Imperfect Gallery’s fall show returns with community spirit

by Pryce Jamison
Posted 10/5/23

Imperfect Gallery’s 11th annual “WTF” Germantown show is back with yet another diverse art exhibit.

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Imperfect Gallery’s fall show returns with community spirit


Imperfect Gallery’s 11th annual “WTF” Germantown show is back with yet another diverse art exhibit, giving Philadelphia artists a platform to display their different styles of work. 

The show includes paintings, sculptures, collages, pottery and photography that represents social commentary, super-realism, abstract expressionism and spiritually-oriented work. Artists range from children as young as 9 to older adults in their 80s.

The exhibit debuted on Thursday, Sept. 28 with an opening reception, honoring the 123 artists included in the show. “WTF” will run through Nov. 4 and at the gallery’s location in the 5500 block of Germantown Avenue. 

“We had hundreds of people come. This place was mobbed with people in every room and even out on the sidewalk. It felt like a big downtown opening,” said gallery co-founder and curator, Renny Molenaar. “Nothing formal and no presentations, it was just a mingling opportunity for the artists to show off their work and be together.”

Molenaar and his wife, Rocio Cabello, longtime Germantown residents, co-founded the nonprofit gallery in 2012 and have been presenting the work of local artists ever since.

Molenaar, who is from Aruba, and Cabello, from Peru, immigrated to the U.S. and have an extensive background in art and curation, with a passion for allowing artists from all backgrounds to express themselves freely.

“It’s very gratifying during the reception to see the artists walk in with their friends and families and they feel good, so that makes us feel good,” Molenaar said. “It was like a potluck. People brought wine, beer, and treats. We set up tables; they fill them up and they help us clean. It's a really beautiful community.”

The gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, but Molenaar is hoping to add a third day to the schedule. Visitors can also view the show by appointment. 

To find artists for the show, Molenaar and Cabello post an open call on social media and on their website inviting artists to submit their work for the fall show. This year, about 50 percent of the artists whose work was accepted for the show are new to the gallery.

“We look for artists who are passionate about whatever drives them to be creative and make things,” Molenaar said. “We’re driven by our focus on the individual, and their voice as an artist.” 

This year’s show would’ve been the gallery’s 12th annual exhibit, but COVID forced the cancellation of shows during the pandemic. But, with new artists submitting work to the gallery and a growing sense of community, things seem to be moving in a positive direction.

“This year and last year were a big jump from pre-COVID. Before (the pandemic) there was only one show that had over 100 artists,” with participation usually including about 70 to 80 artists, Molenaar said. “There’s definitely been an uptick.”

The increase in new artists also offers hope for the gallery’s long term future as an art haven in the community.

“This is a really good sign for us because it’s so hard to run a small nonprofit,” Molenaar said. “Survival is a real challenge for us so it’s exciting that new people are turning out and that we’re able to pull this off successfully.”

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