Art Show Celebrating the Schuylkill River Region Opens November 9

Autumn Reflections, pastel, by Cathy Grygiel
Autumn Reflections, pastel, by Cathy Grygiel
Memento Mori, oil on wood, by Jonathan Bond
Memento Mori, oil on wood, by Jonathan Bond

The 12th Annual Scenes of the Schuylkill River Heritage Area Art Show opened to the public on Nov. 9 and features 92 original works that celebrate the Schuylkill River region through art.

Hosted by the Schuylkill River Heritage Area in partnership with Montgomery County Community College, the juried exhibit will hang through Dec. 11 at the college’s West Campus Gallery at 16 West High St. in Pottstown. This year’s show includes a record number of drawings, paintings and photographs. All works were carefully selected from 163 submissions by juror Charles Stainback, Director of Art at the Berman Museum, Ursinus College.

This is the 12th year the Schuylkill River Heritage Area has organized an art event. The Scenes of the Schuylkill Art Show began as a print competition in 2003, and has evolved into an annual juried exhibit that has become more competitive each year.

“The fact that we received a record number of submissions this year demonstrates that the exhibit has become well-known and widely respected in the art community,” said Heritage Area Executive Director Silas Chamberlin. “We hope the show continues to grow, drawing attention not only to the beauty of the region, but also to the many talented artists whose work is deeply rooted in the Schuylkill River valley.”

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Stainback selected three winning entries and two honorable mentions, and also named three judge’s selections for pieces he felt were worthy of note. Helen Mirkil earned Best of Show for her oil “Listening Woods,” an expressionistic painting of a woodland scene. She will receive $300 and will be presented with an award of distinction valued at $1,000, through Montgomery County Community College, from North Penn Art, in Lansdale.

The second place award went to Jonathan Bond for his oil on wood, “Memento Mori,” and Cathy Grygiel took third place for her pastel, “Autumn Reflections.” Bond and Grygiel were awarded $200 and $100, respectively.

The two honorable mentions selected included “Festival,” a watercolor by Lori Quinque Quinn and “Pinewoods Trail,” an oil painting by Russell Slocum. In addition, the Schuylkill River Heritage Area staff selected a Staff’s Choice award that went to Susannah Hart Thomer for her watercolor, “Wissahickon Creek in the Fall.” The three judge’s selections include “Rear Window,” a photograph by Walt Hug; “Roots,” an oil painting by Linda Turoczi, and “Joyride 12,” an oil painting by Monique Kendikian-Sarkessian.

“I must admit the process of selecting works for this exhibition was exceedingly difficult,” said Stainback. “Difficult first because of the number of entries received (well over 140), but more importantly because of the consistent quality of all the works, from the very first thing that I looked at to the last. Truly, virtually everything was first rate.”

This year, for the first time, the show will be extended with a selection of art to be exhibited at Valley Forge National Historical Park in the Visitors’ Center from January 13 through February 26, 2016. A total of 16 pieces will be on display at Valley Forge, expanding the reach of the increasingly popular exhibit, and maximizing exposure for the artists and the show’s top pieces.

The Scenes of the Schuylkill River Heritage Area art show relies on sponsorships from community-minded businesses and organizations. This year’s sponsors include: Sager & Sager Associates, Dolan Law Group, Campbell Thomas and Company, The Hill School, Art Lines, Montgomery County Community College, North Penn Art, Pennsylvania Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources and the National Park Service.

Most works in the show are available for sale, and a portion of all proceeds benefits the Schuylkill River Heritage Area.

The show is free and open to the public from Nov. 9 to Dec. 11. Gallery hours are: M-Th. 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Fri. 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. For more information contact the SRHA at 484-945-0200 or the MCCC Galleries Director Holly Cairns at 215-619-7349, hcairns@mc3.edu. For photos of the winning entries and more show details visit <www.schuylkillriver.org/Detail.aspx?id=1546>.