What To Do: Celebrating Jamie Wyeth

Also: More art in Malvern, hot cars in Philly and wine and chocolate

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times

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The works of famed local artist Jamie Wyeth are now being featured at The Brandywine River Museum of art. Above: Wyeth’s “A Murder of Crows.”

Chadds Ford is home to the Wyeth family and the Wyeth family is home to a number of highly talented painters. The Wyeth family’s art has long been celebrated at museums and institutions in the Brandywine Valley.

Now through April 5, the Brandywine River Museum of Art (Route 1, Chadds Ford, 610-388-2700, www.brandywinemuseum.org) is featuring a major retrospective exhibition of artist Jamie Wyeth. The impressive exhibition will examine Wyeth’s distinctive approach to realism over the course of six decades — from his earliest portraits to the present.

The exhibit “Jamie Wyeth” includes more than 100 paintings depicting the landscapes of the Brandywine Valley and coastal Maine as well as family members and fellow artists. Also featured are domesticated and wild animals, many of which are executed in “combined mediums,” the artist’s preferred term to describe his technique.

The exhibition is billed as “the largest and most comprehensive survey of Jamie Wyeth’s art ever to be assembled.”

Wyeth was born into a renowned family of artists, including his grandfather N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945), his father Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) and his aunt Carolyn Wyeth (1909-1994). He was given the opportunity and support to pursue painting seriously at a young age. Wyeth never formally studied art but instead opted to learn from his aunt Carolyn.

This new exhibition will present a full overview of Jamie Wyeth’s works, including childhood drawings, his first virtuoso portraits and early images inspired by his participation in NASA’s “Eyewitness to Space” program.

The exhibition also includes paintings made during his time in New York with Andy Warhol at the Factory and his sketches and paintings of ballet star Rudolf Nureyev. His large-scale portraits of barnyard animals and birds were forerunners to his series of the seven deadly sins as portrayed by seagulls.

Many themes recur in Wyeth’s work, including the people and places most familiar to him and favorite subjects like animals and pumpkins. In Pennsylvania, many of his works depict his wife, Phyllis Mills Wyeth, in pursuit of her passion for carriaging. The exhibition includes his portrait of John F. Kennedy.

The Brandywine River Museum of Art is open daily from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (ages 65 and over), $6 for students and children (ages 6-12) and free for children (under six) and Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art members.

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The Malvern Retreat House’s ArtShow 2015 runs Feb. 4 -8.

There are many art shows in this area throughout the year and one of the best is Malvern Retreat House’s ArtShow (McShain-Horstmann Family Life Center, 315 South Warren Avenue, Malvern, 610-644-0400, www.MalvernRetreat.com).

While many shows are just weekend events, Malvern Retreat House’s ArtShow 2015 spans a full five days — from February 4-8. The ambitious show will have more than 500 original works of art by more than 100 professional artists. The special feature this year is “Fiber Art” featuring 15 fiber artists.

Each piece of artwork will be available for purchase and show attendees will be able to shop for items in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics, jewelry, and glasswork.

There is an added incentive to purchase art at this event. A portion of the sales will benefit Malvern Retreat House.  There is no Pennsylvania sales tax and 35 per cent of all artwork purchased is tax deductible.

The free show runs from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. from February 4-7 and from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on February 8.

Additionally, there will be a “Wine and Cheese Reception” on February 6 from 5-8 p.m. Also a free event, the social gathering features a complimentary wine and cheese reception along with the opportunity for patrons to meet some of the participating artists.

Whether you’re a die-hard automobile fan, someone considering buying a new auto or just a person with a casual interest in modern vehicles, you should definitely consider visiting the 2015 Philadelphia International Auto Show which is running from January 31-February 8 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia, 610 279-5229, www.phillyautoshow.com).


2015 Philadelphia International Auto Show runs from Jan. 31 through Feb. 8.

The Philly Auto Show is a popular annual attraction that has anchored the winter event schedule for years — one that continually grows, evolves and re-invents itself with new attractions every year. The 2015 show will be the biggest yet with more than 700 vehicles on display under one roof.

This year’s 114th annual staging of the event features a 700,000 square foot display floor with a wide array of pre-production, production, exotic, classic, and concept cars. As one of the largest auto shows in the nation, the Philadelphia Auto Show annually welcomes approximately 250,000 attendees during its nine-day run.

The Philadelphia Auto Show is a showcase for the latest pre-production models. Some of the 2016 models that will be featured at this year’s event are the Volvo XC90, Lincoln MKX, Fiat 500X, Honda HR-V, Buick Cascada, Nissan Titan, and Ford Explorer.

Many of the newest concept models will be unveiled, including the new Buick Avenir concept. Ferrari returns for the second year and will feature its FF and 458 Italia models. Also on display will be the McLaren 650S Spider, Lamborghini Huracan, and Aston Martin Vanquish.

Camp Jeep will feature the Jeep Test Track, a 30,000-square-foot interactive adventure zone where professional 4×4 drivers allow riders to experience a Jeep’s on- and off-road capabilities. While they are waiting for their turn, guests can also try their hand at the 25-foot tall Jeep Climbing Wall and be entertained by the Jeep 0-60 Challenge, in which guests have 60 seconds to complete a Jeep-themed task.

This year’s DUB Live exhibit will include 125,000 square feet of the sickest custom cars, trucks and SUVs. Visitors can check out killer paint jobs, performance mods, rims, tints, and sound systems that cause a rumble in your belly. There will also be celebrity custom rides including the personal vehicles of professional athletes Jeremey Maclin, Brandon Boykin, Najee Goode, Nolan Carroll, and Michael Vick.

The 2015 Philadelphia Auto Show hours are noon-10 p.m. on weekdays, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturdays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on February 1 and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. on February 8. Tickets are $13 for adults (age 13 and up) and $6 for children (ages 7-12). Children age 6 and younger do not require a ticket.

chaddsford winery chocolate-and-wine

February is Wine and Chocolate month on the Brandywine Wine Trail.

The Brandywine Valley Wine Trail (www.bvwinetrail.com) has developed a number of annual events that have become local traditions, including “Wine and Chocolate Month” which is running now through the end of February. The BVWT is inviting patrons to bring their sweethearts and celebrate with the wineries as they present delicious wine and chocolate tastings and other romantic events throughout February.

Paradocx Vineyard (1833 Flint Hill Rd., Landenberg, 610-255-5684, www.paradocx.com) will celebrate “Valentine’s Day at the Vineyard” with wine-and-chocolate pairings from February 13-15.

The sessions, which are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on February 13 and 1 and 3 p.m. on February 14 and 15, feature live music and a pairing of ParadocxWines and Neuchâtel Chocolate Truffles — and a complementary PDX stemless glass.Tickets are $25.

Black Walnut Winery (3000 Lincoln Highway, Sadsburyville, 610-857-5566, www.blackwalnutwinery.com) will offer five of its wines paired with gourmet chocolates from Phoenixville’s Bridge Street Chocolates.

Wine and chocolate pairing appointments are available on February 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22 at 1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m. each day. Tickets are $20 per person and include a Black Walnut logo wine glass.

The Chaddsford Winery (632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, 610-388-6221, www.chaddsford.com), which is not a member of the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail, also has a special chocolate event.

There will be “Wine & Chocolate Samplings” on February 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22 and 28 and March 1. Guests will be treated to a creative pairing of Chaddsford wines with chocolate and chocolate-covered treats from Farmstead Gourmet.

This guided sit-down tasting will feature four pairings and includes a keepsake glass. Tickets are $20 per person.

Sometimes, it seems as if people like to diss sheep. It’s often an insult to tell someone they follow like a sheep. The word sheeplike often implies meekness or stupidity. And, being sheepish often describes a state of embarrassment.

It’s a lot different in eastern cultures.


The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology hosts its 34th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration, Jan. 31.

The Chinese zodiac is a rotating cycle of 12 years in which each year is represented by a specific animal and its characteristics. There are 12 animals in the cycle — rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

2015 is the Year of the Sheep according to Chinese zodiac. The Year of the Sheep runs from February 19, 2015 (the Lunar New Year / Spring Festival of China) until to February 7, 2016.

People born in the “Year of the Sheep” are generally believed to be gentle, mild-mannered, shy, stable, sympathetic, amicable, and brimming with a strong sense of kindheartedness and justice. They have very delicate thoughts, strong creativity and perseverance.

Although they look gentle on the surface, they are tough on the inside. They have strong inner resilience and excellent defensive instincts. Though they prefer to be in groups, they do not want to be the center of attention. They are reserved and quiet — most likely because they like spending much time in their thoughts.

On January 31, there will be a special event in Philadelphia to welcome in the Year of the Sheep when the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (33rd and Spruce streets, Philadelphia, 215-898-4000, www.penn.museum) hosts its 34th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

The popular annual event in Philadelphia will feature celebrations of Chinese culture and New Year traditions throughout the day with programs and activities for all ages, including children’s workshops, storytelling, cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts exhibitions and martial and healing arts demonstrations.

There will be dance performances by Minghui School Dance Team, Great Wall Chinese School Little Mulan Dance Troupe, Penn Chinese Dance Club and the Philadelphia Mulan Dance Troupe along with a Tangram Workshop and a Kung Fu demonstration.

Other activities include a Calligraphy Drop-in workshop, Chinese music demonstrations with Kurt Jung and Qin Qian, a Falun Gong presentation, “Animal Signs of the Chinese Zodiac” guided family gallery tours, Mulan Boxing and Kung Fu Fan presentation, fruit and vegetable Carving with Chef Joseph Poon and a Ba’z Tai Chi demonstration.

The annual celebration will conclude, as always, with the “Lion Dance.” Lion dancers and drummers begin inside at 3:45 p.m. and, weather permitting, wind their way outside for a firecracker finale.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $13 for senior citizens, $10 for students and free for children (under 6).

The need to understand the cultures of other nations has become extremely important in recent years. A good way to get your kids interested in the culture of other countries is to take them to the Garden State Discovery Museum: (2040 Springdale Road, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, 856-424-1233, www.discoverymuseum.com).

The children-oriented museum in South Jersey is presenting a special program called “Passport to Discovery” on selected weekends now through the end of March.

This weekend’s theme will be “It’s Greek to Me!” with the event slated to run from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on January 31 and February 1. Visitors will be able to celebrate the ancient history of the beautiful Mediterranean country with crafts, stories and sports.

As an added attraction, there will be a special screening of the Disney movie “Hercules” on January 31 at 6:30 p.m.

The “Dark Continent” will be the destination for the event on the weekend of February 7 and 8 — an event titled “African Drum & Dance.”  From 11 a.m.-3 p.m. each day, the museum will celebrate the music, dance and art of Africa.

The highlight attraction this weekend will be a lively and entertaining performance by the Universal African Drum & Dance Ensemble on February 7 at 1p.m.

On February 21 and 22, the spotlight will shift to the Orient when the museum presents “Chinese New Year” from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. each day. The event will feature the traditional sights and sounds of China’s Lunar New Year celebration.

If you’re cold and hungry on a bleak mid-winter day, a great way to get rid of the hunger and warm up is to sit down with a steaming bowl of soup.

Sweden has its share of bitter winter weather so the Swedes are well aware of the nutritional and therapeutic benefits of hot soup.

In recognition of this, the American Swedish Historical Museum (1900 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-389-1776, http://www.americanswedish.org) will hold its annual Pea Soup and Punsch Supper on January 31.

This Saturday, visitors to the museum in South Philadelphia are invited to shake off the chill and warm up Swedish style with an evening of steamy soup and strong drink. This annual event, which is known as Ärtsoppa och Punschin Sweden, is hosted by the museum’s Pea Soup Committee.

Attendees will break bread together over a quintessential Swedish meal of pea soup and punsch, which is a sweet and strong Arrack liquor-based drink. Arrack, a strong Indian liquor, was imported from Java and became the base ingredient for making punsch, which has 25 per cent alcohol by volume and 30 per cent sugar.

This hearty meal, which also includes sharp cheese, bread and dessert, is inspired by a tradition that dates back to medieval times. On Thursday nights, the people of Sweden would eat this filling meal before beginning the weekly Friday fast.

Tickets for the Pea Soup and Punsch Supper are $25 each. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (215) 389-1776.

February is African American History Month and the National Constitution Center National Constitution Center (525 Arch Street, Independence Mall, Philadelphia, 215-409-6700, www.constitutioncenter.org) is honoring it with a number of special events and attractions that are running now through the end of February.

During the month of February, the National Constitution Center will paying tribute to the achievements and the courageous sacrifices made by African Americans throughout history as they strived to become recognized as an integral part of “We the People.”

Activities at the Center will feature interactive programming designed for visitors of all ages. There will be artifacts highlighting important moments in African American history including a rare printing of the Emancipation Proclamation which was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.

The “Breaking Barriers Show” looks at the lives of Thurgood Marshall, Bessie Coleman, Jackie Robinson, and other extraordinary African Americans throughout history to provide insight into the issues they faced and the rights they secured for all Americans.

On the “Self-Guided African American History Tour”, visitors can tour the Center’s main exhibition “The Story of We the People” and discover important moments in African American history through historical artifacts.

Some of the featured attractions on the tour are rare, signed copies of the Thirteenth Amendments and Emancipation Proclamation, President Obama inauguration artifacts, The American National Tree (featuring influential African Americans including Paul Robeson, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ward Connerly and Muhammad Ali) and an original printing of the Supreme Court’s controversial Dred Scott decision.

As part of our interactive daily programming in February, visitors can test their knowledge of African American history at the museum’s “Giant Game Board.” Children and families compete to see who can cross the finish line first.  Participants serve as game pieces as they roll the giant dice, answer questions and work their way across the board.

As an added attraction, the Center is offering a special “Winter Sale” on admission. Now through March 31, tickets are only $10 for adults and $5 for children.

Groundhog Day is February 2 — the day when the eyes of the nation will be focused on Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania and the antics of the groundhog “Punxsutawney Phil.”

Every year on February 2, Phil comes out of his burrow on Gobbler’s Knob to predict the weather for the rest of winter. According to legend, if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see his shadow, there will be an early spring.

Obviously, everyone (except skiers and snowboarders) will be rooting for a “no shadow” day.

Fortunately, you don’t have to make the long drive to Punxsutawney to get in the spirit of Groundhog Day.

On January 31, you can take a short trip the Lancaster County Parks Environmental Center (One Natures Way, Lancaster, 717-295-2055, http://web.co.lancaster.pa.us) for a special one-day event.

On Saturday from 10-11:30 a.m., naturalist Mary Ann Schlegel will lead “G is for Groundhog,” an event that looks at some facts and whimsy about these common rodents. After examining groundhog skulls and mounts, the activity will conclude with a walk to explore some groundhog holes

The program is an all-ages event but children must be accompanied by adults. Admission to the event is $1.

Anyone who is interested in repairing, refurbishing or upgrading their home should plan a trip to the Suburban Pennsylvania Spring Home Show which is running now through February 1at the Lancaster County Convention Center (25 South Queen Street, Lancaster, 888-560-3976, www.acshomeshow.com).

The Suburban Pennsylvania Spring Home Show, which features free admission, is an event designed for homeowners in all stages of remodeling, landscaping and decorating their homes. It offers hundreds of exhibits featuring product demonstrations, sample displays of interior and exterior vignettes and a wide variety of related merchandise.

Visitors to the show will be able to check out new products and receive expert advice from professionals. At the popular annual event, homeowners will find a wide array of ideas and inspiration for enhancing their home’s functionality, aesthetic appeal, comfort and overall value.

There will be exhibitors representing a huge range of categories, including air conditioning, lighting, architects, masonry, lighting, painting, roofing, floors, home theaters, financing, appliances, plumbing, heating, paving, waterproofing, siding and even spas.

If you’re looking for a family event that is both fun and free, Hagley Museum and Library (Route 141, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-658-2400, www.hagley.org) has an offer you can’t resist.

Now through March 13, Hagley Museum is offering free admission to its site along the banks of the Brandywine Creek. This includes all exhibitions, site tours, weekend demonstrations and other activities — everything with the exception of ticketed events.

Visitors to the historic site will have access to the Powder Yards, Worker’s Hill Community, the du Pont homes and gardens and the Visitor Center exhibits. Beginning March 2, Eleutherian Mills, the original du Pont home, will be closed for four months of restoration.

This weekend will mark the final performances of “The Yeomen of the Guard; or, The Merryman and His Maid” by the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Chester County (610-269-5499, www.gsschesco.org).  The show will be presented at West Chester University’s Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre (Swope Music Building, 817 South High Street, West Chester) from January 29-February 1.

The darkest of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, “Yeomen” ends with a broken-hearted main character and at least two reluctant engagements, rather than the usual armful of marriages. However, there are plenty of topsy-turvy plot complications along with a score that many consider to be Sullivan’s finest.

Performances are scheduled for January 30 at 8 p.m., January 31 at 2 and 8 p.m. and February 1 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $19.

Also this weekend, you can attend a theatrical event that is both fun and educational. Four hundred years of activism will be the focus when Plays and Players Theatre (1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, 866-811-4111, www.playsandplayers.org) presents “Voices of a People’s History of the United States.” 

The production features speeches, songs and excerpts from the book of the same name edited by Anthony Arnove and noted historian, author and avid social activist Howard Zinn.

“Voices of a People’s History of the United States” presents the actual words from American history that helped stop slavery, railed against war, promoted gay and women’s rights and helped combat other wrongs.

The voices in this show come from individuals who are well-known historical figures including Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez, Eugene Debs, Tecumseh and Frederick Douglass as well as lesser-known persons such as David Walker, an African-American abolitionist who called for black unity in the fight against oppression, and Mary Elizabeth Lease, who in 1890 stated that “Wall Street owns the country.”

The presentation also includes contemporary activists, such as such as Amber Kudla, whose 2013 valedictorian graduation speech protested the negative impact of Common Core standardized testing.

Showtime is 8 p.m. on January 30 and 31.Tickets are $30 for general admission and $20 for students.

Even though the immensely popular movie “Frozen” has been out for quite some time already, kids still can’t get enough of anything even remotely related to the Disney’s blockbuster movie.

On January 31, the Fair Hill Nature Center (630 Tawes Drive, Elkton, Maryland, 410-398-4909, www.fairhillnature.org) will host an event called “Frozen Fantasy.” The event, which includes activities and themes based on the film “Frozen,” will run from 9 a.m.-noon.

Crafts and outdoor activities will hosted by Nora. The family-oriented event is geared for children ages 5 and older and tickets are priced at $10. Pre-registration is recommended and can be done by calling 410-398-4909 or registering online at www.fairhillnature.org/upcoming-events.html.

There are also several ongoing events that offer fun alternatives to staying home on cold, winter days.

Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) is celebrating the ultra-popular orchid during “Orchid Extravaganza” — an annual event that is running through March 29.

The celebration of the orchid species features thousands of orchid blooms along with a variety of displays and special exhibits throughout its four-acre conservatory. “Orchid Extravaganza” will also feature stunning displays of orchids in planting beds, containers and innovative exhibits.

Approximately 5,000 colorful orchids hang from baskets, create inspiring arrangements and adorn unique forms throughout “Orchid Extravaganza.” Two of the most interesting exhibits are an oncidium waterfall display and an orchid meadow.

Admission to Longwood Gardens is $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and $10 for students.

Now through March 1, thousands of unsold Christmas trees are the focal point of “The Ultimate Recycled Maze,” a popular event at Linvilla Orchards (137 West Knowlton Road, Media, 610-876-7116, www.linvilla.org).

A huge amount of unsold Christmas trees have been collected from around the region to create this exciting new attraction that is fun for all ages. The maze takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to get through. Admission to the maze, which is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., is $5 — or $4 when purchased with a round of mini-golf.

Linvilla Orchard’s “Fore! The Planet” is a highly interactive and playful museum exhibit created by the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. This exhibition pairs important environmental issues with the fun of miniature golf.

It features 18 unique educational holes on a variety of topics — butterfly metamorphosis, a tropical rainforest, evolution, dinosaur extinction, food chains and more. Kids of all ages can enjoy playing miniature golf while learning about our environment on every hole.

The mini-course is open daily from 9 a.m. -5 p.m. Tickets are $6.95 (ages 11 and over) and $4.95 (ages 10 and under).

Another fun activity which is nature-related and educational is “Dinosaurs of the Deep,” the new attraction at the Adventure Aquarium (1 Riverside Drive, Camden, New Jersey, 856-365-3300, www.adventureaquarium.com).

The exhibit allows spectators to travel into an underwater world of millions of years ago when giant prehistoric monsters ruled the seas. These enormous and deadly prehistoric marine reptiles were as vicious and fascinating as their dinosaur counterparts that roamed the Earth — and often twice the size.

“Dinosaurs of the Deep,” which is running now through July 5, offers visitors the opportunity to discover and learn more about these amazing animals that ruled the Jurassic seas with an immersive, larger-than-life experience that will bring visitors face-to-face with more than 20 of these ancient animals.

Other attractions at the Adventure Aquarium include “Hippo Haven,” “Stingray Beach Club Feeding Experience,” “Meet the Divers,” “Hippo Feed and Talk,” “Ocean Realm,” “Caribbean Currents,” “Shark Realm,” “Penguin Island,” “Creature Feature” and the Aquarium’s “4D Theater” featuring the film “Sea Monsters.”

Admission to the Adventure Aquarium is $25.95 for adults and $18.95 for children (ages 2-12). Children under two are admitted free with a paying adult.

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