Exploring Central Pa.’s Rt. 15 ByWay of the Arts
Who says you need to pack your bags for New York or D.C. to immerse yourself in culture? Thanks to the self-guided trail known as Rt. 15 ByWay of the Arts, artistic enlightenment can be achieved in a day’s road trip. Developed in 2005 to highlight American artisan craft and to promote tourism, the trail runs from Boiling Springs to Williamsport, incorporating a variety of museums, galleries and individual artisans. Since its inception, the trail has seen funding come and go, and its list of participants fluctuate. One thing, however, remains certain: culture thrives throughout Central Pa., thanks to efforts from devoted members of the local arts community. In support, Harrisburg Magazine has compiled a list of artistic hotspots, arranged by region, for easy exploration of some of the area’s most inspired offerings.
“Arts and culture thrive along Rt. 15 in the Lycoming Valley. Visitors to our region can discover Art Deco and Victorian architecture, concerts in the park, murals, galleries, museums, musical performances, wineries and so much more. To see current exhibitions and art-related happenings, visit our calendar of events at visitcentralpa.org/events.”
–Tom Schaeffer, marketing director at Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau
The Gallery at Penn College
One College Avenue, Williamsport – (570) 320-2445
Located in Room 303 on the third floor of the Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Madigan Library, The Gallery at Penn College oversees the school’s permanent art collection and promotes art appreciation through regular artist meet-and-greets and exhibitions of contemporary art. Visitors are encouraged to finish their gallery tour with a gourmet meal at the college’s Le Jeune Chef restaurant, which boasts the area’s most extensive wine list. For a listing of upcoming exhibits and events, visit pct.edu/gallery.
Williamsport – firstname.lastname@example.org
Artist Ricki Lee Moler has experimented with various mediums throughout her 20-year career, finally settling on her favorite – fabric. “The focus of Gazebo Textiles is unique clothing made from the fabrics I create,” says Moler. “I prefer to keep the lines of the clothing simple and to let the fabrics be the star of the show. I use cottons, silks, silk blends, poly – whatever appeals to me at the time… Inspiration comes from things that have interested me over the years – American Indian archaeology, medieval times, outer space, South American traditional music or just intense colors.” To schedule a visit to Moler’s studio or to peruse images before placing a one-of-a-kind, custom-made order, visit gazebotextiles.com.
Post & Lintel
323 Market Street, Lewisburg – (570) 884-4369
The popular Post & Lintel has something for everyone. Within the gallery, patrons will find art in the form of paintings, collages, mixed media and photography, as well as charcoal, pastel and ink drawings. Art classes for the general public include pottery, drawing, painting, photography, comic animation, glass blowing and knitting. The gallery’s second floor hosts the Urban Post, a trendy clothing and accessory boutique. For more information, visit thepostandlintel.com.
Samek Art Museum at Bucknell University
701 Moore Avenue, Lewisburg – (570) 577-3792
The Samek Art Museum, located on the third floor of Bucknell’s Elaine Langone Center, boasts an impressive collection of 5,000 works of historic and contemporary art. Popular features include selections of Baroque and Renaissance art and Japanese decorative art. The museum’s exhibitions and public programming are free to the public. For information on upcoming exhibits, visit bucknell.edu.
Stairwell Gallery at the Moose Exchange
24 East Main Street, Bloomsburg – (570) 317-2596
The Moose Exchange serves as downtown Bloomsburg’s arts and community center, housing a dozen artists and small businesses and hosting a variety of events. One such business, the Stairwell Gallery, provides a curated exhibition space for professional and amateur regional artists. Just around the corner, visitors will find the Art Deco-styled Grille Room, which hosts regular bands and DJs as well as frequent music, dance, theater and educational programs presented to the public by various Bloomsburg University departments. For information on other Moose Exchange offerings, visit mooseexchange.org.
The central section of Rt. 15 ByWay of the Arts is comprised of sites throughout Perry County and Millersburg. The Perry County Council of the Arts (PCCA) has a strong presence in this region and is a helpful resource for those interested in learning more about regional, independent artisans. “Many of our artists are inspired by nature,” says Jasmine Colbert, PCCA’s creative programs director. “You can see it in their work. Color tones tend to be earthy, with subject matter expressing the rural surroundings.”
2228 Shermans Valley Road, Elliottsburg – (717) 386-7982
Cabin Creek serves as the art gallery of Pennsylvania wildlife artist B. Lynnsy and is home to her new line of illustrated candles featuring portraits of all 14 Perry County historic covered bridges. The site also contains a gift shop and garden center, offering antler art, personalized prints, illustrated Perry County cookbooks, homemade soaps, essential oils and delectable treats such as Asher’s Chocolates and Pennsylvania maple syrup. The garden center hosts a daily plant swap, spring through fall.
67 N. 4th Street, Newport – (717) 567-7023
The Landis House houses an ever-changing, contemporary gallery space as well as a permanent collection of German artwork from the early 20th century travels of the Landis family. The stately home also boasts a concert hall with a beautifully renovated Bechstein piano, in use during concerts and special events. For a listing of such events, visit perrycountyarts.org.
Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art
176 Water Company Road, Millersburg – (717) 692-3699
The Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art celebrates the life and works of its namesake, Ned Smith – nationally acclaimed wildlife artist, naturalist and writer. The Ned Smith Gallery features selections from the collection of hundreds of original paintings, drawings, field sketches, journal notes and manuscripts donated by Smith’s widow. Additionally, the Center’s Olewine Gallery features rotating exhibits of contemporary artists and photographers, including National Geographic’s Joel Sartore and NPR commentator and artist Julie Zickefoose. For more information, visit nedsmithcenter.org.
Perry County Council of the Arts (PCCA)
One S. 2nd Street, Newport – (717) 567-7023
Through the hard efforts of Jasmine Colbert and Roger Smith, Perry County Council of the Arts continues to build community, promote craftspeople and honor creativity by supporting multiple arts-related groups and events. Scenic Newport’s PCCA gallery displays the work of over 150 regional artists, including the pottery, metal- and glass-work of Jim Turban and the eclectic jewelry of Marlene Quigley. Visitors can stroll across the street for freshly brewed gourmet coffees and a refreshing menu filled with locally grown, organic options at Expresso Yourself Cafe. For more information on PCCA’s many events – most of which are free to the public – visit perrycountyarts.org.
Quilt Barn Trail of Perry County
Under the tutelage of quilting expert Denise Hoke – who spent more than 35 years honing her skills with Amish and Mennonite quilters – Perry County students created the community project known as the Quilt Barn Trail of Perry County. In researching, designing and finally painting, the talented students combined history, geometry and art in depicting quilt designs on 12 barns throughout the Perry County region. Several of the barns are located within Duncannon, a town that also houses The Old Sled Works, a one-of-a-kind market featuring over 125 antique vendors and a working penny arcade and vintage soda fountain. For a complete listing of barn locations, visit perrycountyarts.org.
“The southern portion of Rt. 15 ByWay of the Arts [encompassing Cumberland and Dauphin Counties] takes visitors on a scenic journey, winding through wooded back roads, thriving downtowns and the state capital. Visitors will find tucked-away attractions, unique dining and cozy accommodations nestled in and around the galleries. The highlight for many of our visitors is chatting with the charismatic artists and shop owners who offer great suggestions for their next stop.”
–Ashley Kurtz, promotions manager at Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau
2nd Floor Gallery
105 S. Market Street, Mechanicsburg – (717) 766-1825
This upscale art gallery, located in the heart of Mechanicsburg and housed in a 19th century church, features over 600 pieces of art, including the works of around 70 local artists and a large assortment of investment art (including pieces by Dali, Erte, Krasnyasky and Wyeth) purchased by gallery-owner Jeffrey S. Van Boskirk. For information on the gallery’s monthly events, visit 2ndfloorgallery.com.
3rd Street Gallery
214 3rd Street, New Cumberland – (717) 938-6898
Unique items at 3rd Street Gallery include handmade goods such as alpaca-related children’s items – many hand-knitted or loomed by owner, Cindy Orwan – and The Hometowne Collection of wooden, screen-printed and hand-crafted buildings featuring many of New Cumberland’s landmarks and historic locales. The gallery also features watercolors by Cynthia Hobaugh Orwan and numerous classes for the aspiring painter, such as painting with watercolors, oils, acrylics and pastels. Classes for children are also available. For a complete listing, visit thirdstreetgallery.net.
American Artisan Gallery
35 N. Hanover Street, Carlisle – (717) 254-6136
American Artisan Gallery specializes in offering fine works by America’s guild artists. “We are happy to take your special requests and find the piece you’re looking for,” says owner Pam Fleck. “Our extensive collection and many years of experience make us a trusted partner in all things concerning great creations by our American artisans.” The shop offers pieces in a variety of mediums and styles – glass, ceramics, fibers, jewelry, leather, metals, wood and fine art. From the gallery, it’s only a few miles to the newest brewery and taproom in downtown Carlisle, Molly Pitcher Brewing Company, located at 10 E. South Street. For more information on American Artisan Gallery, visit americanartisangallery.com.
Art Association of Harrisburg
21 N. Front Street, Harrisburg – (717) 236-1432
According to President Carrie Wissler-Thomas, the Art Association of Harrisburg was founded in 1926 “with the mission to provide cultural excellence by the promotion of visual arts through education and exhibitions.” The galleries, housed in the historic Governor Findlay Mansion across from Riverfront Park, have lived up to this lofty goal by providing 60 mounted exhibitions annually for regional and nationwide artists and offering art classes for nearly 700 students – children and adults – including clay sculpture and anime and manga drawing classes. For a listing of upcoming exhibits and classes, visit artassocofhbg.com.
Arts on Union
203 N. Union Street, Middletown – (570) 205-0736
Owner Christine Goldbeck is an interdisciplinary artist – photographer, painter and writer – and master craftsman with the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen. “Arts on Union is a gallery and also houses my studio, where I work and also host the ever-popular painting parties known as ‘sip and dip’ parties,” she says. Her Middletown gallery hosts guest artists of all disciplines, in order to “honor tradition and celebrate innovation.” To schedule a tour of Goldbeck’s studio or register for a ‘sip and dip’ party, visit artsonunion.com.
Gallery @ Second
608 N. Second Street, Harrisburg – (717) 233-2498
Gallery @ Second’s goal is “to display artwork from a wide scope of collections while underscoring the artwork’s educational and cultural value to patrons and visitors.” How do they achieve this? By housing two floors of gallery space with diverse, rotating retail exhibition space, hung “salon style.” For a list of past, present and future exhibitions, visit galleryatsecond.com.
The Greatest Gift
117 N. Hanover Street, Carlisle – (717) 243-5562
The Greatest Gift officially opened its doors on January 1, 2014, building upon “the great foundation laid by [its] predecessor, Colucci & Company.” Open little more than a year, the gift shop has found success carrying the original store’s product line as well as original home and lifestyle décor. “We’ve worked to expand the product line to feature artisans with a story to share through their craft,” says Kristi Tuckey, in charge of retail and product development. “We continue to reimagine the space and what it could be… It’s our goal that you think of us first when you need to buy a unique gift that someone will cherish.” For more information, visit greatestgiftcarlisle.com.
Hershey Violin Shop
11 W. Main Street, Mechanicsburg – (717) 697-6341
Owner, master violin maker and award-winning member of the Violin Society of America, Scott W. Hershey, has been creating and restoring instruments for nearly three decades, crafting a total of 122 instruments to date. The craftsman is renowned for his “multi-layered, brush-applied spirit varnish,” and a selection of his hand-crafted instruments are available at his downtown Mechanicsburg store, where patrons can also enjoy browsing wife Deborah Hershey’s collage art. For more information on Scott and Deborah’s work, visit hersheyviolins.net.
History on High
33 W. High Street, Carlisle – (717) 249-1626
History on High, the museum store located within the Cumberland Valley Visitors Center, “highlights the fine artistry and craftsmanship of county artists,” says shop manager Kim Laidler. This includes paintings, fine jewelry, textiles, pottery, metalwork, wood carvings, clothing and food items, as well as a huge assortment of published materials regarding county history. “Visitors to the museum – with over 3,000 square feet of exhibit space – get a glimpse of life in Cumberland County and its changes throughout the years, represented in artifacts, furniture, quilts, pottery, paintings and more.” For more information, visit historicalsociety.com.
Rose Lehrman Gallery at HACC
One HACC Drive, Harrisburg – (717) 780-2478
The Rose Lehrman Art Gallery, which promotes the knowledge and appreciation of contemporary art, houses HACC’s permanent art collection. This includes ceramic vessels from Toshiko Takaezu, a large ceramic platter by Jesse Potts, a spotted glass canister by Ona Magaro and a collection of prints by Sue Coe. The gallery also hosts visiting artists for workshops and lectures. A listing of classes and events can be found at hacc.edu/roselehrmanartscenter/artgallery.
Tickle My Senses Gallery
315 Bridge Street, New Cumberland – (717) 774-1168
Owner Becky Lee lovingly gift-wraps each one-of-a-kind piece she sells and carefully places a striking peacock feather in each customer’s bag – free of charge. “Peacock feathers are a symbol of good luck in Thai and Indian cultures,” she explains. What’s inside those beautifully wrapped packages? Eclectic works of art crafted by one of 125 local, regional, national and Canadian artists in a wide variety of mediums including ceramics, glass, wood, mixed media, metals and jewelry. “We focus on functional art that tickles your senses in an inviting atmosphere where there is always new and exciting treasures to be found!” For a sampling of Lee’s offerings, visit ticklemysenses.net.
Village Artisans Gallery
321 Walnut Street, Boiling Springs – (717) 258-3256
Village Artisans Gallery features a wide selection of art crafted by over 200 American artists. Traditional and contemporary pieces in mediums such as blown glass, pottery, turned wood, wrought iron, hand-woven apparel and jewelry can be found alongside stunning fine art, children’s book illustrations, calligraphy and collages – all amidst the setting of a renovated 1875 brick church located in the quaint village of Boiling Springs. The gallery proudly features the work of nationally recognized folk art carver Gay Foltz. For images of Foltz’s award-winning work and others represented at Village Artisans Gallery, visit villageartisansgallery.com.