Call For Artists

 PHILADELPHIA STORIES presents: “Forgotten Philadelphia”

September 3 – October 27th, 2012

The Fairmount Park Welcome Center, Love Park, 16th and JFK Boulevard, Philadelphia

Forgotten Philadelphia explores hidden treasures from the Philadelphia area, from abandoned historic buildings to forgotten parks, through the work of local artists and writers. The exhibit will combine art inspired by specific heritage sites with poems and short fiction that speculate on the stories behind these hidden treasures. A book will be published in conjunction with this exhibit.

Philadelphia has such a deep and myriad history. Many of its landmarks are disappearing with time, neglect, or redevelopment, such as the Divine Lorraine Hotel on Broad Street in North Philadelphia (pictured). Through words and visual art, “Forgotten Philadelphia” aims to capture these places at this particular moment in time and present them to an audience that may not be aware of their existence or their impending non-existence.

Call for Proposals

We are looking for a diverse group of 15 artists from the Delaware Valley (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware) to suggest Philadelphia landmarks for the subject of their completed work.  Once this group is selected, we will team each artist up with a writer or poet who will then write about the proposed location. Artwork and writing will be displayed side-by-side at The Fairmount Park Welcome Center in September and October of this year with an opening reception scheduled for Friday, September 21st.

Guidelines for Submission:

Each artist will submit the following:

  • A proposed location for your finished piece of art, including its location, a photograph, a brief paragraph describing why this place inspires you and any ideas you have for your finished piece of art
  • Three jpeg samples of your current work
  • A one-page resume of your most recent exhibitions and professional affiliations

Each proposed piece of art should be no larger than 24” wide x 30” long when framed.  All mediums and styles of 2-Dimensional work will be considered. All work must be available for sale with a 20% commission given to the Welcome Center for any work sold during the exhibition.

Deadline: Please email your submissions to by May 31st for consideration.

If your proposal is selected, we will notify you by June 15th via email.  Finished work must be completed and ready for hanging by August 31st.

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Forgotten Philadelphia

My interest in endangered properties began a few years ago when I drove past the Heidelberg-Kerlin Farm on Ashbourne Road in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania.  The house is set back, hidden amongst the trees that have grown unfettered all over the property. That house spoke to me – it called my name.  Houses have personalities (unless they are in a neighborhood in the Greater Northeast.)  Especially houses like this one that was built in the 1680s and is still standing (though just barely) almost 400 years later.

The next week, late in the afternoon, I enlisted a friend, Nina Sabatino, to jump over the chain link fence that surrounds the property and ignore the “NO TRESPASSING” sign to wonder around the house, taking pictures of the once majestic house.  (Those are her photos pictured above.)  The house was silent, and it was a little bit creepy.  You could hear the wind blowing softly and the occasional chipmunk scampering into one of the many holes in the foundation of the building. The only human sound to be heard was Nina’s startled gasp when she happened upon a rubber Halloween mask hanging from a doorway.  I am sure teenagers occasionally hang out here at night, when no one is around, on a dare.  Beer to make them brave. I know I would need that were I to come back after dark.

What happened to this house?  Why was it abandoned, allowed to deteriorate to a state seemingly beyond repair?

Recently, I’ve become “Philadelphia Stories” art editor.  One night, Christine Weiser, its founder and publisher, and I started talking about an idea we both had for an art exhibition that combined words with images.  The exhibition would be called “Forgotten Philadelphia” and it would focus on those places in Philadelphia and its immediate suburbs that are in danger of disappearing from this earth.  The visual art, poems and fiction inspired by these places may someday be the only thing left to speak to their existence.  Which is the beauty of art, allowing life to go on even after its gone.

My next post is our call for artist proposals.  We are asking artists to submit locations and proposals, (The Preservation Alliance lists properties in the Philadelphia area that are in danger of being demolished., by May 31st for an exhibition to be held at the Fairmount Park Welcome Center this September.  We have big plans for this exhibition.  We would like it to travel and there will be a book published in conjunction.

To purchase Nina’s photos of the Heidelberg-Kerlin estate, email her at

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About A Walk in the Wiss

Lone Bridge, Fall

I love to hike and mountain bike in the Wissahickon.  I usually park on Northwestern Avenue – down the street from Bruno’s – and take the bike/walking/running path there.  During the winter, my favorite time of the day is between 3 and 5 pm.  I love the fading light and the bare branches silhouetted against the wintry, mottled sky; the way the sun casts its warm light on the cold, gray ground.  After I’m done walking or riding, I’ll sometimes head over to Chestnut Hill and to McNally’s Pub for a pint of beer and one of my favorite vegetarian sandwiches ever (The George Bernard Shaw).  These are my favorite days in winter:  being out in nature and then warming up in cozy McNally’s with a dark beer and a yummy sandwich in the company of my two kids or a friend.  In my artwork, I try to capture the feeling I get when I’m out riding or walking in the Wissahickon.

The paintings in this exhibit were created using acrylics and the mixed media pieces with a technique called “Paper Cloth”.  With paper cloth, you adhere paper, fabric, found materials, etc., with a watered down adhesive (I like Aleene’s Tacky Glue) to a piece of muslin or canvas.  You can then draw, paint, print and hand-stitch on this surface.  The mixed media pieces in this exhibit take their lead from the abstract undertones of my paintings.  The technique of paper cloth lends itself to experimenting and playing.  The landscape is my jumping off point, but the technique of paper cloth soon takes over and the layering and patterning become more important than the depiction of any particular scene.

You can still imagine what Forbidden drive was like 100+ years ago when it was still the site of a vibrant mill community. “Lone Bridge, Fall” and “Last Bridge Standing” depict the red covered bridge that is situated between Bell’s Mill Road and Valley Green.  Originally, there were five covered bridges spanning the Wissahickon Creek.  Now there  is one.  Two of the pieces are of the Henry Avenue Bridge that crosses over Lincoln Drive.  Philadelphians know it as “Suicide Bridge” for obvious reasons.  (I didn’t want to call it that – such a negative name for such a spectacular structure.)

This is my last post about my own show.  I swear.  (But not on the life of my children or anyone else that I love.)

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A Walk in the Wiss

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I Am Not Ashamed to Say This Is All About Me.

I have wanted to be an artist since as long as I can remember.  Well, at least until after my phase of wanting to be a nun ended.  That desire was snuffed out when I discovered boys.  Then, I began to worry incessantly that I would “get the calling”.  According to the nuns in my Catholic grade school, if I got “the calling”, there was nothing I could do.  I had to accept or else! I would be unhappy for the rest of my life.  Every night, I would pray, “Please God, do not call me to be a nun.”  Luckily, God listened.  I did not get the calling and became an artist instead.

Through my child and young adulthood, I was embarrassed by my artwork and afraid that people would think it was bad.  I could not bear to be in the same room while it was on display and someone was looking at it.  God forbid the person looking at it made no comment at all. I immediately would think, “They hate it.  I suck.”

When I was 15, I was accepted into the Governor’s School for the Arts (a summer scholarship program for artistic Pennsylvania sophomores and juniors, held for 5 weeks at Bucknell University).  This was my first time away from home; I was incredibly homesick and  absolutely convinced that my being there was a huge mistake soon to be discovered.  On one of our first nights, we visual arts students laid out our portfolios for students from other disciplines to see. I was mortified and could barely sit next to my work.  Another student (and now a well-known Philadelphia artist and muralist), Paul Santoleri, sat near me.  I admired the way he looked everyone in the eye as they approached and asked their opinion. If only I had his confidence!  His talent has taken him far in the art world, but probably more valuable to his success, is his confidence.  Confidence is the key.  I realized I had none that night and it took me until late into my thirties to acquire it.

My next bout with a lack of self-confidence came when I was again awarded a scholarship.  This time it was to attend Yale University’s Summer School of Art and Music during the summer of my junior year in college.  The best fine art students from universities across the country were chosen.  Again, my being there had to be a mistake! I was sure of it.

We each had our own individual open studio spaces in a large barn-like building.  Whenever I saw any one of our instructors approaching to critique my work, I conveniently had to use the bathroom or clean my brushes.  I spent the whole summer hiding.

The program ended with a special critique by a visiting New York artist.  I hung my work on the exhibition wall.  I had completed a series of tiny (4 x 6″) landscape and interior paintings.  When the artist critiqued my work, she said, “I feel like your work is so small because your voice is really small; that you don’t have the confidence to go big.”  Boy did she hit the nail on the head!

(As a side note, I was especially glad not to get “the calling” that summer.  I met a fellow artist, Michael Cavanaugh, and I fell head over heels in love!  Our first kiss happened one night while we were out “beaver hunting”.  Seriously, we were down by a river watching actual beavers swim past us as we made-out on the bank.)

I don’t like to use this blog to promote my own work – that is definitely not its intention.  But I am having my first solo exhibition and I want the world to know.  Thankfully, confidence is no longer an issue.   I know that not everyone is going to like it.  And that is okay.  People are different and people have different opinions and like different things.  But I like the work and I am proud of it.  The days spent creating this body of work were some of my happiest of the past year.  And that really is all that matters.

My show is entitled “A Walk in the Wissahickon” and features paintings and mixed media pieces inspired by the wondrous Wissahickon.  It is on display at the Fairmount Park Welcome Center from now until February 29th.  I am having an artist reception on Friday, January 20th from 5:30 t0 8pm.  All are welcome.  It is also my birthday so come help me celebrate.

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A Step Above

If you want to get into the holiday spirit and do something fun with your kids this weekend, stop by the Waldorf Holiday Fair in Chestnut Hill/Mount Airy.  There are a ton of really fun crafts for your kids to do (including making a jump rope) while you begin your holiday shopping. This fair is also a great place for kids to shop – all of the vendors are selling original, one of a kind crafts that are extremely affordable.  And one more thing:  if you like vegetarian food, the food for sale is entirely homemade and delicious.

Lisa Kelley and Loretta Borko are two of the vendors that I know and admire.  Lisa is a member of MamaCita.  She makes clocks, prints, notebooks and buttons out of her graphic, whimsical designs.

Loretta Borko (my sister) makes felted dolls to hang from your Christmas tree or to collect.  Each doll is different and intricately decorated.  People go ga-ga over these dolls (as they should!).


Hours of Admission:  Friday, November 18th, 6 pm – 10pm.  Featuring live music and  gourmet food for adults.  Admission is free. Saturday, November 19th, 10 – 5pm.  Featuring children’s crafts, performances, and homemade food for the entire family.  $5 admission for adults, children under 14 are free.

The Waldorf School is located at 7500 Germantown Avenue, Eagles 2 Building in Mt. Airy.  (Right across the street from the Trolley Car Diner.)

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A Not-very-scholarly review

On Saturday morning, I dragged my 11 year old and 8 year old to see the Solo Series exhibition at the Abington Art center.  I am teaching in the art center’s APEX program.  In this program, I give a group of accelerated 4th graders a tour of the exhibition and then together, we create an art project based on the show.

The solo series is composed of 4 galleries featuring the work of 4 different artists: Sarah Becktel, Joseph Leroux, Erin Murray and Paul Rider.  After viewing the show (albeit very quickly; my 8 year old was quote, unquote “so hot I am dying!”), I had no idea what sort of lesson to teach.  Sarah Becktel’s realistic portraits were beautifully painted and funny in their juxtaposition of subject and objects.  In one, a woman stands to the right of 3 perfect Barbie dolls holding 3 perfectly bundled babies, while shoving a burger into her mouth and looking with averted guilty eyes at the BILFS to her left. (Barbies I would Like to F***).

The Agency by Sarah Becktel

Paul Rider’s large format black and white photographs of trees and their branches silhouetted against the sky were striking in their linearity.  Unfortunately, neither artist inspired a lesson plan. Erin Murray’s perspective drawings of buildings were carefully rendered and made me remember how much I love the haunting portrayals of deserted town centers in eery perspective painted by Italian artist Georgio DeChirico.   A lesson in perspective while good to know, ain’t exactly earth-shattering (but what art lesson is?).

Of all the work in the show, Jacob and Chloe liked Joseph Leroux’s geodesic structures the best, so that was the winning lesson plan. Joseph Leroux’s gallery was dominated by geodesic sculptures constructed of mostly round-headed straight pins.  (Also included was a sculpture made out of  yellow PixOs.  A particularly cool sculpture in their and my eyes.)

Here are some examples of the work that the students created.

When we were driving away from the exhibit, my 11 year old, Jacob, commented, “I don’t understand why a school would take a field trip to the Abington Art Center when the Philadelphia Art Museum is so much bigger.”  Really Jacob – why?  The Abington Art Center is a gem in the Philadelphia suburbs. It is completely do – able in the time period that a typical class schedule allows.  Students can go in and practically touch the art work.  They can speak as loudly as they want, ask a ton of questions and in the end make a piece of art that is directly related to what they just saw.

This exhibit runs until the end of November.  For more information,

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Call for Artwork

Comfort, Edvard Munch, 1907

I am writing a blog and am looking for art that is autobiographical; that is personal; that reveals something about the person creating it.  I am looking for both visual artists and writers (bloggers, spoken word, etc.).  Please send me your images: along with a link to your website or your blog.  Thanks!

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A Few (Nude) Minutes with Melissa Tevere

In the late 1970’s, Andy Rooney began his famous segment on 60 Minutes, “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney”.  This segment recently ended it’s 30+ year run.

In the spirit of Andy Rooney, I would like to offer “A Few Minutes with Melissa Tevere”.

Here goes:

Don’t you hate it when people add cute little acronyms to their text messages like  LOL or LMAO? And what about those adorable emoticons?  WTF is that about?   (My emoticon has its middle finger in the air BTW.)

Why am I even attempting to imitate the inimitable Andy Rooney?  You won’t believe it when I tell you my inspiration.  You won’t believe it when you see where this blog is going.  “Bare” with me – you may even see a nude!  (It may even be me!)

Last spring, I blogged about a series of photographs that my brother in law and photographer, Dave Moser, was working on.  Brave Odysseus was the title of that post. At that time, he had only photographed a handful of subjects.  Six months later –  the project has grown, the number of subjects increased.  The title for this project is The American Housewife and it is a series of photographs of suburban housewives in their home environs.

I was one of his subjects.  That is a picture of me at the top of this blog.  I think I look like Andy Rooney.  The expression on my face says, “Let me tell you what I think.  Don’t you hate it when…”

Which brings me to my next topic:  let me tell you what I think about posing nude!

When Dave interviews subjects for this project, he always asks if they would consider posing nude.  Only two women have agreed:  one who shall remain nameless (and torsoless as seen in the photograph below) and me.

I agreed to pose nude simply on a dare to myself.  Did I have the nerve to bare it all in front of a photographer (did I mention Dave is my brother in law????) and his two assistants and then to have to actually see the resultant photograph?

The morning of the shoot (Dave was due to arrive around noon), I decided to normalize the situation by doing everything in the nude.  I made my coffee, watched the Today Show, straightened and vacuumed the apartment in the nude.  I became so comfortable that I even considered answering the door in the nude when Dave and his assistants arrived.  (Lucky for me, I chickened out: my landlord and his wife also happened to be waiting at the door!)

Posing nude turned out to be no big deal.

O'Keefe Nude by Alfred Stiegltiz.

Georgia O'Keefe by Alfred Stieglitz.

When I agreed to pose nude, I imagined myself a modern day Georgia O’Keefe.  Beginning in 1917, O’Keefe caused a scandal when she posed nude for the then-married Alfred Stieglitz.  I also imagined that my photos would be just as artistic and that I would look just as thin.  (Actually, O’Keefe looks emaciated in her photographs – no thank you!)   After she posed for Stieglitz, her own art seemed to become sexually charged.  Is that a zucchini flower or a vagina?  I am not saying that the genital overtones of her work were a direct result of her posing nude for Stieglitz.  This was just the course her work took.  I will say however that she was a woman ahead of her time – willing to pose nude in conservative, prudish America at the beginning of the 20th century and then consciously or unconsciously (she publicly rejected this Freudian interpretation of her work) exploring feminine sexuality in the folds of a flower.

Red Canna, 1923. Georgia O'Keefe

What was the result of my posing nude? I searched high and low for sexual references in my pretty traditional landscape paintings and I couldn’t find them.  And I still haven’t seen the one nude photo that Dave actually took – I am too much of a wimp for that.  (no one else has either – I made him sign a confidentiality agreement that it would never be shown without my permission!)  I may talk the big talk but I am no Georgia O’Keefe.  80 years later and I am no where near as brave as she.

Here is a link to Dave’s website.  Take a look.

Such a tease!

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Call for Art (Artists)

I want to write a blog that discusses “the truth in art”.  What is truth?  This could mean so many things, interpreted by artists in so many different ways.  That is all I’m going to say.   Please send me jpegs of work that manipulates the truth in some way and let’s see where this takes us.  Email images to me at  Thanks.

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