and professional artists, a permanent gallery space and to educate and teach. It is a community center for the Arts in the Northwest region of Philadelphia encompassing Mount Airy, Chestnut Hill and Germantown.

MAAG began as a concept, a dream that co-founders Linda Slodki and Arleen Olshan envisioned and shared along with so many other artists, board members and supporters. It is evident that this dream has seeped into the life blood of these visionaries and began to take shape into what has now become a reality.

Mt. Airy Art Garage Interviews with Lyles, McGill, and Harris

Mt. Airy Art Garage Interviews with Curran, Schultz, and Hertzler

Mt. Airy Art Garage Interviews with Schary, Jenny, Scott, Drew, and Windle

A Re-Cap & A Reach-Out

Over the last three weeks, we’ve been busy. Real busy. But, to us, the chaos of productivity means three things: Community, Connections, and Art. Since our inception, nearly two years ago, MAAG has always stood behind these principles and, as we expand, we’re reminded even more of their importance. 

First and foremost, our doors are officially open! If you missed it, we kicked off our Grand Opening at our Hard Hat Ball with Sharon Katz & The Peace Train. Not only did Sharon Katz rock the house, but she also surprised the several hundred attendees with guest musician, Monette Sudler, who impressed the crowd with her incredible vocals and bass. Needless to say, by the end of the evening, most were up and dancing, celebrating on our freshly-patched concrete floors. 

As renditions of “Peace Train” and “Proud Mary” echoed through our 5,000 square foot space, the energy proved simply infectious. As we looked around to take it all in, we just couldn’t believe our eyes. Here was our home, not yet fully complete in its renovations, but still bursting with life and creativity. With art on the walls and art in the minds of all our supporters, it was impossible not to see our dreams materializing (For a few more photos, click here or here for a brief re-cap by Mt. Airy Patch and WHYY Newsworks). This was the moment we had been waiting so long for, and, for that, we sincerely thank everyone who made the night possible. Remember, without YOU there is no US!

The next day, we were privileged enough to garner a table at the Mt. Airy Village Fair. Here, our artists created full body portraits for those interested, and they even took a moment or two to freehand a few impromptu tracings of our board members. As we chatted, along Carpenter Lane, with various members of our community, the need for Art and change in our neighborhood was only reinforced. Mt. Airy has always been one of those creative, artistically-sustainable communities, and, frankly, we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here.

Last weekend, on both Saturday and Sunday, we hosted POST (Philadelphia Open Studio Tours), one of the premier open studio tour events in the country. MAAG was even a destination point to catch the trolley that was ushering POST attendees up and down the Germantown Avenue corridor. With over 18  emerging and professional artists displaying their work in our ample space, there was literally something for everyone. A variety of mediums was represented including clay, painting, sculpture, jewelry, photography, woodwork, leather goods, handcrafts, and more. With over 300+ attendees across the two-day span, MAAG was both excited and proud to be part of such an amazing and successful event. To all those who came out to support the local arts, thank you! You’re support and generosity is what allows us to keep our doors open!

Currently, we’re prepping for our first art installation exhibit “Recapturing Memories.” This exhibit, which will open on Friday, October 21st from 6-8pm, will feature the work of Meei-Ling Ng, an artist already known for her bird and nature paintings. However, Ng will bring the same command of her two-dimensional work to a three-dimensional, interactive installation, using mostly recycled and raw material. The exhibit will run from October 21st to November 18th with gallery hours from 12-6pm, Thursday through Sunday. Be sure to come and check it out; even bring a friend or two!

All that being said, we still need your help! As we expand, further focused on our three guiding principles of Community, Connections, and Art, so does our workload! So, we’re looking for a few good volunteers willing to help with marketing, grant writing, blogging, and web design and developing. If interested, send us a message here and we’ll be happy to get back to you at our earliest convenience.

Most importantly, thank you for all the initial support and success. We’re proud to be your community center for the visual and performing Arts, and we want to ensure that position for many years to come! Yet, we need your continued support and spirit to move us forward. So, whaddya’ say: Come share in the vision and dream with us.