FOLK ART opening attracts enthusiasts, collectors

August 2, 2015


Allentown, PA—Folks who came out on Saturday evening, August 1, to celebrate the mid-summer opening of a new exhibition at the Allentown Art Museum were met on the front steps by a costumed duo playing traditional songs on a washboard, spoons and banjo, setting the stage for A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America. The traveling exhibition, which debuted at the American Folk Art Museum in New York earlier this year, is right at home in the Lehigh Valley, as it features a special section of German American furniture and fraktur, or PA German illuminated manuscripts. Just more than four hundred members, sponsors, and VIPs circulated through the galleries, some contemplating the early American paintings in Rodale Gallery, such as Bucks County born Edward Hicks’s exquisite Peaceable Kingdom, while others thrilled in Scheller Gallery to the late 19th century wood-carved carousel figures of a rabbit and a baby elephant overseen by a stately cigar-store Native American figure. Downstairs, in Trexler Gallery, a bountiful spread of cheese, crudite, soft pretzels, and passed hors d’oeuvres by Karen Hunter Catering was a fitting complement to the Cracked Walnuts, the musical duo who eventually moved their act inside.

All of the works on display in the exhibition come from the collection of Babara L. Gordon, of Washington, D.C., who attended the opening with her husband, Steve Cannon, and two daughters and talked with the many folk-art enthusiats and would-be collectors. Also attending was American Folk Art Museum director of exhibitions Stacy Hollander, a special guest of Museum president and CEO David Mickenberg. Other prominent guests included Rita and Joe Scheller, Nancy Light, Michelle and Rick Stringer, James Heeps, Mary Gedney, Estelle Browne-Pallrand, Jean Weiner, Ari and Al Diaz, Diane Fischer, Santa and Tom Shillea, Dolores Laputka Esq.

A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America continues till October 11, with free admission through Labor Day weekend (September 6).


A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America is supported by Nancy Light, the Amaranth Foundation, the Estelle Browne-Pallrand Charitable Trust, Beall Fowler, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the members and Trustees of the Museum. Special thanks to Duggan & Marcon, and to the American Folk Art Museum, and Stacy Hollander in particular, for contributions to this exhibition.