Category Archives: Philadelphia Art Classes

Art classes at locations DoN has visited or studied.

Thunderbird

Thunderbird Lodge

Thunderbird Lodge in Rose Valley Pa., Life Drawing Workshop

Written and photographed by Robert Bohne

Every now and then, you find an overlooked gem in your own back yard. And so it was with the Thunderbird Lodge in Rose Valley Pa. I’ve lived in this area my entire life, and I’ve driven by this location at least a thousand times, and yet I’ve never really noticed the Thunderbird Lodge. Hidden from view by decades of overgrown trees and wild vegetation, the Thunderbird Lodge on Rose Valley Road is now in the process of being renovated. The trees and vegetation have been trimmed and removed, and the building now takes it’s rightful place among the historic architecture of Rose Valley.

Thunderbird Lodge

Originally a circa-1790 stone barn, the building was converted into a home and studio for artists Alice Barber Stephens and Charles Stephens by architect William L. Price in 1904.  Charles was an authority on American Indians, and he named the Lodge after a legendary North American indigenous creature. Charles was a teacher at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and Alice was a successful illustrator. They raised their son, D. Owen Stephens (1894–1937) in Rose Valley, and painted there until their deaths.

Thunderbird Lodge

The Thunderbird Lodge then became the home of Allen Seymour and Mildred Olmstead. He was a lawyer, member of the Men’s Commission for Women’s Suffrage, and helped in the founding of the ACLU. Mildred worked with the American Birth Control League and was a director of the U.S. section of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Together they worked with the American Friends Service Committee, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The house was used as a safe meeting place for other activists, including Jane AddamsJames FarmerGeorge Washington Carver, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

In 2015, the house was given to the community of Rose Valley and is now in the process of being converted into a museum that will feature the arts and crafts of the region, and on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, the Lodge held it’s first drawing workshop in the studios that were originally built for the Stephens. Studios that haven’t seen artists put pencil to paper in well over a hundred years.

Thunderbird Lodge, Robert BohneRobert Bohne, Carol, charcoal and white pastel on tan paper. 12 x 9 from the first Thunderbird Lodge drawing session.

So here’s a tip of the hat to the volunteers at the Thunderbird Lodge for their hard work and for their vision of preserving the past and presenting the artists of the future.

Written and photographed by Robert Bohne

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How

How Not To Be A Starving Artist, Amy VoloshinAmy Voloshin 

Art center presents “How Not to be a Starving Artist”

a panel discussion featuring Kathy Davis, Amy Voloshin, Sarah Van Aken, and Lisa and Rob Papp

1:00 to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Horsham Township Library

HORSHAM, Pa. — She may be a successful artist now, having built a multi-million- dollar business around her expressive watercolor painting and inspirational messages. But like many who dream of a creatively fulfilling career, Kathy Davis was once deterred by the myth of the “starving artist.”

“The whole starving artist thing is something we’ve all heard. It kind of puts the fear in people,” says Davis, CEO and chief visionary officer of Kathy Davis Studios, one of the top social expression and lifestyle brands in the country.

The former art teacher wants to help dispel that fear in others considering or struggling with a career in the arts. On Oct. 29, she’ll be part of the panel discussion “How Not to be a Starving Artist,” held at the Horsham Township Library.

The special event, sponsored by the Scatter Joy Center for the Arts, which Davis founded in 2015, will explore the pros and cons of starting your own business versus freelancing or working in-house, as well as offer insights and suggestions for licensing your work and building a brand.

How Not To Be A Starving Artist, Kathy DavisKathy Davis

Davis has invited a diverse gathering of colleagues to join her: fine artist and illustrator Robert Papp; Amy Voloshin, founder and creative director of textile design studio Printfresh; Sarah Van Aken, president of Kathy Davis Studios and founder of fashion brand SA VA; and author and illustrator Lisa Papp.

“We’ve covered a wide variety of industries and combined different perspectives so that anybody could get something out of this, whether they want to be a musician, a writer, a photographer…

“There are so many new fields in the arts, with technology-based companies and social media and computerized design in addition to some of the more traditional mediums. People should really explore and expose themselves to as wide a variety as possible out there before they try to zero in and make a decision.”

Davis herself was 35 before she even considered striking out on her own as an artist. Although she always loved art, she lacked the confidence to pursue it and spent her early adult years teaching sixth grade and then high school art in her native Horsham after she received her master’s degree in art education.

“It was a common conception at the time that being an artist was not a safe career,” she says.

How Not To Be A Starving Artist, Sarah Van AkenSarah Van Aken

Following a divorce, Davis began designing the greeting cards that would launch her career as an artist from a drawing table in the corner of her bedroom, while her children napped. Those cards, with their expressive florals, whimsical designs and heartfelt messaging, have since touched millions.

How Not To Be A Starving Artist, Lisa PappLisa Papp

But the path to success didn’t come easily — and hasn’t for most on the panel. Quakertown’s Lisa Papp, whose illustrated children’s books include “One for All: A Pennsylvania Number Book (America by the Numbers)” and, most recently, “Madeline Finn and the Library Dog,” says no matter her level of achievement, her artistic life remains fueled by faith.

“Faith that the next job will come, that I’ll feel creative when I have to create the next sketch. Faith that I’ll find some part of me to share with the world. Faith that this little job will lead to a big job,” she says. “An artist’s life is a circle of faith, trust, action. You can makea very nice living from art if you are dedicated and professional.”

Even in moments of failure, there are lessons to be learned. Van Aken, a Reading native and Philadelphia resident, became one of the city’s hottest young entrepreneurs when she launched her made-in- Philadelphia fashion brand SA VA in 2009. Its clothing was all produced with varying levels of sustainability, whether it was organic, locally made, fair trade or recycled. Then, in 2013, after becoming a celebrated model for contemporary sustainable enterprise, she shuttered her business amid struggles to raise capital for its wholesale division and unpalatable investor demands.

Today, she considers her uncommonly transparent exit among her greatest accomplishments. “It could have been a disastrous — financially, professionally, personally — situation but each step of the way, I honored the people and process and the ending was even better than the beginning,” she says. “When I started my fashion business, I wanted to be great. I used to identify my greatness by achieving the ultimate in success — positive reviews in the best fashion magazines, a high valuation for my business… As I grew with my business, I saw that greatness is reached by always acting with integrity. Failure helps you find your greatness.”

Such insights are what Davis hopes aspiring artists especially will find valuable at this month’s event.

“You have to believe in yourself and your talent. But you also have to be flexible and adapt to what the market needs,” she says. “I was a starving artist until I found the right way to go about it.”

How Not To Be A Starving Artist, Robert PappRobert Papp

Scatter Joy Center for the Arts presents “How Not to be a Starving Artist

FEATURING: Kathy Davis of Kathy Davis Studios; Sarah Van Aken of Kathy Davis Studios and SA VA fashions; Amy Voloshin of Printfresh; author and illustrator Lisa Papp; and fine artist and illustrator Robert Papp

WHEN:   Saturday, October 29, from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

LOCATION: Horsham Township Library, 435 Babylon Road, Horsham, Pa. 19044

ADMISSION: $25; high school and college students, $10 (proceeds will go to donate art supplies to children in need)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: 215-672- 3140; www.scatterjoyarts.org

Thank you to Naila Francis for the content of this post.

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Party

Paint Party, Dahlak Paradise, Nile Livingston

Paint Party, Dahlak Paradise Ethiopian Restaurant & Bar, Nile Livingston

Paint Party in the rear patio of Dahlak Paradise Ethiopian Restaurant & Bar 4708 Baltimore Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19143

Wednesday, August 12th from 6:00pm – 8:00pm. Hosted by Nile Livingston!

Sign-up includes happy hour drink specials, 20% off your meal, acrylic paints, step by step instructions from two professional artists, and a 12″ canvas for you to take home. If it rains we’ll host the party inside. There are a limited number to table easels available. Please RSVP early and arrive time. Purchase tickets at: http://nilelivingston.com/dahlakpaintparty

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Autism Expressed

Autism Expressed, Michele McKeoneAutism Expressed, Michele McKeone

Autism Expressed: Improving Digital Literacy” with Michele McKeone

Program Description:

Digital Literacy is an essential part of job readiness, socialization and independence. Without these skills this generation faces a critical barrier to independence.

Working to continually raise the bar on the educational landscape and level the playing field for students with disabilities, McKeone presents, consults & facilitates training to reinforce the notion that students with autism and other learning variations can achieve more. This year Autism Expressed was named winner of the Educational Services of America Prize, Startup of the Year, and appeared on the cover of Philadelphia Magazine for their innovation in special education.

Join Michele and Trainers Edge to find out how she developed the idea for Autism Expressed and brought it to life to serve not only as a catalyst for new and innovative cognitive and social development for this generation of adolescents with autism, but for everyone living in the digital age.

Would you like to learn more about how AE started and addresses digital literacy? Join Trainers Edge ASTD Philly on Saturday, May 17th to find out more. Just sign up to register http://bit.ly/1lHySks

I met Michele McKeone at a Corzo Center for the Creative Economy event at University of the Arts. Her concept to use technology to help kids with autism communicate is deep and thoughtful. Michele is a real Philly N3RD, too, Autism Expressed is a home town tech start up with a great mission.

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Sunshine Arts

Sunshine Arts Foundation

Sunshine Arts Foundation Triple Crown Fundraiser

The organization was the brainchild of Ms. Sheila Mogdlin. Sunshine Arts is located at 41 Sunshine Road. Ms. Sheila Modglin started Sunshine Arts in the summer of 2004 when she invited children from the neighborhood to listen to stories as they sat around the fish pond in the front yard. Since then the organization has grown significantly. Now, resident artists Mr. Patrick O’Banion and Ms. Kat Lehmer teach classes to children along with visiting artists.

On Thursday May 16th, the Sunshine Arts Foundation held it’s annual spring fund raiser. The theme of this years benefit was the Triple Crown. Tickets were sold with the grand prize being an all expense paid trip to the Preakness. Along with the raffle there were silent auctions for donated art work created by local professional artists along with work created by the talented young artists who attend the Sunshine Arts workshops. Over $8000 was raised to benefit this non profit organization that provides a safe social setting and free art and music lessons for children who would otherwise have very little exposure to the fine arts.

Sunshine Arts Foundation

Celebrate Urban Birds Project, through a grant from Cornell University, introduced young artists to the art of painting birds. Philadelphia artist Robert Bohne´ instructed the class on how to render a realistic image. One student commented she was excited about the workshop but was afraid of birds, what a great way to overcome fears and learn to visually communicate ideas.

“The mission of Sunshine Arts is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children to explore their creative expression and to assist them in developing tools that enable them to succeed academically and become constructive members of society.” – Sunshine Arts Mission Statement

Sunshine Arts Foundation

The goal of Sunshine Arts is to enhance the education and personal growth of our future generations. Executive director, Sheila Modglin grew up with a very strong sense of community within her family.

“We would do any thing for each other. I want to share the sense of community that I have in my life with all the beautiful people right here surrounding this home. The house itself is a manifestation of living art and was accomplished through hard work from my generous and creative family and friends.”

Thank you to contributing writer Robert Bohne´ for this post and Sunshine Arts for the photographs.

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