The Plastic Club

The Plastic Club, Rick WrightThe Plastic Club, Rick Wright Photography, Deya Daphne, iPhone photo, $595. Gold Medal Winner 2014, 102nd Members Medals Exhibition.

The Plastic Club holds a standard of inclusion for artists to participate in a metropolitan art space that is high yet accessible. To be a member of the Plastic Club is to be part of a community of like minded artists who find an eclectic creative vibe in the historic studio and gallery.

The 102nd Members Medals Exhibition has everything: paintings, drawings, sculpture, fiber, video, assemblage, photography, collage and more. Each artist could enter one piece so the quality and range of media is competitively high and does not disappoint. Juror, Roberta Fallon of Philadelphia’s ground-breaking theartblog, selected a contemporary photography masterwork for the gold medal.

Rick Wright’s, Deya Daphne, iPhone photo is a panoramic shot he took in Majorca, Spain. The print is gorgeous with a wonderful anthropomorphic figure in the tree like a reclining goddess. Rick has been exploring cell phone photography since cell phones came with cameras, creating intriguing images with simple materials and systems. Knowing how to make the simplest formats work well lets the artist think in more intellectually connected constructs. Rick took the opportunity at the awards to thank his friends who were there with him when he took the photograph.

The Plastic Club, Donna CotzenThe Plastic Club, 102nd Members Medals ExhibitionDonna Cotzen, Palm, acrylic, $400.

When I say the club offers a metropolitan art experience I mean The Plastic Club has offered me so many opportunities to participate in and learn about the art world that I don’t get anywhere else. The club offers a wide range of workshops, art show opportunities, educational presentations, an art salon and parties. Rick Wright lead a workshop on how to photograph your artwork that taught essential tools for the new digital image requirements for art shows. I presented a couple of workshops on how to use social media and blogging.

The monthly movie night offers memorable double features. Recently Philadelphia Poet Laureate Frank Sherlock read poetry from his new book on a Sunday afternoon, harpist Elizabeth Morgan-Ellis played contemporary harp composition accompanied by planetarium star lights on a Saturday night. Awards and contests, lectures and slide shows, poetry and music are all great but the parties at The Plastic Club are positively divine.

The Plastic Club, Jody SweitzerThe Plastic Club, 102nd Members Medals Exhibition, Jody Sweitzer, My Guardian Angel Wears Rubber Boots, video installation, $5 per DVD.

Last year the club brought back an old tradition that had somehow been abandoned fifty years before called The Rabbit. The Rabbit is a costume party with a theme, skits and music. It’s called The Rabbit because Welsh Rarebit is served, cheesey goodness on ticks of toast. This year the theme was Art and Artists and the club members, like a Stefan tour of nightclubs, had everything from jugglers to a play with Elvis Presley as bartender for Salvador Dali to an interpretive dancer with a spinning sword on her head.

The BBQs and holiday parties are always convivial and friendly, the competition is appreciated and rewarded with true appreciation. Club president Cynthia Arkin told me she just wants the club house to be used in the way it was intended as a haven for free thinking and the creative spirit.

The Plastic Club, Bill MyersThe Plastic Club, 102nd Members Medals Exhibition, Bill Myers

The Plastic Club has a strong connection with the Photographic Society of Philadelphia, monthly meetings are held in the studio and many members cross over. Photography is included in most show,  the club is very inclusive about experimentation with art. Eileen Eckstein, PSoP President, even figured out a way to print photography on fabric so she could be in the fibers show. Photographer Bill Myers epitomizes the club’s pro-photography ethos with his surreal composition with original and found photography. The accomplished photographer also regularly has his documentary photography included in The Philadelphia Public Record newspaper. The photographer in the picture is Morris Klein a dual member of both clubs.

The Plastic Club, DoN BrewerThe Plastic Club, Horizontal Industry, photograph on plexiglass, 20″ x 24″, $300. 102nd Members Medals Exhibition, DoN Brewer

“The Club’s home is a historic double townhouse located on one of Philadelphia’s “little streets” in the heart of the city. Built in 1824, it houses the club’s spacious studio, gallery spaces, offices and dining facilities. The club purchased the property in 1909, and expanded it to include the house next door in 1910. In the past ten years the building has undergone many renovations so that it now functions like a 21st century building, but still retains its 19th century charm.” – The Plastic Club

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Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.

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