While Gallery Row has always been the consummate destination for art lovers, hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path jewels are also helping to define Lancaster County’s reputation as an artists’ enclave.
Whether you’re seeking the fine brushstrokes of the area’s most acclaimed artists or chasing the whimsical Muse around the county, Lancaster is bursting with talent. From the traditional to the extraordinary, Lancaster County’s art scene continues to flourish. A few simple stops will show you why.
Annex 24 Gallery
From pop art that entails recycling to traditional canvases covered in acrylic, Annex 24 offers visitors a chance to step out of their comfort zones while keeping a tether attached to our everyday world. Consisting of three rooms filled with many styles of art, Annex 24 is the creation of Kenny Kidd and Vanessa Reisig; Loryn Spangler-Jones later joined them. With more than 20 artists featured in 30-day intervals, the new-artist-centric gallery offers something fresh with every visit.
In May, Annex 24 will welcome Pollock-Krasner Foundation award-winning artist Stephen Cimini. The New York City resident began developing his artistic style – based on the city skyline – in 1996. He describes his multimedia creations as “random symmetry … creating a balance on the canvas with no discernible pattern.” The mystery of his art is color; the use of oil on cold wax makes the process organic in itself. “Math to Beauty” consists of a series of new paintings employing the basis for geometric compositions. The ratio, says Cimini, is frequently found in nature and geometry and is perceived to play a role in the human perception of beauty.
Annex 24 Gallery, 24 W. Walnut St.; 341-0028; Annex24gallery.com
Friendship Heart Gallery
This gallery, whose mission is “expressing capabilities,” offers art of a more therapeutic sort. Initially opening as The heART of Friendship Art Gallery, it moved from Ephrata to Lancaster in 2013. A part of Friendship Community, Lancaster County’s first group home for adults with disabilities, the gallery aims to provide “value through artistic expression to artists with developmental and intellectual disabilities.” The business model allows for therapy and expression through artistic means and also provides artists with a venue to sell their work.
Each month the gallery exhibits works from selected Friendship Community artists who take classes and create their work in the attached studio. They are paired with Local Partner Artists such as Bob Grobengieser, Bob Redcay, Brenda Blank, Diane Lausch, Emilie Ash, Gladys Zeiset and Stan Newcomer, all of whom support the nonprofit’s mission. The resulting exhibits feature the work of both the Friendship Community artists and their Local Partner Artist mentors.
Friendship Heart Gallery, 118 N. Water St., Suite 101; 945-6904; Friendshipart.net
Lancaster Arts Hotel
Art is an integral part of the hotel’s name and décor as it boasts a collection of more than 250 pieces of art valued at more than $300,000. Subsequently, it’s become the ultimate destination for anyone – locals and visitors alike – in search of the area’s rapidly and constantly growing art scene. Currently, the Arts Hotel Gallery consists of 36 artists representing a mix of mediums. New England born Ruth Bernard creates a chaotic world with her paintings. Elizabethtown native John Hertzler transformed his degrees in English and Theology into a semi-retired endeavor of sculpting. Multi-media artist Brad Stroman’s artwork incorporates man-made and natural elements to reflect the fragile and intimate connection between man and nature.
Every time I step into the hotel I see something new. I pause. Without fail, my visits provide a mental respite from whatever is going on in the outside world. I find myself spending much more time wandering around than actually accomplishing what I came to do.
Lancaster Arts Hotel Gallery, 300 Harrisburg Ave.; 299-3000; Lancasterartshotel.com
The Artist’s Inn & Gallery
Terre Hill offers a much different artistically centered destination. The Artist’s Inn & Gallery is owned by Jan Garrabrandt and her husband, Bruce, who is the artist in residence. Named as “one of the 25 most romantic inns in the country” by BedandBreakfast.com, the gallery in the circa-1848, Federal-style home features more than 100 of Bruce’s finely detailed pencil drawings.
“I taught myself to draw with pencil because it is forgiving,” says the self-deprecating artist with a humorous streak. “The more I used pencils, the more I realized there is no medium that will give you more detail than the sharp point of a pencil. You can make pencils look like other mediums: oil, pastel, watercolor.”
Bruce offers a series of traditional artwork centering on Lancaster County and other themes, but what I most enjoy is his sequence of whimsical works. Drawings like the first in his Famous Artists series, Van Goat, which – aptly titled – is a rendering crossover of Vincent Van Gogh’s famous Self-Portrait, Spring 1887 and Self Portrait with a Bandaged Ear where the original artist is an actual goat. In this line, Rembrandt is a ram; American Gothic shows us pig-headed farmers (literally); and Mona Lisa, a.k.a. Phona Lisa, holds a wireless. “I create random acts of artistic nonsense,” says Bruce. Indeed, he does, but they are wonderful fun.
Artist’s Inn & Gallery, 117 East Main St., Terre Hill;445-0219; Artistinn.com