As a longtime West Chester institution, the Chester County Art Association (CCAA) is well known for its art classes and exhibits. Lesser known is its craft/ art gallery in the Exton Square Mall. Made possible through a cultural community partnership with the mall’s management, the art association is able to offer art classes as well as sell a variety of handmade items in the spacious gallery. Known as the Exton Square Studio, the space is located on the first floor between Boscov's and H&M in the mall.
One of featured artists in the Exton Square Studio is the West Chester artist, Sherry McVickar.
Her work has been described as “romantic” and “nostalgic” and is also exclusively focused on capturing the historic character of barns. In fact, her extensive coverage of barns, including those in Montgomery, Delaware, Berks, Bucks, and Lancaster Counties, has earned her the moniker, “The Barn Lady.” As the paintings shown here indicate (many of which were first shown at her solo show at the mall in 2010), McVickar works in an impressionistic style created with a palette knife.
Appropriately, McVickar says that she grew up in a barn in Chester County. It was located not far from Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show grounds, on a then country lane “Black Horse Road.” The barn was temporary – her parents were preparing to move up the road and into a new house – but the memory was lasting, as McVickar recalls. "While my dad and his second wife, Clarita, were building their ultra-modern glass house in 1957,” she says, “We lived in a converted barn, replete with head stalls still intact for ease in the milking of the cows.”
McVickar’s parents, the late noted local sculptor, Paul McVickar, and his first wife, Alice Penza, were her first art teachers. “ My mom and dad taught me everything I know. I've never had better teachers," she says, "They inculcated me with the Universal Truths about good art. Dad was an abstractionist in word and deed. Mom is more practical in her aesthetic. As for me, I just like colors.”
McVickar, who describes herself as a lifelong learner, went on to receive a formal education at Sarah Lawrence College, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and in Florence, Italy. "I only mention a tenth of the places and people with whom I've studied," she quips.
In addition to McVickar’s art work, the Exton Square Studio features a variety of art work, jewelry, and crafts. Special workshops and art classes are also offered (classes are only $1) including “Mommy and Me” classes, “Making Masks” and clay workshops. Visit the art center’s web site and download a prospectus at www.chestercountyarts.org.
Holiday hours through December 30th. Monday-Saturday 10 am to 7 pm. Sunday 10 am to 5 pm. The Exton Square Studio is located on the first floor between Boscov's and H&M in the mall in Exton, Pa.
Regular hours are open Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday 11:00am - 7:00pm.
Founded in 1931, the Chester County Art Association is a non-profit, cultural organization that promotes participation in the arts through quality instruction, exhibitions and community outreach.