Art Watch: Gift a year of art

If you just can't decide on that perfect piece of art, then consider buying a museum or art association membership for your friend or family.  Memberships allow the recipient free admissions, discounted classes and lectures, and get the member invited to lots of fun art-filled activities with creative-loving people. Also memberships are mostly tax-deductible and help provide support to great organizations.

Here is a brief guide to some of the wonderful museum and art association memberships in our area, but you should really go to their websites or visit the locations for the best information.

Membership to The Brandywine River Museum of Art ranges in price between $45 to $75 and includes free admission to museum and tours of Andrew Wyeth studio, NC Wyeth studio and Kuerner Farm.

Members receive a 10% discount at their museum store and delicious café.  Members also receive invitations to special events and opening receptions, and are kept in the loop about all the great things happening t the museum and in the conservancy. This month the Brandywine River Museum of Art is offering a gift bag for an extra $15 with a gift membership. That saves you the trouble of packaging it up and offers some nice treats from the museum shop.

The Delaware Art Museum memberships start at $50 for one person and includes free admission to the museum, discounts on their terrific studio classes, Summer Art Camp, special events and programs as well as 10% discount at their museum shop and café. Membership also allows for discounted entry into many of the major attractions in our area including Longwood Gardens, The Delaware Natural History Museum and Winterthur. Their membership email keeps you up to date on upcoming artist lectures, previews and social events held throughout the year.

Sanderson Museum

Sanderson Museum

You also might consider a membership to The Christian C. Sanderson Museum, located diagonally across from Hanks Restaurant at 1755 Creek Road in Chadds Ford. This unique collection of art and artifacts compiled over a lifetime, offers an unusual and delightful glimpse into Chester County's past. Membership is only $20 to $30 which allows for free admission, a free gift and invitation to special events. Membership also provides essential support for the operation of the museum.

Local art association memberships are the perfect way to support the local arts community and get discounts on art classes and events, while keeping in the know about all the local art happenings. Many art associations also offer "artist memberships" where the artist will be listed on the association's website, and linked to their own website. Each art group is different, so you should definitely look at their website or give them a call if you have any questions.

CCAAMembership at the newly renovated Chester County Art Association in West Chester includes discounts on visual arts classes, clay workshops, discounted entry to show your art work at their monthly art shows, and also discounts on special events. Membership ranges from$25 to $60. CCAA offers many venues throughout the county to showcase your artwork, or brush up on your art skills, from beginner to expert.

The Wayne Art Center located off Route 30 at 413 Maplewood Avenue in Wayne, offers memberships ranging from $35 to $65.  The art center is bustling with art activities all year, offering gallery shows and art classes in the visual arts as well as culinary arts, drama and music for children and adults. Membership gives you a discount on lectures, classes and art trips and also allows you to buy art supplies and framing at a discounted rate at specific locations. Their gallery shows are first rate, and with membership you will receive the shout-outs to keep you abreast of the social and art events at the Wayne At Center.

In Haverford, The Main Line Art Center is an art association that offers art classes, workshops, lectures, gallery shows and art camps.  Membership costs between $45 and $85, and allows for discounted class fees and tickets to events, as well as reduced fees for juried shows and a very nice art page for member artists. The Main Line Art Center is located at 746 Panmure Road in Haverford, and membership dollars provide an important financial support for the operations of the center.

Delaware Valley Art League  also meets in the Main Line area, at the Presbyterian Church in Paoli. This is an artist members organization that in unlike the previously mentioned organizations in that one has to be juried into a couple of art shows before becoming a full member.  To start up your membership here, there is a cost of $55 the first year, and then $40 thereafter. DVAL offers many opportunities for artists to show and sell their work in the area, and is a great place to get involved as a volunteer or board member. Monthly meetings are lots of fun and very engaging for any artist. The meeting starts with art announcements, then moves to an art lecture and demonstration (where you have an opportunity to sign up for a workshop with that artist), and while you are watching, your artwork is being juried for art shows. It is a great formula, and it is fun to talk with other artists and share news.

phoenixvilleIn Phoenixville, the newly reopened Phoenix Village Art Center offers memberships from $30 to $60, which includes discounts on classes, purchases of art supplies at local vendors, entry to the popular member's show, and invitations to all events and lectures.  This is a small gem of a place that works miracles on a small budget with a handful of dedicated volunteers.  Phoenixville has become a very fun town with a great artsy vibe, and Phoenix Village Art Center is right at the heart of that town.  Check out their website for the latest goings-on at the center and at their satellite gallery at 131 Bridge Street.

Oxford Art Alliance

Oxford Art Alliance

In Oxford, the Oxford Arts Alliance offers the Oxford and surrounding area the same kind of community art experience as The Phoenix Village Art Center. OxAA is also the center for the arts in that community, with a small offering of art and clay classes, its classroom focus is on their very successful music program. Their art gallery is a wonderful location on Third Street that always has interesting shows, with their annual Juried Invitational show as the main gallery event of the year. Membership ranges from $15 to $50 and gives discounts on classes and workshops, and invitations to previews and events. Membership is a major source of revenue for the Arts Alliance, and membership is fully tax deductible.

The art museums and art organizations that are listed, are just a handful of the art memberships in our area. Many larger museums, including The Philadelphia Museum of Art, have membership levels starting at $250 with reciprocal memberships relationships with museums throughout the country. If you travel a lot and often visit museums, this is a terrific membership to have because not only do you have free entry and guest passes to this great museum, but also to most of the great museums in the country.

If you haven't seen the latest show at Somerville Manning Gallery in Greenville Delaware, the new painting exhibition "Trees" by popular local landscape painter Mary Page Evans, ends December 23. Rebecca, who works at the gallery, said that the paintings have a very contemporary feel of Joan Mitchell, mixed in with a likeness to Monet;  expressive brushwork with bright, joyful colors, which create tree vistas that are dreamlike and ethereal.

Trees exhibity by Mary Page Evans at the Somerville Manning Gallery

Trees exhibity by Mary Page Evans at the Somerville Manning Gallery

The artist also has a series of tree etchings, which are prefaced with an inspiring quote from American Poet Laureate Howard Nemerov "Before you can learn the trees - you have to learn the language of the trees."  Check out the show this week before it goes!

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About Lele Galer

Lele Galer is an artist who has chaired numerous art shows, taught art history and studio art, public art and has chaired, written and taught the Art in Action Art Appreciation series for the UCFD schools for the past 12 years. She worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and wrote for the Associated Press in Rome. She has been dedicated to Art History and art education for most of her adult life. Lele and her husband Brad own Galer Estate Winery in Kennett Square.

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