Cocktails, and Dances, and Markets – Oh My!

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been hosting a slew of events: A Valentine’s Day Dance Party, a Winter Cocktail Fundraiser, a Funky February Art Market, and a handful of Artists’ Breakfast Clubs.

Undoubtedly, we’ve enjoyed these events just as much as the people who attended them. Whether we were dancing on our concrete floors for equality, enjoying the premiere of MAAG’s very-own theme song by St. Mad at the lovely home of Frank and Betsy Steel, or supporting local artists through conversation and collaboration, a great deal of laughter and fun was had.

Yet, in the midst of all these happenings, we’ve been pushing full steam ahead with one very substantial, serious goal in mind: Opening our doors full-time. However, before we can do that, we must first complete the second phase of our construction – our bathroom buildout.

Thanks to the generosity of those who attended our Winter Fundraiser (please see our “Thank You” letter here), as well as a $10,000 matching donation, we’ve been able to start this second phase which will include two handicap-accessible bathrooms.

Although this fundraiser catapulted us towards our goal, we’re not quite there yet. That being said, we still need your sustained support and generosity. If you haven’t donated to our Building Fund, please consider it by clicking on the aforementioned link or downloading this pledge form.


If you’ve already donated, please consider a second time ‘round. And if donations aren’t your thing, perhaps a membership is more your style. Regardless of which type of support you may choose, every donation (no matter how great or small) pushes us closer to opening full-time – and for that, we’re eternally grateful.

In that same spirit of giving, MAAG can promise you this: Our loyal and undying passion to enrich the Northwest community. Not only will MAAG be a place where artists gather to create, exhibit, teach, and sell their work, but it will also be a locale for community, in all its diverse and wonderful forms. Plus, here is just a taste of some upcoming events:

  • Workshops and Classes
  • Art Installations/Gallery Shows
  • Artists’ Breakfast Clubs
  • Solomon Levy Gallery Opening and Exhibit
  • Mural Arts Program Community Paint Days
  • After-School Programming
  • Cabarets
  • Live Model Drawing and Painting
  • Quilters’ Circles
  • Apprenticeship Programs for Young Adults
  • Photography Shoots
  • Writers’ Weekends
  • Poetry Readings

As Dorothy once said, “There’s no place like home.” So, with that sentiment in mind, please contribute whatever you can today and bring us closer to establishing our permanent artistic space – a place we can surely call “home.”

Second Annual Funky February Weekend Celebrates Local Artists

What is Funky February at the Mt. Airy Art Garage? Why it’s a celebration of local talent! Want to find out what some of your favorite artists have been up to? Then stop by 11 West Mt. Airy Avenue this weekend to celebrate the arts, and support your local visual and performing artists.


Friday night, Feb. 24 at 7 pm we’ll launch the weekend with our Artists’ Café—a place to hear what other artists are up to and share information. You know us, MAAG is the place where artists come to tell their stories…people like Charles Todd (Mt. Airy Custom Furniture), Karen Lightner (Philadelphia Center For The Book), Jon Laidacker (MuralArts), Profiles Studio, Gravers Lane Gallery, Kathleen Bonnano (Musehouse), and more! $5 suggested donation at the door and open to all artists.


Then Saturday, Feb. 25 from  noon–6pm and Sunday, Feb. 26 from noon–5pm celebrate the new winter creations of our member artists. Glass blowers, painters, photographers, ceramic artists, you name it. Our gallery will be stocked full by our members to delight your eyes. Admission is free and open to the entire family.

Funky February Friday Cafe

MAAG’s 2nd Annual
Funky February Weekend
February 24-26

go ahead and mark that date down. While we are waiting, Diana Trout here. I’ll be doing the occasional post for MAAG.)

We’ll be rockin’ it in West Mt Airy starting with the Friday Night Cafe. No February slump this weekend. Friday’s Cafe is all about our community and the artists within that circle. Here are a couple of pictures from last year.

The Friday Cafe talks were such fun last year … here is MAAG artist and Dumpster Diver Ellen Benson with a before and after on one of her found object sculptures.

 Ahem, there was a dreadful picture of me talking about MamaCITA absolutely no reflection member and photographer Alix Passage (but since I’m writing, you won’t see that picture).

Keep you eyes here! More to come.

Breakfast Club This Thursday Feb. 16…It Just Keeps Getting Better

Breakfast Club Coordinator, Paula Mandel, fills you in:

Well, we had another stimulating Artists’ Breakfast! We had two local artists present their stories as well as some of their work. The first was Steve Segal, an editor, wordsmith, visual art director and designer of books in addition to being a writer. He combines form and function believing that “language is the art.” Steve currently works primarily with small book publishers of fantasy and fiction although previously he has run magazines. In his job at Quirk books, he edits books, designs book covers and serves as curator as he matches creators with projects (often using the online social gallery communities such as “”).

Steve shared several books that he had developed with the group. The absolute show-stopper was a stunning and creative boxed accordion book entitled “The Thorn and the Blossom” by Theodora Goss. It contains two stories utilizing the same characters. When read in one direction it conveys a love story;  the other, a murder mystery. This is modeled after one-of-a-kind books created by artists. It had just been published the day before and made a huge impression on the group.

Discussions about the costs of creating books and projects ensued along with marketing ideas. Many questions followed and ideas were percolating.

An equally impressive artist, Arleen Olshan ( has her studio set up in the Mt. Airy Art Garage. She proceeded to describe her training at Fleisher, PAFA, and PCA and multiple paths she had travelled in the art world which led her to creating custom hand-sewn hand-dyed leatherwork, utilizing gemstones and glass as decorative inclusions. It all began years ago when she needed a pair of sandals! Having recently retired from her day job as a drug and alcohol counselor with women and children in recovery, she set about working on her life-long dream to establish MAAG, a community-based center for the visual and performing arts. Arleen shared some of her accomplished representational portraits with the group and talked about utilizing our local shop PROFILES (, in Chestnut Hill to create huge digital scans of her work.

As necessary tools and suppliers become scarce for Arleen’s craft, she mentioned a need to replace a tool used for punching holes in the leather. Someone mentioned that there is a shop in or around Northern Liberties which utilizes digital drawings to create 3D tools from a hard plastic.

Our next MAAG Breakfast Club meeting will be as always, the third Thursday of the month 9-10:30 am. February’s date is this Thursday, February 16. See you then!



Valentine’s Dance This Sunday, Feb. 12!

Design by Lorraine Dunn


A message from our guest blogger Diana…

Valentine’s Day weekend is the celebration of love for some, and the cause of lament for others.  I’m not talking about that special sense of loathing shoppers and singletons suddenly find for chocolate, chalky hearts and all things pink.  It’s a time of year that we remember that even though love and commitment know no gender, not all couples are allowed to marry.

As we come closer to the day where all couples may wed, at Mt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG) we celebrate all couples’ right to wed on February 12, National Freedom to Marry Day.  MAAG’s Valentine’s Day Dance Party begins at 4 pm and ends at 8.  $10 at the door and the musical stylings of DJ Lucky 7 will keep you dancing all night long.  Come for the dancing, stay for the fun.  All proceeds go to MAAG’s building fund.  Say “I do” to MAAG’s Valentine’s Dance Party!

And come delight in the fabulous Valentine’s cake created for us by Little Jimmie’s Bakery where the baked goods make us swoon.

Help Develop the Theme for the Germantown Mural…Join Us Jan. 14 at the Artmaking Workshop

Photo by Steve Weinik

If you’ve been reading our blog, then you’re aware the MuralArts Program has begun the process for the Germantown mural at 310 W. Chelten Ave. We invite you to share your vision for this mural—whether you create a drawing, bring a photo, share some historical information, bring a sample of your artwork, or bring something special to share with MuralArts. What does Germantown mean to you? For me, I have a vision of the Germantown High School Stained Glass Project students being represented on the wall—their work, their photos, their victories. And I have a funny feeling they just may be there.

Our next community artmaking workshop will be this Saturday, Jan. 14, at 5534 Pulaski, from 10am – 2pm. No you don’t have to stay for four hours. Stop by, make your contribution, hang with your neighbors and artists. Please come, bring your families, your neighbors. For those of you who are teachers, bring your students. All ages—the only requirement is spirit and enthusiasm, no artistic experience required! Just art materials, tables to draw and create, and high energy.

Spread the word; don’t miss this opportunity to create something so very special.

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

Arleen Olshan

Kevin Bennett




Countdown To The Hard Hat Ball!


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We’re in high gear getting ready for this Saturday, Sept. 17 at 11 West Mt. Airy Ave. So let’s cut to the chase and give you a flavor of what you can expect this Saturday:


  • Doors open at 6:30 for the pre-gala reception. $40 includes the concert, some lovely libations (breweries and vineyards have been busy), and desserts (a special surprise from Maureen Gregory Catering!)
  • Concert starts at 7:30 pm. Adults $25, kids under 12 $5.
  • Sharon Katz has told me they are having some very special, well-known guest musicians. I’m sworn to secrecy. You’ll just have to find out for yourself.
  • Parking—our friends at Valley Green Bank gave the green light for you to park in their lot at 7226 Germantown Ave.
  • Area restaurants are offering a 15% discount if you go there before or after the concert—places like Wine Thief Bistro (food only), Earth, Bread, and Brewery (food only), Mi Puebla, Trolley Car Diner, and more. The complete list is at Just mention our name and the Ball!

Artful hard hats by Ellen Benson, video and camera crews, photography by Alix Passage, members of  MAAG, and more! Best of all, come see how far we’ve come and share in the dream. After all, it’s YOUR community center for visual and performing artists.

Neither Rain Nor Snow…

Stopped the Mt. Airy Art Garage From It’s Grand Opening Over 225 people stopped into the Mt. Airy Art Garage, a community-based artist cooperative, on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 542 W. Carpenter Lane. Although snowy and damp, families and friends met to enjoy and purchase unique, one-of-a-kind gifts for the holidays— custom leatherwork, jewelers, mixed media and fiber artists, sculptors, photographers, painters, winter “art garb” and a host of other fine art and handcrafts. High Point Café, the Night Kitchen, Baker Street, and Weavers Way donated mouthwatering cakes, coffee, and treats to nourish the palate and warm everyone up. Live music fed the soul—Slippery Slope led a full-scale, foot-stomping, swaying “hootenanny,” Richard Dreuding warmed spirits with beautiful acoustic guitar, while the violin playing of Elizabeth Shaak and Hollis Payor put smiles on everyone.

What’s next? Come check us out this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12 and 13 from 10 am – 6 pm at 542 West Carpenter Lane—more delicious food from our sponsors in the Northwest (Bredenbecks and Mi Puebla, for starters), music from Terri Rambo and others. And, best of all, each weekend will feature all new artists from the Northwest! Visit us, shop, and share in the Holiday spirit. Admission is free and open to the public. And mark your calendars for Dec. 19 and 20, same time, same place! Join in our Holiday vision—meet the artists, buy wonderful things, watch us blossom and grow. Come to the Art Market! Friend us on Facebook, or visit us at