CFBA gets food for artistic thought

Local artist Lele Galer gave members of the Chadds Ford Business Association some food for artistic thought during the CFBA’s October luncheon.

Galer, who also owns Galer Estate Winery, was the guest speaker who spoke about public art and what it can do for a community.

“Public art is not graffiti art,” Galer said. “It’s really any kind of art piece or art experience. The best public art is when a community comes together and says our area would be so much better off if we had something here, whatever it might be.”

That art piece or experience doesn’t have to be large or expensive, and the community can start small and move slowly, she added. The community would first simply pick

Lele Galer addresses members of the Chadds Ford Business Association during the group's October luncheon at Antica Restaurant. She said public art can help bring a community together.

Lele Galer addresses members of the Chadds Ford Business Association during the group's October luncheon at Antica Restaurant. She said public art can help bring a community together.

an idea and an artist and let things blossom from there.

“It doesn’t have to be a mega artist that costs $1 million. It can be an artist who’s free, or it can be the entire community that’s the artist,” she said.

Galer has done close to 100 public art projects herself, and they all vary. They depend on the place and the idea.

“It starts with someone who has a vision and a community, large or small, that needs a feeling of cultural identity or a need to come together,’ she said.

The place, however, is important to what the project is or can do. Galer cited Phoenixville as a town that has changed dramatically during a 15-year period when art projects began there.

She said it once looked as if “it was on its last legs” and that her son called it a scary place. Now, though, that’s changed.

“Every time you see it, there’s more and more going on…It’s become a thriving community. All the businesses are coming together and there’s a sense of pride,” she said.

Galer said there’s a visible revitalization; new businesses, artisan shops and restaurants are popping up there.

Could public art bring a new sense and feeling to Chadds Ford? She acknowledged that there’s no “center of town” feeling in the township, but perhaps public art would help bring that sense of “coming together.”

The key, she said, is to have a community where people agree that public art is something that’s needed.

After the luncheon, held this month at Antica Restaurant, Mary Marines, a CFBA board member, said, “I was very interested and excited about what Lele had to say about community art. The ideas just flowed from people sitting at my table. I know this type of project has some real interest. We always come away from the CFBA luncheons with some great ideas for our community. This idea is good for everyone. It’s a win situation."

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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