Presbyterian Church puts on holiday show for NW artists

by Len Lear
Posted 12/7/23

Eighteen local artists are each currently exhibiting four of their works in the annual Northwest Philadelphia Artists Holiday Show & Sale.

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Presbyterian Church puts on holiday show for NW artists


Eighteen local artists are each currently exhibiting four of their works in the annual Northwest Philadelphia Artists Holiday Show & Sale through Dec. 16 at the Center On The Hill in the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Ave.

The holiday art show is the brainchild of Marcia Jones, instructor of the Watermedia class at Center On The Hill and longtime instructor of art classes for Mt. Airy Learning Tree (MALT) such as “Watercolor and Drawing Foundations” and “Making Art Makes Us Smarter: Pastels.”

“We are exhibiting paintings in the gallery, as well as many handcrafted artworks in our marketplace,” Jones said last week. “The Northwest artists include those in our Watermedia class, as well as guest artists. Our class has been meeting for 15 years, and our members are dedicated artmakers who have honed their individual voices and skills in this supportive group. And our sales in this show help support Center On The Hill.”

A native of Indianapolis who has lived in West Mt. Airy for 30 years, Jones has been a popular teacher of watercolors and drawing at MALT for 16 years as well as at numerous other area venues such as Allens Lane Art Center, Tyler School of Art and in her studio.

Chestnut Hill resident and photographer Kelly Vincent told us in an earlier interview, “I've studied watercolors with Marcia for 10 years now, and learning from her has changed my life … Marcia is encouraging, patient and knowledgeable. She is among the best teachers I've ever had, and I am happy to call her a friend.”

Another of the artists whose work is being exhibited in the holiday show, Karen Hutcheson of Wyndmoor, has been drawing, painting and working with textiles since she was a young child. She made clothes for her dolls and later for herself. Her homes have been decorated with draperies she has made, pillows and furniture she has reupholstered and furniture she has refinished or painted.

Until recently she was a partner at a global consulting firm, but she wanted more time to pursue creative activities and some non-business traveling. “I decided to 'semi-retire,' which I am calling 'rewirement,'” she said. “I left my firm, started a small consultancy and signed up for a beginners' watercolor class with Marcia Jones. I later joined her artists' group. I've dabbled with watercolors for years, and the ability to devote more time to it has been a joy.”

Linda Chicchi, another artist in the show, is an East Falls native who retired in 2012 from a position at Einstein Hospital and dedicated herself to her artwork. One reviewer wrote last year that her watercolors, which are primarily of flowers and landscapes, “are so realistic, they could be mistaken for photos of abstract images.”

According to Marcia Jones, “Linda has natural abilities which have always been apparent, but … to see her development of interesting subjects has been very satisfying for myself and our group. In her retirement, she has reinvented herself as a professional artist!”

Judy Rubin, of Mt. Airy, who has written for the Local in the past, is a retired Philadelphia public school vocal music teacher who decided to take a watercolor class with Alex Forbes at Center on the Hill a few years ago.

This past October she was accepted into Marcia Jones' class, which is by invitation only, and this will be the first time she has shown her work publicly. She will also play holiday songs on the piano during the opening. 

“I love doing friends’ pets,” Rubin told us last week. “I also look through photographs from nature magazines and enjoy doing birds, flowers, water scenes, cityscapes and still life. I find the watercolor medium challenging because of its unpredictability. I will add that I have an affinity with Grandma Moses, who started painting in her late 70s. I am 82!. 

“When I first started, my work disappeared because I didn’t realize how much lighter it dries after the original application,” she continued. “I am just beginning to relax, experiment and enjoy the process. At first, I was super critical and was not having fun. Now, though, I smile and relax when working.”

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