Finally, outdoor shows by local artists at Hill site

by Len Lear
Posted 4/28/21

For the past 13-and-a-half months art lovers have had to be content with viewing art on screens, virtually, but with more and more people getting vaccinated, lovers of fine art will actually be able to get up close and personal with the works of their favorite local artists.

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Finally, outdoor shows by local artists at Hill site

Posted

For the past 13-and-a-half months art lovers have had to be content with viewing art on screens, virtually, but with more and more people getting vaccinated, lovers of fine art will actually be able to get up close and personal with the works of their favorite local artists. For example, two Chestnut Hill artists, Paula Marcela Andrade and Amir Lyles, of the Artist & Craftsman art supply store at 7926 Germantown Ave., have organized “Art in the Courtyard,” an exhibit of the works of many local artists in the courtyard right outside the store.

“We hope to be able to put on these shows every two weeks from now on,” said Andrade. “We do not have the date for the first show yet, but it will be soon. For more specifics, readers can contact me.” (Contact information at end of article)

This initiative is intended to create a venue to showcase the work of so many talented artists in this area. The Artist and Craftsman employees felt they had the perfect space right outside their store to create seasonal little fairs. Our art is professional and affordable, although we welcome all artists, not just professionals”

Andrade, the 40-something mom of a 13-year-old son, has taught Spanish to preschoolers at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill and has been painting since she was a little girl wanting to emulate her big sister. “My sister was taking painting lessons and would not allow me to take art lessons with her,” Andrade said. “I was always the annoying younger sister wanting to do what my older sister did. My sister wanted this to be her 'special thing,' so when she wasn't watching, I would paint her canvases. I thought she wouldn't notice, and of course, she did!”

The native of Curico, Chile, came to the U.S. as a foreign exchange student in Ohio, then stayed on and received her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Columbus College of Art & Design. After graduating, she worked for Prescott Hall Publishing, photoshopping artworks and hand-painting wallpaper for an Ohio design company.

“Curico is a small town. It is the agricultural area of Chile with many wine valleys, large orchards and beautiful mountains. Chile is such a beautiful country. No matter where in Chile you are, you can always rest your eyes on the mountains or valleys.”

Paula moved from Ohio to Florida to be closer to her family but eventually settled in Philadelphia, where she has spent the last nine years either teaching art or Spanish to children. Work and the demands of motherhood kept the paint brushes at bay for a couple of years. But she was moved to pick them up again after her father died in January, 2018, two days shy of his 80th birthday, from a heart attack. “I felt such a sense of urgency after his death,” said Andrade, who wound up in Chestnut Hill because “I wanted a safe place for my son and me. We fell in love with the cobblestones, historical buildings and centenary trees here.”

Andrade told us in an earlier interview that as a child, she would take such a delight collecting interesting things and looking at them over and over. “I collected seeds and made necklaces with them. I had a huge collection of paper napkins from all over the world; silk napkins were my favorite. And I loved rocks and river stones. I kept them under my bed, and when they got insanely big, my mom ended my collection. I come from a family of creative individuals, and now my little boy has the gift of being creative … If I died and went to heaven, my heaven would have an endless supply of art materials, and free of cost, of course!

“I love details and patterns. I see the world in patterns. It could be patterns on a wall, antiques, textiles, needlepoint, cobblestones, rocks, patterns of buildings, especially abandoned ones. I see these buildings on my trips to Center City from Wyndmoor station or St. Martin’s.”

Elizabeth Coady contributed to this article. For more details and for any local artists who would like to participate in “Art in the Courtyard” shows, contact andrade.46.av@gmail.com, @paulamarcelaandrade or @amlyles_visualartist. Len Lear can be reached at lenlear@chestnuthilllocal.com

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