Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

The Painted Word: Take an artsy stroll during Gallery Walk 2021

Art by Jim Morphesis

The ring of school bells heralds September’s seasonal changes.

This month, the venerable three “R’s” (reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic) assume new meaning for the 33rd edition of the citywide Gallery Walk, now representing “rejuvenation,” “renovation” and “renewal.” And one more “R” added for good measure—“rebounding.”

Carrie Wissler-Thomas, CEO of the Art Association of Harrisburg, is the coordinator of this major fall art event. She is most excited about the 60% increase in participating venues this year, appropriately totaling 21 sites for ‘21. Join me as we channel categories collectively.

Take Me To Church: Since Gallery Walk falls on a Sunday, you may want to start the tour at one of four downtown churches. Showcasing a groundbreaking exhibit within the Riverfront Gallery at St. Stephen’s Cathedral is “De-Colonizing The Christ,” featuring 28 works of Christ as non-white or non-European. It is powerful in its scope and vision. From there, St. Michael’s Lutheran Church will feature the paintings of Halifax artist Thomas Wise. Zion Lutheran Church will showcase small prints of Japanese artist Sadao Watanabe. Tours of the church also will be available. Similarly, church tours will take place at Salem United Church of Christ. Look for “From The Broken Pieces” stained glass art from Diane Hoffer, who creates astounding mosaics, while Barbara James, mixed media artist, showcases her realistic works.

History Housed: The components of history and education go hand-in-glove throughout the McCormick Riverfront Library on Walnut Street. During your visit, you can learn about the library’s renovation and expansion next door into the historic Haldeman Haly House, while eyeing the work of several local artists.

Also downtown, Old City Hall has a history of its own, rich and varied. The apartment complex offers visual works from local artists. And, while strolling about Walnut Street, stop into Strawberry Square to check out the work of students of the Capital Area School for the Arts, who created art during the pandemic year, showing how it affected their lives.

Down on the riverfront, the Civic Club of Harrisburg’s Overlook mansion showcases the art of locals and can be viewed while gazing upon the magnificent Susquehanna. Farther down the river, the John Harris-Simon Cameron Mansion houses the repository of artifacts and adventures from the early days of the county.

Over in Midtown, at the Historic Harrisburg Resource Center, the exhibit “Harrisburg Heritage Highlights through the Decades” features vintage postcards and memorabilia for purchase. Also, author and local historian Rodney J. Ross will sign books for his latest, “Harrisburg and World War II.”

Galleries & Museums: The State Museum of Pennsylvania always has something fascinating within its circular walls. The exhibit, “Witness to History: Col. Paul Evanko’s 9/11 Field Notes,” coincides with the 20th anniversary of 9/11. It details PA State Police Col. Evanko’s race to an emergency command center as soon as he learned the first plane had hit the World Trade Center in Manhattan.

A few blocks away, Gallery@2nd takes the road less traveled, leading to a quartet of like-minded artists offering surreal and abstract approaches that unify their works in the collective experience.

The Susquehanna Art Museum, over in Midtown, is the only dedicated art museum in Harrisburg. It features the final week of the blockbuster exhibit, “The Circle of Truth.” The collection demonstrates how artists view the world as evidenced by 49 evolving interpretations.

Nearby, Robinson’s Gallery offers rare fine prints on view and for purchase, as Midtown Scholar features an art book sidewalk sale out front. Down the street, the resident artists of the Millworks will be on hand to share their work and chat with visitors.

The Susquehanna River provides all the inspiration needed for the gallery, Vivi on Verbeke. Photographer Jeb Boyd, with his virtuosic “Bridges” photographs, captures the fleeting and ever-changing light. Vivian Sterste, co-proprietor, channels her skills on the wheel to create her “Susquehanna River Series” pottery. Together, they present a gallery home that is different with every visit.

A stone’s throw away, Gallery Walk welcomes Harrisburg’s newest art space. The Nyeusi Gallery on 3rd Street specializes in art from Africa and the Caribbean, as well as local Black art. The spacious format is like a breath of fresh air, thanks to owners and curators Michelle Green and Dale Dangleben.

Bite To Eat, Place To Sleep: Add two more “R’s” for restaurant and rest. Mangia Qui is more than a great establishment to dine. Qui Qui Musarra, Staci Basore and Elide Hower will roll out the sidewalk for a plein air demonstration, with local artists painting outdoors. A few blocks away, City House Bed & Breakfast may be the perfect last stop on your itinerary if fatigue sets in. City House presents the paintings of Hershey artist, Joan Maguire, with her watercolor and oil paintings of the sea and shore. If you have a reservation, there are comfy beds upstairs for the weary.

Great Outdoors: Sign up for a guided mural tour. Learn the secrets behind the Harrisburg Mural Festival with artists’ inspirations, themes and techniques. By the end, you may even learn the “mural” of the story. Book your tickets at

Back To The Beginning: This 33rd edition of Gallery Walk begins and ends at the Art Association of Harrisburg with its fall membership exhibition, “Duality.” The opening reception and awards will be held starting at noon with music provided by Hemlock Hollow. Charles Schulz of the Paper Lion Gallery will host the opening reception, with Randy Michener as the exhibition sponsor.

Last year’s Gallery Walk fell under a sparkling fall day and, by all accounts, was received with a tremendous turnout. This year promises even more venues to explore with the added bonus of perhaps not having to wear a mask (at least until Oct. 31).

Gallery Walk 2021 takes place Sept. 12, noon to 5 p.m., at venues throughout Harrisburg. For more information, visit

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