Arts center re-opens as Community Arts Phoenixville

The exterior of Community Arts Phoenixville on Bridge Street.
The exterior of Community Arts Phoenixville on Bridge Street. BRIAN BINGAMAN — DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA
There are opportunities for children and their caregivers to bond at Community Arts Phoenixville.
There are opportunities for children and their caregivers to bond at Community Arts Phoenixville. SUBMITTED PHOTO

When Phoenix Village Art Center closed in March, the future of the space at 207 Bridge St., Phoenixville, was uncertain.

“There was quite an uproar to keep it an arts center,” said Kristen Pell, director of Community Arts Phoenixville, a new arts center which opened in that same downtown space on July 7. “We’re really in a great location — sandwiched between Steel City (Coffeehouse) and the Colonial Theatre.”

The non-profit organization in charge of Community Arts Phoenixville is Camphill Soltane, which formed in Chester County in the late ‘80s to expand opportunities for young adults with special needs. But don’t be confused, Community Arts Phoenixville is for everyone. “Our main goal is community integration and community involvement,” Pell said.

Believe it or not, their most successful event is a weekly 10 a.m. to noon Friday Play Group for children birth to age 4 and their caregivers. Different crafts, toys, stories and games (and coffee) are provided each week. “I think our first two weeks, we had 19 children and their parents,” said Pell, adding that the children seem to gravitate toward a teepee that’s set up for Play Group time. Suggested donation is $5.

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Rotating art shows appear in the Community Arts Phoenixville gallery every other month, and generally change at 7 p.m. during First Fridays. “Phototropic: Three Perspectives, featuring Jon Weary, Rebekah Callaghan and Ben Nelson, ” continues until another to-be-named, three-artist show arrives Sept. 1.

Except for Community Arts Phoenixville’s classes and workshops, many events are by donation. “Especially in summer, the goal is to get as many people in the door as possible,” Pell said.

Explore different facets of the arts with:

Friday Films: “Woman in Gold,” 7 to 10 p.m. Aug. 25. Starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds, “Woman in Gold” is based on the national bestselling novel “The Lady in Gold” by Anne-Marie O’Connor. It tells the story of Marie Altman’s struggle with the Austrian government for a painting she believes is rightfully hers. Bring your own snacks; popcorn will be provided. Suggested donation $5.

Exploring Florals in Paint and Pastel Workshop, 1 to 3 p.m. Aug. 26. Study the colors, shapes and textures, and draw various plants and flowers in the mediums of watercolor, pastel, colored pencil and ink. All materials will be provided. No experience necessary. Cost is $30. RSVP in advance appreciated, but drop-ins are welcome.

Songwriting Workshop with Heston, 4 to 5 p.m. Aug. 31. Heston is an international recording artist who calls Phoenixville home (check out www.hestonmusic.com). No musical experience is necessary.

Friday Films: “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” 7 to 10 p.m. Sept. 15. Bring your own snacks; popcorn will be provided. Suggested donation $5.

Moosic Concert Series, musicians to be announced, 7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 23. $15 suggested donation.

Poetry reading with local writers, 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 6.

Ongoing programming

Figure Drawing Night, 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 29, then moving to 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursdays starting in September. Coffee and tea, paper and pencils, and a clothed model will be provided. Feel free to being additional art materials. $10 suggested donation.

Parent and Child Art Exploration, 11 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Sept. 2. Cost is $8, no registration needed.

Community Folk Singing with Dann Pell, 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. Tuesdays starting in September. Sing along with traditional folk songs suitable for kids, seniors and everyone in between. $10 suggested donation.

“Caring through Creativity” Pet Portrait Volunteer Group, 2 to 4 p.m. the first Sunday of the month. Using a reference picture of a pet owned by someone living in a nursing home or hospital long-term care, you can draw, paint or sculpt a portrait of the animal in your own unique style. Your artwork becomes a special gift that person can keep with them in their room. All styles and skill levels are welcome to participate and you can work at your own pace.

Sign up for class

Except where noted, these classes run 10 weeks and begin in mid-September and run through November:

Painting for Basics with Rhona Candeloro, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Mondays or 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursdays. No experience necessary; everyone works at their own pace and level. Cost is $215.

Portrait Drawing with Martin Pieczonka, 1 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Cost is $240.

Beginner Still Life Drawing with Martin Pieczonka, 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays. Cost is $215.

Abstraction for All Levels with Mallary Johnson, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays. Cost is $215. Students are encouraged to work in the media of their choice. An optional recommended supply list will be provided before the class.

Projects in Paint with Kristen Pell, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Open to beginners and experts. Cost is $90 for a 10-week session or $10 per class. Materials are included.

Drawing and Painting Basics for Teens with Rhona Candeloro, 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays. Cost is $185. Materials are included.

Cartooning and Animation with Brooke Steytler, 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturdays. Cost is $155 for this youth/teen class. Materials are included.

Printmaking without a Press with Gillian Pokalo, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays. Cost is $250. A youth/teens class meets 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays for $225. Materials are included.

Art on Paper: Exploring Collage, Mixed Media and Watercolor with Kristen Pell, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Fridays. No experience necessary. Cost is $90 for a 10-week session or $10 per class. Materials are included.

Reinvented Rarities: Exploring Fashion with Repurposed Materials with Erica Faison, 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesdays. Cost is $155. A youth/teens class meets 4 to 6 p.m. Thursdays. Cost is $90 for a 10-week session or $10 per class. Materials are included.

Fine Arts, Fibers and Fabric with Kristen Pell and Brian Gross, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays. Cost is $90 for a 10-week session or $10 per class. Materials are included.

Felting and Fine Crafts with Carol Hewitt, 1 to 2:30 p.m. Mondays. Note this class will require use of felting needle and some fine motor skill coordination. Cost is $90 for a 10-week session or $10 per class. Materials are included. A family-friendly edition is offered 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

Projects in Mosaics: Memory Jugs with Kelly Swenson, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays. Memory jugs are mosaic vessels covered in mortar and encrusted with shards, shells and various found objects. They were popular in Victorian times as folk art but the idea is believed to have originated from African mourning vessels. Students will build memory jugs using tesserae from their own collections of memorabilia on a base they choose. Cost is $300.

Coil Built Vessels with Abigail Severino, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Learn coil building techniques that include pinching, paddling and scoring coils together. These techniques can be used for the production of small and larger scale vessels such as tableware, vases and jars. Cost is $300. Materials are included.

Projects in Tile Making: Mini Murals with Kelly Swenson, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays. Learn bas relief sculpture on tile, in which the figures project slightly from the background. Transfer a design to clay, carve that design, then glaze and mount the tiles. Cost is $300. Materials are included.

Creature Feature with Brad Hagmayer, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays Sept. 23-Dec. 2 (no class Nov. 25). Using coils and pinched forms, learn how to augment the best characteristics of your favorite critters in clay. Build with various clay bodies that best suit your varmints. Glaze in ways that enhance the best aspects of your specimens. Master the application of wings, horns, scales and gills. Appreciate the differences with low and high firings and learn to dip, drip and spray three different glazes on your work, or allow the raw clay body to highlight your sculpted forms. Texturing before, during and after shaped work is optioned to artists. A “Nocturnal Edition” meets 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursdays. Cost is $300. Materials are included. Rabies vaccination not required.

Exploring Sculpture with Kristen Pell, 1 to 2 p.m. Wednesdays. Techniques include working with wire, paper, exploring found and “ready-made” objects, paper mache, mold making, ceramics and clay. Cost is $90 for a 10-week session or $10 per class. Materials are included.

Digital Photography Essentials for Adults and Teens with Mallary Johnson, 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays. This course will include walks in and around downtown Phoenixville to explore camera techniques. Students must bring their own camera. Cost is $215.

The Creative Cocoon: Discovering Your Authentic Creative Work with Siobhan Bedford, 1 to 3 p.m. Saturdays Sept. 16-Oct. 28. Learn to use the tools of journaling, meditation, sketching and art making, along with select readings to help you find your inspiration; whether it’s drawing, painting, sculpture, music, writing, photography, dance, etc. Cost is $140.

For the latest, see www.communityartsphoenixville.org. You can also call (610) 628-2086.