When Stratoz and I chose to live in Lansdale 15 years ago, we were drawn to the old fashioned downtown street, and in September of 2010, there was a wonderful new addition, Water Gallery: Elemental Crafts and Fine Art. Water Gallery is the shared vision of artists Helen Mirkil, Aaron Wiener, and Brian Peterson, and Helen was gracious enough to let me interview her for HiP Passions.
Helen’s painting studio is in the heart of Lansdale, and one day she noticed a space was available in her building, just the right size for a gallery. She queried friends from a previous co-op gallery, but no one had the time to organize the gallery. Reluctantly, Helen let go of the vision of a gallery in Lansdale, but then, Connie Lezenby(a Lansdale architect), contacted her asking if she was interested in starting a gallery, because Aaron Wiener, glass artist from the Crefeld School, was looking to start one. Helen, her husband Brian, and Aaron became the three co-owners, and founders of Water Gallery, and chose to be a cooperative, where member artists pay a fee each month and give time to gallery-sit, and thereby keep 80% of work sold instead of the traditional 50%. The founders aimed for high quality in both art and craft, for work that people will want to enjoy, purchase and collect.
After much groundwork, searching for space, and gaining the support of Andy Szekely, Lansdale’s mayor, and maker of fine furniture and painter, as well as Ed and Sheila Letven, Water Gallery moved into the Dresher Arcade and became part of the revitalization of Lansdale.
The idea was simple: create an artist-run commercial gallery with the mind-set and mission of a non-profit space. This gallery would not only serve as a focal point for art in the suburbs, it would be an integral part of the revitalization of Lansdale, and feature professionally-oriented work of the highest caliber as well as nurture emerging voices.
Helen Mirkil wants the Water Gallery to be part of the community, and the artist members and guests are local and regional. The esteemed art critic at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Victorica Donohoe, has reviewed the gallery 4 times since it opened, which is a testament to something important afoot. Helen is thrilled with the incarnation of her original vision, and has to pinch herself to believe it is actually happening. Water Gallery has devoted fans who are excited by each new exhibit, such as Pamela Romeo of Romeo’s Fine Arts. The Water Gallery is a treasure house in an unassuming building, a place to stop for the refreshment of the eye and spirit.
Be sure to check out the current exhibition, I’m still here: Glass sculpture by Josh Cole, which runs January 6th-February 19th, 2012, with a reception on January 28th from noon-7:00 pm.
More about Water Artists
- Helen Mirkil’s Hidden Stories
- Ecstatic Landscape: Peter Kinney, Helen Mirkil and Susan Pasquarelli
- An Interview with Andy Szekely, Part 1 and Part 2
Previous Shows at Water Gallery:
- Earth and Spirit: Jewelry by Bette Conway and Pastels by Suzanne Halstead
- Double Vision: Glass by Aaron Wiener and John Jones
Dresher Arcade #5
319 W. Main St.
Lansdale, PA 19446
As always, more photos on the HiP Passions Pinterest Board.Margaret makes glass mosaics to catch the eye and delight the soul. She works from a one-bedroom-two-studio rowhouse in Lansdale, with her husband Wayne Stratz, and together they are Nutmeg Designs: Fine Glass Craft. Discover her blog, etsy shop and tweet @margaretalmon.