by Sally Cohen

The Morris Arboretum and Woodmere Art Museum, two of Chestnut Hill’s major cultural institutions, are collaborating for the outdoor exhibition, “Take a Seat! Adirondack Chairs Re-Interpreted,” which will open May 31 and continue through Labor Day.

Artists have been invited to re-interpret the Adirondack chair, whether to paint it, redecorate it, redesign it, re-carve it, reassemble it or just do something fabulous with one of America’s great outdoor classics. Seventy works of art, in chair form, will be showcased throughout the garden at Morris Arboretum and at Woodmere Art Museum.

Sister Margie Thompson, an Associate Professor of Art and the Coordinator of the Arts Programs at Chestnut Hill College, painted this colorful chair that is in the exhibit.

The 37 artists chosen for the Morris Arboretum/Woodmere “Take a Seat!” exhibition offer an impressive variety of disciplines and talent:

•Arona Reiner, an artist based in Israel, shows her work locally at the Carol Schwartz Gallery in Chestnut Hill; she was in Philadelphia in March for a book signing and created her chairs while in town.

•After successful careers designing interiors, fabrics and wall coverings, Murrie Gayman began creating huge murals for public spaces utilizing scraps of antique barn wood. His wood working talents played a role in the creation of his Adirondack chairs.

•Sister Margie Thompson is an Associate Professor of Art and the Coordinator of the Arts Programs at Chestnut Hill College. Her painting style uses heightened color and brushstrokes to convey a sense of energy and sacred presence in the landscape.

•Philadelphia-based artist Estelle Carraz-Bernabei is an abstract painter whose mixed-media works focus on earth and sky elements.

•Recognized by the Mural Arts Program, street artist Juan Dimida’s signature work has a graphic, cartoon-inspired look that is likely to make viewers smile.

•Sean Martorana is an artist to watch who founded THE STUDIO and has his own line of paintings, designs, prints and clothing/accessories.

•David Robinson is an environmental artist with installations across the U.S. who illustrates a unique and skilled craftsmanship.

The Adirondack chairs will be on exhibit at Morris Arboretum and Woodmere Art Museum from May 31 through Sept. 3. A grand opening will take place at both institutions on May 31 from 4 to 8 p.m. This exhibit is made possible in part by Morris Arboretum’s Madeleine K. Butcher Fine Arts Endowment and Chestnut Hill Hospital.

Murrie Gayman painted these chairs which he refers to as “Adiron-deco.”

The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is located at 100 East Northwestern Ave. The 92-acre horticulture display garden features a spectacular collection of mature trees in a beautiful and colorful landscape. The Arboretum includes numerous picturesque spots such as a formal rose garden, historic water features, a swan pond and the only remaining freestanding fernery in North America.

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Housed in a 19th-century stone Victorian mansion on six acres, Woodmere Art Museum first opened its doors to the public in 1940. The building, grounds and the nucleus of the permanent collection are the benefactions of Charles Knox Smith (1845 – 1916), who wished “to awaken the spirit of, the appreciation of, and the knowledge of art … in the City of Philadelphia and surrounding territory.” Today, the permanent collection consists of more than 3,000 works of art, celebrating the art and artists of Philadelphia.

Woodmere’s core collection includes important paintings by renowned artists such as Edward Redfield, Daniel Garber, Walter E. Schofield, Benjamin West, Frederic Edwin Church, Violet Oakley, Arthur B. Carles and many more. Woodmere’s nine galleries and salons, including a grand rotunda and the Helen Millard Children’s Gallery, provide space for exhibitions and programs. In the George D. Widener Studio, a converted carriage house, a year-round roster of classes provides art training for children and adults.

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