by Len Lear
Several remarkably talented local women, including some who are handicapped, will kick off “A Celebration of Women in Art and Music” at the Pigs Alley Gallery in Flourtown on Friday, March 13, 6:30 – 8 p.m. To celebrate Women’s History Month and honor local women making a difference with their art, the gallery is hosting a concert with Julie Snyder and violinist Guna Pantele and a show of paintings, photographs and prints by artists Maura Matthews, Danielle Snyderman Miller, Judith Ross and Amy Carson Smith.
Springfield Township resident Dr. Julie Snyder is a two-time Grammy award-winning soprano and founder of the 17-year-old Snyder School of Singing in Erdenheim, as well as an adjunct professor at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance. As a performer, Dr. Snyder is equally at home in choral, opera, operetta, musical theater and recital settings and has appeared with The New York Philharmonic, Opera Philadelphia and many others.
She currently serves as section leader, soloist and children’s choir director at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill and recently completed a five-year tenure as a core member of The Crossing. Dr. Snyder will be accompanied by violinist Guna Pantele, a native of Latvia who now calls Wyndmoor home.
In 2001 Guna was invited to study Religious Education at Fordham University in Bronx, N.Y., where she received her M.A. and advanced professional diploma. From 2010 through 2019 Guna and her husband, pianist Andrew Puntel, worked at St. Genevieve Catholic Church in Flourtown. Guna ministered there as a liturgical violinist, cantor and children’s choir director.
In 2012 Guna was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and in 2017 with breast cancer. Throughout the trials, Guna found her “path of wholesome and mindful living,” she said. Now Guna is happy that she is off all the medications. Last year she got her certification as a Health and Wellness Coach from the Health Coach Institute of America. She now works with cancer survivors who are afraid their health won’t last. Guna helps them to live a hopeful, healthy and wholesome life after cancer.
Flourtown resident Dr. Danielle Snyderman Miller, assistant professor with Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, is a full-time MD with a successful lifestyle photography business, “Danielle Miller Random Acts of Pictures.” She donates 40% of every session to the MIP Foundation to support increased mental health services for teen oncology patients.
“As a geriatrician who has had the privilege of being trusted to walk with families during the most difficult and vulnerable times in their lives,” Dr. Miller told us, “I’ve always been impressed with their resilience and ability to make new, beautiful memories, even in the darkest of times …
“My interest in photography mirrors my interest in medicine. To feel and capture the humanity in people as they face transitions in their lives — an engagement, a wedding, a new baby, a family conquering illness and even facing end-of-life care — is a gift.”
Amy Carson Smith moved to Philadelphia from Detroit for dream jobs with Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. She’s now a Glenside resident and full-time artist, combining her eye for design, passion for interiors and love of animals into charming pet portraits. Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2016, Amy donates a portion of her print sales to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society “in honor of all those battling the disease and fighting for a cure.”
Maura Matthews, owner of the Pigs Alley Gallery, loves to share her passion for painting with others, including Judith Ross, a former quilter and current painting student with Alzheimer’s disease. Her beautiful seascapes will be on view celebrating creativity and a phenomenal community.
In her own stunning work, Matthews depicts scenes with a palette knife, which lends texture and heft to her work. The Maryland native told us in a previous interview, “I’ve always loved art and can still remember picking ‘cornflower blue’ as my favorite crayon color in kindergarten. As a child, I loved drawing floor plans and rearranging my dollhouse.” After teaching English in Japan, Maura worked for the Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet and spent six years working at Penn’s School of Design.
The public is invited to the opening reception Friday, March 13, 6:30 – 8 p.m. The gallery will be open Saturday, March 14, and Sunday, March 15, noon – 3 p.m. In addition, Maura will lead a “Paint Your Pet” workshop Sunday, March 15, 1 to 3 p.m. Register at firstname.lastname@example.org with a photo of your pet.Pigs Alley Gallery is at 806 Bethlehem Pike, Flourtown. More details at 267-258-6073 or www.pigsalley.com. Len Lear can be reached at email@example.com