Looking for Peace and Quiet?

After all the merriment, noise, and festivities of the last few weeks, some folks might be more than ready for a quieter and calmer time. Might I suggest an outing to a local art museum?

The Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center, 105 Seminary Street, Pennsburg, PA, is open today, Saturday, January 2nd, 2016, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Admission is free to see the current exhibitions, which include Wild and Mild – Christmas Putz 2015 on display until March 15, 2016, and The Art of Walter E. Baum, Pennsylvania Painter and Schwenkfelder Descendant, through March 1, 2016.

An important component of the Heritage Center’s putz is always the huge collection of animals that we have to draw from for the display – so this year we’re going to feature them! The theme is “Wild and Mild” to showcase this amazing collection of wild and domestic miniature animals from pre-World War II Germany, Austria and England. Bring the children for a fun “I Spy” challenge that we’ll have available to play.

Sunday, January 3, 2016, is the last chance to see Steve Tobin’s Cocoon Awakenings at Allentown Art Museum, 31 N. Fifth Street. Sunday admission is free, and the museum is open from noon to 4 p.m.

See the first new glass pieces made by internationally renowned Quakertown-based artist Steve Tobin in twenty years. Exhibited in a darkened space, these illuminated sculptures cast colored light onto their surroundings, creating what Tobin calls “projection paintings” that transform our experience of the gallery space. They will be installed with earlier glass works from the artist’s Cocoons series, metaphoric vessels that suggest transformation from body to spirit.

A new exhibit, The Plain and Ornamental Branches: A Sampling of Pennsylvania’s Girlhood Embroideries, just opened on December 30th and can be seen through May 29, 2016, also at Allentown Art Museum. The museum is open Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Thursday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free on Sundays and on Thursday evenings (4 p.m. – 8 p.m.).

Drawing from the important embroidery collections at the Museum, The Plain and Ornamental Branches presents fifteen embroidered samplers and silkwork pictures stitched by Pennsylvania girls and young women. From elegant and exuberant to plain and neat, these embroideries reflect important aspects of the lives of their makers—their educational accomplishments, religious convictions, and ties of kinship. Among the objects on view are eight embroideries dating between 1802 and 1887, all of whose makers were related by blood or marrage to their donor, Hope Randolph Hacker.

The Michener Art Museum, 138 S. Pine Street, Doylestown, PA, has two interesting quilt exhibits right now; Blanket Statements: New Quilts by Kaffe Fassett and Historical Quilts from the Collection of the Quilt Museum and Gallery, York, UK (through February 21, 2016) and Pattern Pieces: Can You Make a Quilt Out of Wood? (through January 31, 2016).

The Michener Art Museum is proud to be one of only two museums in the U.S. to host this stellar textile exhibition of 35 historical and contemporary quilts with trans-Atlantic ties (shown in England as Ancestral Gifts).  The exhibition features fifteen new quilts, designed by the American-born, internationally-known textile artist Kaffe Fassett, that were created in response to fifteen historical quilts, dating from 1780 to 1949, that he selected from the collection of the Quilt Museum and Gallery, York, UK.

The accompanying exhibition, Pattern Pieces, examines pattern, shape, and color in contemporary art as it relates to quilts and their long history as both utilitarian and artistic objects. Spanning time and media, Pattern Pieces features work by James A. Michener, Virgil Marti, Elizabeth Osborne, Laura Petrovich-Cheney, and Alan Goldstein. This dynamic grouping of work by contemporary artists offers a unique look at the building blocks of visual art within the context of patchwork and quilting in American art.

The paintings of Linden Frederick’s are on display as part of the exhibit Roadside Tales , which opened in November and runs through March 13, 2016, also at Michener Art Museum. There is an $18 admission charge for the museum, which is open Tuesday through Friday: 10 am to 4:30 pm, Saturday: 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday: 12 pm to 5 pm.

Linden Frederick takes us on a drive through small towns with empty main streets, past trailer parks and abandoned gas stations, or small suburban houses illuminated by the flickering lights of television screens. The images roll by—if we blink we might miss them—like frames in a movie, familiar somehow, vividly calling to mind images from other drives, other places. These are places that evoke within us a palpable but indescribable sense of longing, but they are gone in an instant, flashing by. Frederick stops the car, and fixes our attention for a moment on the places he wants us to see, giving us access to otherwise intimate spaces and private worlds. But there’s no voyeurism at work here, Frederick has a way of tapping into our subconscious, merging imagination with memory. In the moments that we stand in front of his pictures, we see ordinary places and objects transformed into scenes of beauty. We stop. And we look again.

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