By Melissa Anderson
After looking at the exhibition space and the April show, Points of View, we sat down with Ron Howard of the Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center to talk about what to look forward to this weekend at MRAC, as well as what to check out beyond their art exhibitions.
As the President and Exhibition Director at MRAC, could you tell us what led you here?
The Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center is a 65-year-old non-profit and is a completely volunteer run organization. Ron Howard has been involved with this art center for five years. After retiring into the arts and creating art through photography, painting in water color and oils, and poetry he started off as an emerging artist at MRAC and soon evolved into a featured artist.
"Having this opportunity to show my work was so inspiring to me that I decided to devote a significant part of my time to the administrative needs of the organization." After dedicating more time to MRAC by joining the board and moving through different levels of the organization he was elected for his current position as president, while also doubling as the exhibition director.
If you could transport yourself to any piece of art, which would you choose?
After taking a moment to think, Ron answered, "Certainly Michelangelo's La Pieta or Moses, those are two that definitely stick out in my mind."
With all of the various pieces of art going through his mind, Ron added, "I could go to Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer, too, which I would be absolutely entranced by."
We know this is an art center, but could you describe what is offered here?
Ron described the three different arms of MRAC, "First is the Art Exhibition, every month we have a different art exhibition that is featuring different themes or artists, or a combination." After explaining some of their past exhibitions and upcoming exhibitions, he then began to explain what else MRAC offers.
"The second arm is what we call the Humanities wing, which is mainly directed towards the writers and poets. In addition to carrying visual art, we have a number of activities that are designed for writers."
Some of the examples Ron gave for writing activities include, "monthly critique circles that offer feedback to developing written work, monthly programs where key poets in the community read their work aloud, and lastly what we call a poets table, which is almost like a workshop experience for poets to expand their written output."
The third and final arm Ron outlined are the classes and curriculum that are offered at MRAC, "This is where we're trying to make available a wide array of classes for children, teens, young adults, and adults." This program is just starting up again, as well as summer classes for children, so Ron expresses how exciting these will be and are something to look forward to.
The Show of Hands Exhibition is coming up soon, could you tell us what the name means?
"We wanted to look around in the Roxborough community and say anybody who's ready to show your work, raise your hand!" Ron answered with a laugh. "We thought it was time for the artists in the Roxborough community to show up and participate in a special exhibit this month that will highlight and feature those that live in the Roxborough area."
What mediums will be used in this show?
Expressing his excitement for the show coming which the opening reception will be on May 7, Ron said, "The mediums used will include anything from photography, oil painting, ink and other drawing tools, some ceramics, as well as a type of stone sculpting."
What is one piece of artwork in the collection that you're looking forward to?
Looking through some of the examples of work that will be presented at Show of Hands, Ron highlighted one artist that he was really keen to see. "Photographer Julia Lehman-McTigue has these photos that she takes underwater and they are simply beautiful."
How does MRAC stand out from other art centers?
"I think the most important distinguishing features about our art center is the combination of writer and poets together with visual artists in our shows." Ron continued to explain the positive impression MRAC has, "We have the unique capability to have them both as an integral part of the workings of the art center, which also provides quite a diverse audience from both backgrounds."
It doesn't matter if you're just getting into art or if you're experienced, there is a place for everyone interested in art and writing at MRAC. You can visit the Show of Hands exhibition May 7 at 12 p.m. for the opening reception, as well as on May 13 and 14. For more information about workshops and classes, please visit their website www.mrartcenter.org.
Visit the Manayunk Development Corporation Contact page for full contact information.
Office: 4312 Main Street, Philadelphia, PA 19127