Art Live: Creative spaces

The Center for Creative Arts (CCArts) in Yorklyn, Delaware aims high to provide a stimulating space for investigating the arts. Its mission of quality arts programming for artists of all ages and abilities extends to all the members of the community.  CCArts not only provides its community with high quality arts programming in music, art, dance, and drama but it’s also a gathering space. Melissa Paolercio, its executive director elucidated, “All are welcome here. Before COVID-19, we were a popular spot for those who wanted to hold a large party or gathering, we were a pick up point for a local farm's CSA (community supported agriculture), a spiritual group gathered each week in our space, we recently hosted a business group who was unable to hold meetings at their offices since they were too small to accommodate social distancing.”

Creative Pod Learning at CCArts

Like most small non-profit organizations, being closed for 15 weeks took its toll financially but at the same time, new ideas developed into uplifting new programming. Paolercio explained, “Thankfully, we were able to get through with the help of our generous donors and CARES Act funds from the federal, state, and county.  It was also a time of opportunity for us. We were able to launch online classes and camps to reach those people who may not be able to join us in person even after the pandemic is over. We also launched our creative pods program, a virtual learning center for students who are not back at school full-time. This program supports our CCArts families who have been torn between supporting their students as they learn and work. Since we are a relatively small operation, we have been able to pivot our operations to serve our community during this health crisis.”

Private Piano Instruction at CCArts

CCArts re-opened at the end of June with limited classes of between six and eight students. According to Paolercio, certain programs, such as in person voice lessons, drama classes, and the popular open mic night, have not yet returned to the Center which makes good sense since they are activities which many have identified as Covid-19 spreaders. While those events and programs remain on hold, Paolercio does feel relatively confident about going forward with the annual artisan show this weekend. “The show transforms CCArts into a marketplace of handmade gifts and supports our local artists, many of which have been greatly affected by the pandemic. For many of our artists, the majority of which are Southern Chester County, Pennsylvania and Delaware based artists, this will be the only show they have had since the pandemic started. These shows provide a significant portion of income for some of our artists. We will be managing the number of people in the building, cleaning high touch surfaces frequently, and will require masks for all participants (artists and shoppers).  Timed tickets are recommended but walk-ins will be welcome.” The show features works by 20 regional artists and will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21st, and 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22nd. Visit here for more details.

CCArts winter session registration will be online in early December and will continue to offer the creative pod program along with several classes for children, teens and adults. Private instruction will also continue for visual art, piano and guitar in person.  Paolercio understands she’ll have to operate at partial capacity for a while but she has her eye on the future. “As soon as this thing is over, we plan on opening this building up again to be the community art and gathering space that it once was. We look forward to expanding our outreach programs again, as well as completing some much needed capital projects for which we are currently in the process of fundraising. We are very grateful to our community for supporting us in these very challenging times.” If you are interested in donating or learning more about CCArts, visit the website here.

Hagley Canal by Alan Soffer at CCAA

Chester County Art Association (CCAA) is currently hosting a virtual art exhibition featuring the artists Libbie & Alan Soffer. It’s a wonderful show of works by a couple who both took the art of travel as a theme. In fact the book, “The Art of Travel” by Alain de Botton, immediately came to this writer’s mind. Alan’s encaustic paintings were inspired by his travels in India and Nepal 24 years ago. Many are steep in surrealist imagery.

Green Quilt by Libbie Soffer at CCAA

Soffer shared this in his statement, “I hope you all will get some of these feelings which remain in my bones and my soul forever.” Libbie’s are inspired by her imaginary travels with folks like artist Kiki Smith and writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Hers are a wonderful mix of works made with materials like recycled paper bags, repurposed men’s shirts and human hair, just to name a few. From her statement, “With my suitcase, soup pot, travel companions, and Pandora radio, I travel to incredible places… there is always room for guests on the journey.” This is a not to be missed show. Hopefully when things turn around for CCAA, the couple will come back for a live two person show in 2021. The exhibition can be viewed in its entirety here.

Whatever you do this week, support the arts!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Constance McBride

A native of Philadelphia, Constance McBride lived in Arizona for 16 years, where desert observations made a transformative impact on her work as a research based visual artist. Passionate about contemporary art, she was actively engaged in the local arts community. She served as a board member for several art organizations, managed an artist collective/gallery space, curated and juried several exhibitions and wrote for two arts publications in Phoenix. She taught ceramics at Shemer Art Center and Museum and exhibited her work both locally and nationally. McBride returned to Pennsylvania in 2018 and resides in Chester Springs with her husband and two dogs. In West Chester, she serves as a board member at The Art Trust Gallery at Meridian Bank and teaches ceramics at Chester County Art Association. She also teaches at Clay on Main in Oley, PA. She is a member of American Craft Council, Philadelphia Sculptors, and Women’s Caucus for Art, Philadelphia Chapter.

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