article by Liz Eaby
years ago I was a fledgling artist, following my painting class
from The Museum College of Art (now The University of the Arts)
on what seemed like a long journey to Pine and Front Street. At
that time New Market area was an abandoned lot rimmed with run-down
buildings. On that day the lot served as an art student's paradise.
This was the site of my first
painting, my birth into the art world, my enlightenment. Many years
later my masterpiece painting was retrieved from the attic and gessoed
over for re-use by my son, who was then a student at The University
of The Arts. The journey beginning in 1961 has taken many turns,
remaining closely intuned to the area in which it began. Later on
in the 60's New Market complex was built on the lot, and evolved
into a flourishing area of arts, crafts, interesting shops, and
restaurants. It was a center of community hustle and bustle. The
generation in which I was born seeded the South Street Revival of
arts and culture. Artists, poets, writers abounded everywhere. I
remember the beginning of The Painted Bride, The Works Gallery,
and The Eyes Gallery, with much nostalgia. Isaiah Zagar's wonderful
mosaic work on South Street reminds me of time past. The creativity
and individualism of generations of artists has fed Philadelphia.
About the mid 60's The Headhouse Craft Fair was established
in The Headhouse Shambles, and artists were allowed to exhibit their
Today the journey has come full circle. The artists are still in
The Headhouse Shambles after 36 years, but not without toil and
struggle. Today the underlying creativity of the individual artist
still manages to surface at Headhouse. A few of us who exhibited
in the beginning of the 70's still manage to exhibit or visit
once in a while. Many of our children have followed their own paths
into the artworld and become successful. The Headhouse Craft Fair
was always a place for young emerging artists to experiment with
the public. Time has passed, and the area has changed. Big businesses
have pushed out the little guy or those who had less money. Artists
are still here in The Headhouse Shambles, consistently, but not
wealthy. The Cultural Fund of Philadelphia awarded The Creative
Collective a grant to help produce the show, with the apology that
they wished it could be more. Philadelphia is overwhelmed with art
groups requesting help. It is very important that the needs of these
artists, musicians and writers are heard so that they can retain
their creative capacity here in the city.
As artists, teachers, and parents, we recognize the value of art
created by young and old alike. Audrey Beyer, a Narberth resident,
in her early 80's, is one of the oldest exhibiting artists in
The Craft Fair at Headhouse Square. Audrey is a renowned fine artist
and painter, and a graduate of The University of the Arts. She is
founder and owner of The Bay Head Art Center in New Jersey, and
also a past head of the art department at Lower Merion High School.
"It is with pleasure that I create artwork for those who appreciate
beauty," says Audrey. Her paintings of Philadelphia make us
better aware of the wonderful images Philadelphia projects.
Carlos Pascual, a South Philadelphia resident, formerly of Argentina
is one of our younger exhibitors. Growing up in South America surrounded
by nature and animals, his love of nature has inspired his work
as well as his commitment to protecting and respecting this planet
on which we live. "We have a responsibility in this cycle of
life", says Carlos. "It is only through this awareness
of our world that we can insure it's future." Carlos does
intricately executed colored pencil drawings of animals and nature.
Philadelphia artist Sherry Cofran, exhibiting for the past five
years in The Creative Collective Craft & fine Arts Fair, is
administrator of the Children's Art Programs held every sunday
afternoon at Headhouse Square in conjunction with the Craft Fair.
Sherry was born and raised in Portland Maine. She attended The Rhode
Island School of Design, receiving a BFA in Illustration. In 1968,
newly graduated from college, she came here with $350.00 in her
pocket, and decided she liked Philadelphia and might stay forever.
Over the past 20 years Sherry has traveled across the United States
researching many areas, but always returned to Philadelphia. "This
is a big town, small city mixture that works for me, and nurtures
my artwork". "My art depicts nature from a child's
point of view. My paintings teem with fantastic animals and whimsical
characters. At Headhouse I sell affordable paintings on children's
T-shirts." In 1990 Sherry started a business called Decorative
Landscapes. Her paintings have graced The Gerry Gallery in Providence
RI, The Show Case Gallery in Philadelphia, and The Philadelphia
Museum of Art. Who better to guide the children's workshop program
Recently after attending the Inauguration of Miguel Angel Corzo,
at The University of the Arts, I realized how important the proper
guidance in the arts is. The keynote speaker was Peter Sellers,
one of the leading opera, theater, and television directors in the
world today. I can still hear him say, "As artists we can give
our audiences a taste of the reality yet seen." "Beauty
is part of every moment of everybody's life." "What
does it mean to realize life is the book and you have to learn how
to read it? What we are doing is giving basic reading instruction."
The inspiration that he instilled in that audience was monumental.
I myself felt so grateful to be an artist. Art is a spiritual awareness
of being, an opportunity to give something back. With it we can
help to make a better world.
This summer there will be 80 artists and crafts persons who will
exhibit various media in glass, jewelry, ceramics, clothing, wood,
photography, and fine arts at Headhouse Square, 2nd and
Pine Street, in the Historic Headhouse Shambles. Our artists invite
you to come meet them in person and share with them an artistic
experience, and an enlightening explanation of why they do what
they do. The show draws thousands of tourists and residents alike,
looking for a more cultural experience of Philadelphia, to perhaps
take home with them. This is the only open-air exhibit space consistently
in use in Philadelphia for 37 years that I can think of. Philadelphia
is proud of the progress it has made in the arts over recent years.
Tremendous advances are being made in the area of arts and culture.
Come visit us at Headhouse. We are but a small part of a greater
In our quest to broaden the minds of the community we reach out
to young artists who would benefit by the opportunity to exhibit
their art at Headhouse. Our workshops are held every sunday from
1-3PM for children 3-10 years old. They are meant to give youngsters
a friendly and motivating atmosphere in which they can develop a
creative learning experience. By reaching out to today's youth
we are laying out the groundwork for tomorrow's artists.