When Governor and First Lady Tom and Frances Wolf open up the Governor’s Residence for self-guided tours this holiday season, you might see works by a few artists you recognize.
About 70 regional artists – more than half of whom are from York County – have been displaying works in the Residence as part of the Pennsylvania Arts Experience exhibition since September.
Thanks to an invitation from the First Lady – a fellow PA Arts Experience member – those works will remain in the Residence through the holiday season, exhibition curator Rob Evans said.
Evans, a Wrightsville-based artist who recently had two of his works acquired by the National Gallery of Art in D.C., said he has hung million-dollar paintings in museums. But this exhibit, which fills the main level of the Residence, was easily the most challenging to curate.
“It’s basically a mansion with a lot of windows, wall sconces and furniture,” he said. “It was a puzzle to make (the artwork) fit just right.”
The exhibit, which will be open through February, includes a variety of works, such as baskets, ceramics, fiber art, stone sculptures, oil paintings, drawings and more.
“It really shows the amazing diversity and talent that’s in the region here,” Evans said. “People don’t realize how many great artists are hidden away here.”
Here are five neat pieces by York County artists to check out if you go.
“Mother of Pearl” by Gale Jamieson
One of the first pieces you’ll see as you walk through the entryway of the Governor’s Residence is this dress made out of buttons. Fawn Township sculpture and installation artist Gale Jamieson created this dramatic piece by removing the inner lining of a gown and attaching hundreds of colorful buttons to the bodice, giving it a chain-mail effect. Some of the buttons used in the piece are Mother of Pearl, she said, which influenced the title.
“It took me off in a whole direction of motherhood and the delicate (nature) but strength of the female,” she said.
“Atmos Rocker” by Peter Danko
If you’re familiar with York City artist Peter Danko’s work, you know he loves building furniture using recycled materials. For this exhibit, Danko built a rocking chair out of black and white seatbelts.
“I love recycling,” he said. “(Seatbelts) are way strong beyond anything you would possibly need for furniture. It will last a really long time.”
And, it’s comfortable, he added. As you pass by the piece, feel free to sit in it and test it out for yourself.
“It’s amazingly comfortable,” Evans said. “(Danko) wants people to see how comfortable it is.”
“Imagine” by Lorann Jacobs
You might know sculptor Lorann Jacobs from her public sculptures on display in downtown York, such as “Girl In A Sundress” on Cherry Lane. For this exhibit, Jacobs created another sculpture of a girl wearing a cloth, white sundress, but this time, it has a different meaning.
The bronze sculpture depicts an African American child with braided hair sitting on the ground with her palms open.
“It’s a contemplative piece, a reflective piece,” Jacobs said. “It’s a serene and peaceful kind of piece. She’s imagining what she would like to have.”
“I’m Afraid of Americans” by Cliff Maier
If the title didn’t immediately grab your attention, this angular glass sculpture definitely will, especially when the sun shines on it through the window. York City artist Cliff Maier created the piece using optical adhesives to laminate red, white and blue colored mouth blown glass, dichromatic plate glass, optic crystal, cobalt crystal and other types of glass together.
Depending on the angle you look at it, you can see stars and stripes in the piece, Maier said. It’s meant to reflect the idea that even though we have unlimited knowledge at our fingertips, Americans are still grossly uninformed.
“Wind and Ice, Susquehanna” by Rob Evans
In the reception room, you’ll find several paintings depicting various views of the Susquehanna River. One belongs to the exhibit curator Rob Evans. His work shows a view of the Susquehanna looking south toward Turkey Point, he said.
IF YOU GO
What: Self-guided public tours of the Governor’s Residence
When: Noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 7-9 and Dec. 14-16; 1-6 p.m. Dec. 13
Where: Governor’s Residence, 2035 N. Front St., Harrisburg
Reservations: Reservations are not required for public tours. To set up a private tour, call 717-772-9130 or email email@example.com.