Past, Present, Future

A Message From Arleen Olshan

I had a difficult experience last night. For the first time in a year, Linda and I walked together on Mt. Airy Avenue past our former building for the Mt. Airy Art Garage. We witnessed the lights being on, our logo being removed from the glass front and people working in the space.

As I looked at the walls that were the gallery, the pod that our architect designed for the bathrooms, the studio walls that were 1/2 rippled plastic, seeing the light and openness of the space with the fans turning, I realized how my heart was broken when this lovely creation was taken from us. The move probably affected all the artists, art-loving neighbors, and supporters who helped us build out the location too. The six years we celebrated the arts in that space was beyond all of our dreams and expectations. We have moved forward and are rebuilding, but neither of us expected the emotion that poured out when seeing the property once again.

So, where are we now? How have we been doing during this period of transition? The Mt. Airy Art Garage is currently operating a fine art and handcraft gallery at 6622 Germantown Avenue, in partnership with Mt. Airy USA. We are waiting for the promised buildout of our new space (across the street) at 6651– 59 Germantown Ave. with the current proposal for completion being Fall 2018. This new location will be transformed into a multi-use space for MAAG with new apartments above our digs.

We have been very active this year in local public schools, working with children on murals, partnering in a variety of artistic endeavors and businesses in our area. We have partnered with Philadelphia Theater Company and will deepen that partnership in 2018. We continue to work with artists of all disciplines, spreading creativity into Pleasant Playground, showing work in City Hall, and, of course, highlighting the work of Northwest artists, from emerging to professional.

Next week, Saturday, August 26th, we will be hosting our first fundraiser at Summit Presbyterian Church with Never Gonna Give You Up (particularly appropriate today) 80s Dance Party with DJ Robert Drake. We have reduced the ticket price to $20 to make it more affordable for everyone. It will be a great night of dancing, making new friends, and enjoying donations from local businesses like Earth, Bread, and Brewery, McMennamins, Night Kitchen, High Point, and more. Remember, in supporting MAAG, you are supporting community artists — your friends, neighbors and family members.

Visit us at the Gift Shop. We are open Wednesday–Saturday, from 12–6 PM. All are welcome. Artists, continue to bring your work. We will make space to show and market your creations. And tell your friends.

See you this Saturday night where we’ll all come together for the 80s and for MAAG and “Rock The Casbah.”

— Arleen Olshan

 

 

 

There’s A Story To Be Told About Community Of Pride — It Starts With The Kids At Emlen.

There is a story to be told, and it’s unfolding at Eleanor C. Emlen School, a public school with lack of access to the arts. A public school where the children are guaranteed one meal a day, where many kids walk to school. But dreams are happening and possibilities are being introduced as the children immerse themselves in the creativity of the visual arts, (performing arts an unexpected bonus), while we add on the critical literacy component in Phase 2. Hope and opportunity, along with pride and tears of joy and celebration, are opening new doors — led by artists from the Mt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG), teachers from Emlen, an inspired principal, Ms. Tammy Thomas, and, of course, the most amazing class of 4th and 5th grade kids ever.

The first word is children, the next word is pride, followed by creativity and making dreams happen. Year 1 of the Community of Pride (COP) Mural Project has been a year of exploration — talking, drawing, creating unique personal artwork incorporating self pride, family pride, and community pride. Finding artistic safe space that is accepting and creative. But even more… the stories:

· Denise Veronick, Emlen lead teacher, during the mural dedication: “We didn’t pick the best students (to be in the COP Project). We didn’t pick those with the highest grades or best attendance. We chose the ones we felt needed it the most, would be impacted the most, would affect their lives the most. I learned many important lessons. First, everyone is an artist in their own way. Everyone loves when another appreciates their work. These kids were brave and, in the end, reaped the benefits of putting themselves out there.

The group that came together to create this mural couldn’t have been more diverse. With our common goal in mind and our various abilities on display we created a beautiful and meaningful work of art. This is not something that happens in the School District of Philadelphia. This may have been a once in a lifetime opportunity for these young people. They learned to work with people who are very different from them. We shared a mutual respect for our differences. Even though I think we all witnessed the great learning opportunities throughout our time together, I can’t help but think of the lessons these students will take with them into their futures.”

· Touissant: “Toussaint came to Emlen as a 4th grader in the Autistic Support class. He was quiet and seemed to defer to the slightly older and slightly bolder children. In fact, I rarely heard him speak. I chose Toussaint to participate in this project as a 5th grader because of his artistic ability. When he put his mind to a project he saw it through to the end. He put all he had into his drawings, using every bit of space on the paper and using color like a pro.

As the project got started we watched Toussaint bloom into a whole new person. His confidence grew before our eyes. He made friends with a few students finding shared interests such as football and Pokemon. He was actually having full conversations, but that was only one example of his confidence. One class period we were going over a Powerpoint that consisted of words and pictures. When asked for a volunteer to read Toussaint’s hand shot up. (I knew he could not read all the words but he wanted to try.) He stood proudly and read the words out loud as I whispered them to him. He was able to put himself out there because he trusted the group to not make fun of him. He took a giant step in his social confidence that day. Plus he ended up selling his original framed piece.”  — Denise Veronick, teacher.
·  Ishaaq: “Ishaaq came to Emlen for 5th grade. He was a student with limited academic ability and many behavior problems. The first few months of school his teacher complained that he did no school work — all he did was draw all day. We later found out that he couldn’t do the work so he did what he did best, draw.

Whenever Ishaaq came to work on the mural he had perfect behavior and worked harder than anyone else. He had found his niche at Emlen School. His two drawings were a prominent part of the mural. Had he not been a part of this group I fear the growth we saw in June would not have happened. He carried himself with pride, his behavior was completely turned around and his school work was getting done. I saw him the morning of his 5th Grade Move Up Ceremony, he was bursting with pride and looking forward to getting awards in front of his classmates. (I gave him an Art Award and his teacher gave him a Most Improved Award)” — Denise Veronick, teacher.

Celebratory breakfast honoring the participants at Emlen for Mural Dedication Day.

· Naomi: Naomi showed she had a flair for showing what pride meant to her. She drew a picture of her uncle who is a firefighter along with his fire truck. She spoke about how proud she and her family are of her uncle. She also drew an excellent picture of a hip-hop dancer. This drawing captured the attention from an adult who wanted to own this drawing. They negotiated a price, discussed time spent and value, Naomi signed her work, and both walked away happy.

· Mom, crying at mural dedication: “I am so happy that my child is going to Emlen. Thank you so much for doing this.”

And yet, there was more… what we lovingly refer to as the “icing on the cake”:

MAAGs exhibition of “Having Our Say” at PTC! Kids are loving every minute.

· Free tickets and a bus to see “Having Our Say” at the Philadelphia Theater Company (PTC) was a highlight. Thank you PTC for your partnership with MAAG! Most of the students had never been to see a live play. They were all dressed up and on their best behavior. They made us all proud! And at the end of the performance they all got to see MAAGs art exhibition in the gallery. Even better, one child texted her Mom during the entire show — it was her first time ever going to a live performance in a theatre. And Mom said, for her daughter’s birthday, they were next going to see “Wicked,” and we were sworn to secrecy!

For most of these kids, it was their first time for live theatre. And they turned it out! Proud of YOU!

· Art At City Hall student showcase: A special invitation from the Philadelphia Office of Arts and Culture to showcase the work of the children from the COP Mural Project where art is making a difference in the community. Exhibition runs from August 7 – Sept. 29 with the reception on Wed., Sept. 27 in Rm 116.

Hip Hop Girl — SOLD!

· Young artists selling their work: We never saw it coming. Framed original artwork, ready to go to City Hall, were all over the COP artroom. Two students sold their work. So, next year, part of the program will involve framing all artwork, creating their own artists bio’s, with sale prices attached. In short, curating and selling their work!

So, you may ask, what’s next? We can barely contain ourselves we are just that excited. As children chase the teachers and principal at Emlen to be in Phase 2 starting this September, we proudly announce we are adding a literacy component. You will be hearing more about the Community of Pride Mural and Literacy Project.

Just know this. Maybe, just maybe, you may be able to attend Emlen’s “Welcome Back to School” night on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 5:15 pm. Mt Airy Art Garage will be launching Phase 2 and featuring Arielle Baril (now 14 years old) who will be telling her story and singing for the entire school. Don’t know who she is? Well, check this out, and believe that you WILL want to be at Emlen on that night.

Stay tuned. There’s so much more going on. You won’t want to miss a thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s A New Era For the Mt. Airy Art Garage

Community and creativity are truly an antidote to these challenging times. We, at the Mt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG), have had our own unique challenges. We’ve done some grieving, some assessing, some growing. We’ve started a strategic plan (thank you Dragonfly Partners!). We’ve also been quietly busy — new partnerships such as those with Philadelphia Theatre Company for “Having Our Say.” (Stay tuned as that partnership deepens.) We especially want you to know we are alive and well, we are moving forward, you’ll be hearing a lot more from us, and we want to hear from you.

Our Community of Pride Mural Project is forging ahead as children at both Houston and Emlen Schools are now working on their murals which explore the question “What Makes You Proud?” As this project continues, the next phase will add a literacy component!

Plus, our new flagship location and display space at 6622 Germantown Ave. (right next to Little Jimmie’s Bake Shop), is a joy to behold! Filled with unique handcrafts and fine art, all work is original and created by local artists. Some 30 artists, in a myriad of mediums, are showing and offering their goods for sale. Do come and visit.

We especially want to thank some key partners who have helped us make it through this difficult transition:

· The City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund — your support for the last two years has allowed us the breathing room we so badly needed. We are grateful.

· Mt. Airy USA (MAUSA)— we’re so proud to have you as a partner. When we did not know what our next steps would be this past August, MAUSA stepped up. You have provided us with meeting and event space at the Hub; you provided our flagship location where we now reside; and a future home. We urge all our supporters to “show your love” by attending their upcoming fundraiser on Sat., April 1. As MAAG supporters you’ll even get a 50% discount. Just hit the link directly below and make sure you use the promo code MAAG!

We at MAAG intend to keep the momentum going. We want you to know we are back and moving forward with our eyes planted firmly on the future.

So come on by. Ask questions. Share your ideas. Stay tuned for community meetings we host. Grow your creative soul with us. We are back.

 

 

It’s Been A Roller Coaster Of A Year

We’ve explored gender with students at Moore College of Art in our International Women’s Day Celebration. We were honored to have the first citywide showing of My Son Matters! — a photo exhibition by Denise Allen that explored stereotypes and racism with positive imagery. We touched our community to make it a better place for children and elders with the Make Art Grow Food Project. More collaborations, more exhibitions, a small dream growing.

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(c) Michael Albany

Then we were faced with the dilemma of needing to find a new home. Unexpected challenges, momentary detours. We want to tell you, with smiles on our faces, that the Mt. Airy Art Garage will continue to grow in Mt. Airy.
 
We hope to have an exciting announcement next month about new partnerships and new beginnings. We know in our hearts that none of this would have happened  without your support.MAAG_Wall_Mural-001
 
We’re more experienced this time around. We’ve had successes beyond our wildest expectations. Each challenge has strengthened us and shown us that not only do we have community support, but there is a real need to continue this work.
 
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(c) Van Williams

Thank you for your continued support and confidence in our work, and all the appreciation you show.
 
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.
 
Sincerely,
 
Linda Slodki & Arleen Olshan
Relationships#10_LydiaNobles

(c) Lydia Nobles

 

 

The Mt. Airy Art Garage Launches A Campaign To Find A New Home

Doors Michael After-004

We have something important to share with you—our members, fellow artists, friends, supporters, our Northwest Community. Our lease will expire August 31, 2016, and unexpectedly, we have not been granted the option to renew it.

This means that, as we look toward next year, the Mt. Airy Art Garage will need to find a new home. It’s a big challenge—one we have every intention of meeting, with your support.

Just in 2015 alone, we engaged in more socially engaged art projects and creative thinking than ever before—My Son Matters!, the Gender Weave Project with Moore College, Make Art Grow Food , and a host of events, concerts, classes and gallery exhibitions. 2016 will see a city-wide quilt and fiber show. There will be more music, more murals and rain barrels, and more community projects. And that’s just for starters.

So we will be launching a major campaign to help us find a new home and for paid staff. With your help and commitment, together, we can do this.

Please Mark Your Calendars and Join Us

·      Community & Member Meeting, Thursday, Aug. 20, 7 pm at MAAG. Next steps.

·      ArtBash, Sat., Sept. 19, 6 pm featuring James Dupree, Music with Dena Underwood

Here’s What You Can Do Right Now To Help

·      Join or renew your membership

·      Make a donation.

·      Come to the community meeting where we will layout projections and next steps.

Fundraisers? Marketing mavens, video artists, word noodlers, connectors? Strategic planners? Realty lawyers and realtors? Accountants? Admins? Architects? We need you all now. Lend us your skills.  Step up and volunteer. Let’s push ahead into this new phase together.

We know we can forge through this and move forward.

Linda Slodki, President and Cofounder

 

 

 

 

Art Really Does Change Everything…What A Great Year!

Nice setup for food and drinkThanks To All For Your Ongoing Support!
In five years we’ve seen pop-up’s, build-outs, completion of
the Solomon Levy Gallery, studio rentals, classes, Artists’ Garage Sales,
Annual Art Auctions, Rain Barrel Projects, exhibitions, musical performances, and much more. All with your support! Let’s keep dreaming together.
KathyRobinson WEB

(c) Kathy Robinson

  Big News! We want to inform you of our latest hurdle and achievement! We are now proud to announce that MAAG is a standalone nonprofit registered with both the state and IRS as a tax-exempt 501c3. We can now forge ahead with grants previously closed to us. We want to thank Mt. Airy Community Services Corporation for being our fiscal sponsor. It’s been a wonderful partnership, and we couldn’t have gotten this far without their support and experience.
Long-Awaited Expansion
We expect our nonprofit status this will impact us in new ways, some of them still uncharted. We know we’ll need our own accountant and insurance policies. We’ll begin to staff our organization with salaried personnel. So, for starters, we want to expand our board with business experts who have a love of the arts. If this challenge excites you (as it does us), please send your resume to info@mtairyartgarage.org or call us at 215.242.5074.Gallery Rental-Sized
 
Support MAAG’s Annual Fund
We’re also asking you to support the Mt Airy Art Garage with an end-of-year donation to our Annual Fund. Every gift you give ensures we can continue to expand. 2015 will include a special “Grow Food/Make Art” intergenerational project MAAG is leading with Houston School, Homelink’s Elder Community, Earth Bread & Brewery, and other community partners focusing on creating art murals, nutrition, and sustainability. We are also partnering with Moore College for a special exhibition at MAAG, during Women’s History Month, called the “Gender Weave Project.” Photo Clubs, Writers’ Clubs, The Swerve, musical performances, classes, Quiltapalooza’s…these are only the beginning. And your support makes all the difference. Become a member (if you haven’t already) or make a tax-deductible donation to our Annual Fund. Please donate now.
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Art Really Does Change Everything
We are humbled and filled with joy knowing we continue down the right road. Thanks to all who have donated their time and financial support, who appreciate, who create, who continue to dream with us. It is truly a life changer. So stay tuned, as we forge into 2015. There’s one thing you can count on. It’s going to be an exciting year ahead.IMG_5393-1
 
 
 
 

MAAG Launches Series Of Member Meetings As 5th Anniversary Approaches

Thank You Members and Supporters of the Mt. Airy Art Garage! 

On Wed. June 25th we had a wonderful turnout of members and community supporters eager to listen to our progress report and hopes for the future. This meeting is the first of a series that we will be holding as we move into celebrating MAAGs fifth year!

member meeting 2 We are so very pleased that many of you had questions and creative suggestions for our future as a vibrant arts organization in the Germantown Corridor. Folks had great ideas with constructive comments for MAAGs future visibility and organization. Board members spoke to upcoming Art Partnerships with neighboring universities in 2015, to Fall and Winter projections, and to MAAGs expansion. We now have a sound system which opens more doors of opportunity as a music and performance venue.

Participants stepped up and volunteered for many vital positions with MAAG—everything from helping to organize our upcoming September Silent Auction, to writing, to the daily tasks of staffing the gallery, to fundraising, to ongoing property maintenance…the list goes on. Do we still need your help? You bet we do! We need experienced graphic designers and marketing communications professionals, accountants, and others with solid skills willing to work on one project or several.

Member meetingWhen we completed our buildout, the work had only just begun. We need you even more now!

member meeting 3A number of members and supporters expressed their wish to help but couldn’t attend. Well, it’s not too late! Please email us at info@mtairyartgarage.org. Committees are forming and more gatherings will be coming. So email us, let’s talk about how you can help, and stay tuned.

Thank you all for your interest, commitment, and devotion to what we are trying to build at the Mt. Airy Art Garage.

In love and art,

The Board of MAAG

 

Special thanks to MAAG member Michael Albany for his photography of the event.

Big Changes Ahead For MAAG. We Need Your Input. We Need You Now.

Ceiling SplendorSpecial Member & Supporter Meeting—Wed., June 25, 6:30 pm

Can you believe it? The Mt. Airy Art Garage is turning five years old this fall. It’s been an amazing journey and so gratifying—from our earliest 2009 Art Markets on Carpenter Lane, to a pop-up storefront exhibition, clothesline fundraisers in Ned Wolf Park and the build out of our glorious barn of a space (remember this famous pic on the left by Alix Passage?). Now we house changing exhibitions and events, monthly groups of writers, quilters, and visual artists, ongoing drawing groups, Quiltapaloozas, Poetry Slams, workshops, dances, and our resident artist studios.

We thank each and every one of you for your support, helping hands, belief and confidence in our vision for the Mt. Airy Art Garage. This continued expansion would not be possible without all of you. 

We are now at a crossroads for MAAG. We have some major decisions ahead of us and want to hear your feedback, suggestions, and concerns. We also want to share our vision for the future and the groundwork we are laying to implement an ongoing arts hub within and by our community.

In the same way, we started off in 2009 by calling neighborhood meetings of artists and art lovers to get your input and commitment, we are inviting you now to a member gathering at the Mt. Airy Art Garage at 6:30 pm, on Wednesday, June 25 to plan the next five years. And we can’t do this without you!

Think about what we’ve accomplished so far, and what the future could hold. Please join us in bringing about the next phase.

Linda & Arleen

 

“Ain’t I An Artist?” Empowering Yourself As An Artist: Embracing The Value Of Women In The Arts

The “Art of the Quilt” show at MAAG is glorious and the exhibition is up until April 25. It’s involving all types of quilters, from emerging to professional, from traditional to contemporary. But we’ve been particularly struck, especially for International Women’s Day, by the number of participants in this show who have conquered their own doubts about being artists. In short, they have empowered each other.

So, this Sunday at 3 pm, at 11 West Mt. Airy Ave., we want to talk about it. And we’re confident you’ll want to be in the mix. This conversation will address art forms associated with women’s work and their place in fine art. We’ll pose the question “What puts the art in quilt?” “Does function equal fine art?”

Join our distinguished panel of textile, quilt, and fiber artists — Sarah Bond, Diana Trout, Carol Loeffler, Elena DiLapi, and Heather Ojiie as we discuss the role that women play in enriching visual culture. Read on for bios on our panel. 

$10 at the door.

Panelists and Bios

Sarah Bond picSarah Bond is a quilt artist and a teacher. Her art revolves mostly around traditional quiltmaking. She likes functional work; she likes making things that people can use and live with. She likes to play with traditional quilt designs and experiment with color and variation. Her teaching style focuses on making even the most complicated patterns accessible and achievable for her students. She is a resident artist at Mt. Airy Art Garage and pursues her quilt evangelism through classes and the world-famous Quiltapalooza!

 

Elena DiLapi —Tailler Puertorriqueno, and Former Director, UPenn Women’s Center for 23 years.

photo of Carole LoefflerCarole Loeffler—Artist and Professor in the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Arcadia University. Carole is a native of New Jersey and received her B.F.A. from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and received her M.F.A. from University of South Florida in Tampa. Previously, she taught and directed the Foundations program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in the School of Art and Design. She is currently teaching Sculpture, Senior Seminar and coordinating the Foundations program at Arcadia University in the Performing Arts Department in Glenside, PA.  

While residing in the Midwest, Carole had numerous solo and group exhibitions in New York, St. Louis, Chicago, Cleveland, North Carolina, Indiana and Florida.  Since relocating to the East Coast, she has had regional exhibitions in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Philadelphia. Her work is driven by intuitive process and play with various materials. The precipitating work takes many forms including sculpture, painting and immersive installations.  

IMG_3480Diana Trout —Diana’s professional life is weighted equally between her twin passions for teaching and creating. Her stitched mixed media textiles, watercolor and bookarts have been exhibited nationally. Her artwork and articles have appeared in national magazines. Quilting is a hobby that offers a rich sandbox to play with color shape and texture. Trout’s book, Journal Spilling, Mixed Media Techniques for Free Expression is used by artists, art journalers and teachers. Trout trained in Painting and Printmaking at Pa. Academy of the Fine Arts. She is a life time learner and explorer. You can reach Diana at her blog, http://dianatrout.typepad.com/

photo of Heather UjiieHeather Ujiie — I grew up in a loft in Greenwich Village, New York City, in a family of artist educators, and my artistic career has been informed by a lively bohemian childhood. I currently live in Bucks County, PA and serve as an adjunct professor, teaching across disciplines in art & design at Moore College of Art & Design and Philadelphia University. I am both an artist and a designer, and my professional design experience includes designing for dance, theatre, and textile print design in New York City.  My textile installation work has been exhibited in The Hunterdon Museum of Art, The Racine Art Museum, and at the prestigious Wind Challenge Award Exhibition at the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial Museum. My work has also been included in exhibitions in the Cleveland Museum of Art, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, and The Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, and The Philadelphia International Airport. I also currently show my textile print design work at Flavor paper in New York, a high-end textile wall-covering company for modern interiors.

I hold a Bachelor of Science Degree in Visual Art from the State University of New Paltz, NY, an Art- Education Degree from Brooklyn College, and an Associates Degree in Textile Surface Design, from The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. I have over 15 years of experience as a textile designer, for the home furnishing market in New York City. My textile installation work has been exhibited in The Hunterdon Museum of Art, The Racine Art Museum, and at the prestigious Wind Challenge Award Exhibition at the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial Museum. My work has also been included in exhibitions in the Cleveland Museum of Art, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, and The Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, and The Philadelphia International Airport. My printed textile designs have had numerous clients including Flavor Paper, and The White House private residences for President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, Washington D.C. I also currently have a blossoming career as a nationally known artist.

We want to thank Valley Green Bank for their sponsorship to this event.

Valley Green Bank logo