Art sale continues to succeed

The Chadds Ford Elementary
School PTO will be able to add an estimated $20,000 to its coffers courtesy of
the 63rd annual Art Sale and Show held at the school March 23 and
24.

Event co-chairperson Kathleen
Vasko said the sale grossed $70,000 with 30 percent going to the PTO after
expenses. The money goes toward educational enrichment programs and special
assemblies. The PTO also used money to pay for an outdoor classroom.

“It was a great event. We had
1,000 people attending, 500 each day. It was the first time we tracked
attendance,” Vasko said.

While artists want recognition
and to sell their work, helping out CFES is also a motivator.

“It’s community and helping the
school is one of the reasons I love doing this show,” said Paul Scarborough.
“The school is so important. All my grand kids went to this school and they
just love coming back to it…I just feel part of the community. It’s a community
school.”

Scarborough, this year’s
featured artist, added that the show itself is top notch.

“This is a fabulous show,” he
said. “The volunteers have just done exceptionally well in handling me, taking
care of me. I can’t say enough about the show itself. I’ve been doing it for
almost 35 years…. and every year it just gets better. The volunteers have made
this an exceptional show. They go out of the way to promote it and bring people
in.”

Echoing Scarborough’s praise
was fellow artist Len Garon who’s been involved for more than 20 years.

“I’ve seen this show grow,”
said Garon. “I’ve been the featured artist a couple of times. It’s a tremendous
effort by all the ladies who have children here at the school. It’s not only
first class, but it’s really fun, not only for the artist, but for the viewer,
the people who come and buy. They can rely on the credibility and the
reliability of what’s out here because there’s a lot of screening that goes on
behind the scenes for good quality art.”

Artist John Hannafin, from West
Chester, has been involved for only four years, but he said he likes the
tradition.

“For me it’s a local [event].
It has a lot of tradition with the Wyeths,” he said.

In all, roughly 70 artists took
part this year, turning the elementary school gymnasium into a giant art
gallery. Even non-artists lent a hand. School superintendent John Sanville
donned a tuxedo and served hors d’oeuvres.

The tradition began 63 years
ago when Betsy Wyeth, wife of Andy Wyeth, first held the show while son Jamie was attending Chadds Ford
Elementary School.

New for this year was the
appearance of two authors, Barbara Walsh and Catherine Quillman who spoke and
signed copies of their books on March 24.

Walsh wrote a children’s book “Sammy in The Sky,” that was illustrated
by Jamie Wyeth.

Some copies of the book, signed
by both Walsh and Wyeth are still available for sale at the school, Vasko said.

Quillman wrote “100 Artists of the Brandywine.”

During her talk, Quillman said
the Brandywine Tradition began in the late 19th century when Howard
Pyle brought his summer school to Chadds Ford. That school, located in what is
now Turner’s Mill, the Chadds Ford Township municipal building, attracted N.C.
Wyeth to the area.

Later on, many artists came to
Chadds Ford thinking they would study with Andrew Wyeth, N.C.’s son. One such
artist was Rea Redifer who was serving in the Army during the Korean War.

Quillman said that Redifer was
so impressed when he saw some of Wyeth’s work that he decided to move to Chadds
Ford when he got out of the Army. She said Redifer didn’t know until he arrived
that Andrew Wyeth didn’t teach. It was his sister Carolyn who taught.

She added that the natural
beauty of the Brandywine Valley was a big factor in bringing artists to the
Chadds Ford area.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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