The placards announcing an extravaganza of an event line the streets leading up to the “The Big Top” (I mean firehouse). Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step right up to the center ring for the main attraction.
As an arts columnist, I have a responsibility to get the word out on local art shows. Perhaps one of Harrisburg’s best-kept secrets is really no secret at all. On Friday, the Paxtang Art Association celebrates its 70th anniversary and, at the same time, opens its 30th annual “Art Show and Sale,” a three-day extravaganza at the Paxtang Firehouse. This is blockbuster of a show will feature over 100 artists and more than 3,000 paintings for sale. The sheer number of works requires it to be held in a building the size of a firehouse. All art is original, and the paintings include watercolors, oils, acrylics, pastels and pen and inks. With a selection like this, there is something for everyone’s taste and wallet.
Started in 1949, the Paxtang Art Association boasts an ever-growing group of members ages 8 to 80 and “draws” its artists from as far as Lewistown, Danville, Carlisle and territories beyond. The only requirement is a love to draw or paint, even if you have never touched a canvas with a brush.
The association has one instructor, Nick Feher, a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts who also studied fine art in his travels throughout Europe. Feher instructs both youth and adults in art classes that encompass drawing and painting. Many have been lifelong members, and generations often follow right in line.
The elementary-age crowd, with few expectations, is the quickest study and most willing to explore their ideas. They are truly artists with no boundaries. The older generations appreciate the recuperative and relaxation measures that painting affords them. Everyone in between shares a mutual enthusiasm for creating new works and improving their skills. The association is such a close-knit community of artists that everyone is like family. Feher subscribes to the philosophy that one needs to paint and paint often—you need to get your work out there to be seen and appreciated.
Art can be found anywhere when we take the time to look. It doesn’t have to be in a gallery or a museum. Some of the best art in the world can be seen on the streets of Paris or it can be viewed inside a firehouse. And Paxtang is a lot closer than flying to France. Just a thought…
The Paxtang Art Association’s annual Art Show and Sale opens Friday, Nov. 8, and runs through Sunday, Nov. 10, at the Paxtang Firehouse, 3423 Derry St., Paxtang. A reception will be held Friday, 6 to 8 p.m. Youth and adult art classes begin in January, with registration taking place now. For more information, visit www.paxtangart.com.