What To Do: Saluting local German heritage folk art

Also: Carmen at First State Ballet, Wyeth exhibit at Brandywine

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times

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Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library is featuring the opening of a major new exhibition “A Colorful Folk: Pennsylvania Germans and the Art of Everyday Life.”

When German immigrants began settling in America in the 1700s, they brought with them a lot of traditions — culinary, religious and cultural.

They also brought along a love for decorating. The Pennsylvania Germans decorated almost everything including walls, needlework, furniture, kitchen utensils and even their guns. The Amish, who have a reputation for being the plain people, also loved decorating — especially with their intricate quilts.

On March 1, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library (Route 52 just south of the Pennsylvania state line, Wilmington, Delaware, 800-448-3883, http://www.winterthur.org) re-opens with the opening a major new exhibition “A Colorful Folk: Pennsylvania Germans and the Art of Everyday Life.”

The exhibition is a groundbreaking exploration of Pennsylvania German fraktur and folk art that brings new life to an exquisite artistic tradition. Open through January 3, 2016, it will allow visitors to examine the daily life of early Pennsylvania Germans.

Objects on display deal with a variety of topics such as romance, birth, death, and life in early Pennsylvania poignantly. There are more than 125 objects including decorated manuscripts (“fraktur”), textiles, furniture, metalwork, and pottery embellished with hearts, flowers, birds, and other traditional motifs. Many of them have never before been exhibited or published.

Fraktur plays a big role in the exhibition. There are two meanings to the German word “fraktur.” Fraktur is a calligraphic hand of the Latin alphabet and any of several black letter typefaces derived from this hand.

Fraktur is also a style of lettering and a highly artistic and elaborate illuminated folk art created by the Pennsylvania Germans. Most Fraktur examples of this type were created between 1740 and 1860. The exhibit at Winterthur looks at both types.

The Pennsylvania Germans definitely had a love of color, design, and whimsy. Most objects are functional, but others were made “just for nice” and attest to a penchant for decorating virtually everything– from a tiny pincushion to the side of a barn.

The education and highly interesting exhibit also examines the tools and techniques used by fraktur artists. Additionally, it examines issues of authenticity, forgery, and revivals.

“All these objects in the exhibition give us a look at the day-to-day life of the Pennsylvania Germans,” said the exhibition’s curator, Lisa Minardi. “They really liked to decorate everything.

“There are kitchen utensils that have been decorated and very elaborate examples of their needlework. A lot of the fraktur on display here were used to document family events such as births and baptisms.”

Minardi, who is a Winterthur Assistant Curator, is a highly-respected specialist in Pennsylvania German art and culture.

Some of the rarest and most historically important objects in the exhibition are a large carved and painted statue of an eagle by itinerant artist Wilhelm Schimmel, a John Boyer seed chest, a labeled Joseph Lehn saffron cup, a redware flowerpot made for Sarah Bixler and a dynamic comparison of the religious text made by Mennonite schoolmaster Andreas Kolb shown side-by-side with a certificate made by Kolb’s protégé Johann Adam Eyer.

General admission tickets are honored for two consecutive days and include access to the garden, a garden tram tour, the Galleries and special exhibitions, and an introductory house tour. The Introductory Tour is offered throughout the day and does not require reservations (last tickets sold at 3:15 pm). Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and students and $5 for children (ages 2-11).

Another good destination in Delaware this weekend will be the 14th Annual Hockessin Art Festival. The event, which runs from February 27-March 1 will be held at the Hockessin Memorial Hall, (606 Yorklyn Road, Hockessin, Delaware, 302-998-1930, www.wwrr.com).

The Wilmington & Western Railroad’s Hockessin Art Festival is a fundraising effort to benefit the railroad, now entering its 49th year of tourist service. The W&WRR operates steam and diesel trains year-round on 10 miles of track through the scenic Red Clay Valley.

The festival features more than 25 artists who will be displaying and selling original works of art. Refreshments will be available and door prizes will be awarded. On February 27, there will be a special “Friday Evening Preview” from 5-8 p.m. featuring light hors’ doeuvres and a cash bar.

Some of this year’s featured artists are Beth Palser, Larry Anderson, Christina Oddo, Catherine Colsher, Keith Hoffman, Steve Oliver, Sandy Askey-Adams, Doris Davis-Glackin, James Redding, James R. Huntsberger, Joe and Lorann Jacobs, Kathy Ruck, Patricia Brown-Tolton, Anna Biggs Designs, Rita Trimmer,  Eric Zippe, Shawn Faust and John Stevens.

As an added attraction, the Wilmington & Western Railroad will be running its “Festival Express” on Saturday and Sunday. The railroad’s vintage 1929 railcar will depart from the station behind Memorial Hall for 40-minute round trips through the towns of Yorklyn and Ashland.

The trains depart from behind the Hockessin Memorial Hall in Hockessin. Tickets are $5 and departure times are noon, 1, 2 and 3 p.m. both days with an additional train at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Admission to the festival is $3 for adults and free for children (under 12). Tickets for the train ride are $5 for everyone.

Another incentive to make a trip south across the Pennsylvania-Delaware state line this weekend could be a visit to Hagley Museum and Library (Route 141, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-658-2400, www.hagley.org).

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

Visitors will be able to check out Hagley’s current exhibits, explore demonstrations in the Powder Yard, tour the du Pont ancestral home, and enjoy walks along the scenic riverside. Exhibits and dioramas document the Brandywine Valley’s early eras as well as the history of the DuPont Company.

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The Delaware Art Museum presents its “Seventh Annual Chinese New Year Celebration” from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday.

Delaware also beckons with a pair of Chinese festivals and a live ballet performance.

For all those who suffer from ovinaphobia, this might not be the best year to attend a Chinese New Year celebration because according to the Chinese Zodiac, this is the Year of the Snake. Ovinaphobia is a fear of sheep.

On February 28, the Delaware Art Museum (Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-571-9590, www.delart.org) will present its “Seventh Annual Chinese New Year Celebration” from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

The annual Chinese New Year Celebration in Delaware includes traditional Chinese art activities, lion, dragon and folk dances, artist demonstrations, a scavenger hunt and Chinese yo-yo demonstrations by the Chinese American Community Center Folk and Lion Dance Troupe and Yo-Yo Club.

On February 21, the Delaware Chinese American Association was scheduled to present “Delaware Chinese New Year Celebration 2015” at John Dickinson High School (1801 Milltown Road, Hockessin, Delaware, 302-689-3235, www.dcaadelaware.org).

But, the event, which features traditional Chinese singing and dancing, was postponed because of bad weather and rescheduled for March 1. The list of other activities at the one-day festival includes magic and variety shows, raffles, dim sum, and a Chinese artifact exhibit.

The celebration is slated to get underway at 2 p.m. This is a free event and all are welcome.

Also on February 28, the First State Ballet is performing a show with two ballets at the Grand Opera House (818 North Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware, 800-37-GRAND, www.firststateballet.com).


Kennett Square’s Aubrey Clemens stars in the title role of Carmen with the First State Ballet Company.

First State Ballet Theatre, Delaware’s professional ballet company, presents full length ballets and mixed-repertory programs throughout the year. Headquartered in Wilmington’s beautiful and historic Grand Opera House, First State Ballet Theatre performs under the artistic direction of Pasha Kambalov.

This weekend’s show features “The Young Lady and the Hooligan” and the classic ballet “Carmen.”

“The Young Lady and the Hooligan” is a Soviet era classic rarely performed outside of Russia. The story of a young school teacher who falls in love with an urban roughneck, the captivating work is set to music of Dmitri Shostakovich.

Shostakovich never actually wrote a ballet called “The Young Lady and the Hooligan.” Actually, the score was pieced together with the composer’s consent from existing works by Shostakovich’s trusted arranger Levon Atovmian.

Kambalov, the company’s Artistic Director, graduated from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia — a school whose list of graduates also includes Rudolph Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Vaslav Nijinsky and George Balanchine.

After graduating from the Vaganova Ballet Academy, Kambalov danced with Donetsk Ballet in the Ukraine and the Komi Republic State Opera and Ballet in Russia. Kambalov danced the role of the Hooligan more than 20 years ago in a production by the Komi Republic State Opera and Ballet.

The second half of this twin bill is the passionate and fiery “Carmen,” which is an opera in four acts by French composer Georges Bizet. It tells the story of the downfall of Don José, a naïve soldier who is seduced by the wiles of a seductive Gypsy named Carmen. The role of Carmen will be danced by Kennett Square’s Aubrey Clemens.

The performance is scheduled for February 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Baby Grand. Adult tickets are $35. Tickets for students (18 and under) are $25 and there are $5 per ticket discounts for seniors, groups and military.

Another good option for live entertainment this weekend will be provided by the Kennett Symphony of Chester County.

It’s never too early to introduce children to the joy of listening to classical music. The Kennett Symphony of Chester County (610-444-6363,www.kennettsymphony.org) helps the cause by presenting “Children’s Concerts” every year to give young children exposure to live classical music.

The first show will take place March 1 at 2 p.m. at Lincoln University’s’ International Cultural Center and the second is slated for March 8 at 2 p.m. at West Chester University’s Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall.

According to Michael Hall, the new Music Director of the Kennett Symphony, “these concerts are designed for the whole family, with an eye to captivate and tantalize the young ones. It is a perfect concert for parents to introduce their kids to the joy and communicative power of classical music.

“The concert is called ‘Music, Stories in Sound.’ It will be an interactive concert where the children will create a story based on the music they are hearing. The music will be from the Masterworks of composers like Beethoven, Bizet and Copland.

“I will lead a pre-concert conducting class for all at 1:30p.m., and after the concert, the children can try out the orchestral instruments under the tutelage of the musicians of the Kennett Symphony. And best of all, the tickets are only $5.”

Another special event is on the schedule for Kennett Square this weekend — the Third Annual Kennett Winterfest on February 28. Unfortunately, tickets are already sold out. Keep that in mind next January and get your tickets early.

jamie wyeth

A retrospective of the works of renowned artist Jamie Wyeth will be featured at the Brandywine River Museum.

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.

On Fridays and Saturdays through March 14, the museum is presenting a special attraction — “The Art of Jamie Wyeth Tour.” Tours will be offered at 10 and 11:30 a.m. and 1 and 3:30 p.m. (weather permitting).

The N.C. Wyeth Studio, built by Jamie Wyeth’s grandfather, is the place where the young artist studied painting with his aunt, Carolyn Wyeth. The Andrew Wyeth Studio is a restored schoolhouse that was the home of Andrew and Betsy Wyeth and their two sons, Nicholas and Jamie.

Later, when the entire structure became Andrew Wyeth’s studio, the building was the location of Jamie Wyeth’s first studio. It is here that the artist painted important works including “Draft Age” and “Portrait of John F. Kennedy.”

Guided tours leave from the Museum. Limited tickets for this special experience are available at the Museum on the day of the tour and cost $10 in addition to Museum admission ($5 for members).

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


A true harbinger of spring, the Philadelphia Flower Show, opens Saturday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Even though spring is almost a month away, you can get into a springtime mood by attending the Philadelphia Flower Show at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (12th and Arch streets, Philadelphia, 215-988-8899, www.theflowershow.com).

The festive event, which opens on February 28 and runs through March 8 this year, gives area residents with a fragrant and colorful alternative to winter in the Delaware Valley. The theme of this year’s show is “Celebrate the Movies.”

This theme within a theme this year is a focus on Disney and Disney Pixar films. Some of the movies that will be featured in displays and exhibits are “Aladdin,’ “Fantasia,” “Cinderella, “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Mary Poppins, “Peter Pan” and, of course, “Frozen.”

Floral competition is always a major drawing card at the annual show. The 2015 Flower Show will feature a large number of garden displays and thousands of plants and floral designs entered in various competitions. These entries will be reviewed and rated by a staff featuring over 200 expert judges from across the nation.

The show’s biggest attraction each year is the massive “Marketplace” featuring over 150 vendors from all over America and several European nations. They will be selling flowers, orchids, floral-inspired furniture, sheds, artwork and unique garden-related crafts and supplies.

Throughout the week, hundreds of gardening experts will provide learning opportunities in the Lecture Series. These daily lectures are held on the bridge concourse adjacent to the show entrance.

Be prepared for large crowds during the weekend hours. If you want a more leisurely visit, plan to visit the show during the week. Also, take public transportation if possible. Vehicular traffic in the area is frequently a nightmare and parking lots tend to fill up early even though they are charging exorbitant fees.

Video for the Flower Show– https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eFuvnQ9L_Qo.

Tickets for the Philadelphia Flower Show are available online in advance for $27 ($32 at the door) for adults, $20 ($22 at the door) for students with valid ID and $15 ($17 at the door) for children ages 2-16. A service fee of $1 per ticket is applied at checkout.

For a family event that is both fun and educational, it’s hard to top the annual Pancake Breakfast and Maple Sugaring Celebration at the Tyler Arboretum (515 Painter Road, Media, 610-566-9134, www.tylerarboretum.org).

The popular wintertime event will be held on February 28 from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.


The annual Pancake Breakfast and Maple Sugaring Celebration at the Tyler Arboretum in Media takes place Saturday.

The Pancake Breakfast brings visitors to the arboretum site on a Saturday morning in February each year to dine at an all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfast — a hearty morning meal featuring hot pancakes, savory sausage, fresh maple syrup, coffee, tea and juice.

After enjoying the tasty morning meal, visitors can go out into the arboretum to learn how real maple syrup — not maple-flavored pancake syrup — is made. Demonstrations and maple sugaring tours are presented throughout the morning at the old-fashioned maple sugaring festival. The tours show how authentic maple sugar is made — a process that involves tapping the trees and boiling down the sap.

If you’ve ever wondered why real maple syrup is such an expensive item, look at the numbers. It takes about 40 gallons of maple sap to make one gallon of syrup and it takes about 30 years for a sugar maple tree to grow large enough to tap.

Tickets for the Pancake Breakfast are $12 for adults and $6 for children (ages 3-12).

The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (100 Station Avenue, Oaks, 484-754-3976, www.phillyexpocenter.com) is hosting the Sixth Annual Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sports Show now through March 1.

The “Sportfishing Supershow” will feature fishing tackle manufacturers and retailers, guides and fishing lodges, marine electronics, kayaks in the Demo Pond) and fly fishing in the Casting Pond. The “Deer Turkey and Big Game Expo” focuses on shooting sports, archery, lodges, camps and resorts, hunting dogs and taxidermists. The “Boatyard” hosts more than 100 fishing boats including bass fishing, aluminum fishing boats, saltwater fishing boats and pontoons.

The “Outdoor Adventures Hall” looks at camping and RVs, ATVs, hiking and family adventures. All halls include apparel, travel and tourism associations, trucks, wildlife art and photography, fishing and hunting clubs and state fish and game commission representatives.

Other attractions include “The Climbing Wall,” “Kayak Demo Pond,” “Fly Fishing Casting Pond,” “The Hawg Trough Tank” (a 5000 gallon fishing tank),  “Trout Fishing Pond,”  “Archery Range,” “Airsoft and Paintball Ranges,” fishing, hunting and camping seminars, and live animals.

Sports Show video — https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TG4XLRZ4WUw.

Show hours are from nopon-8 p.m. on February 27, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on February 28 and 10a.m.-5 p.m. on March 1. Admission is $12 for adults and $3 for children (ages 5-11).

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast who is strictly a fisherman, you can check out the “Fly Fishing Show” which is being held now through March 1 at the Lancaster Convention Center Lancaster Convention Center, 3 East Vine Street, Lancaster, 866-481-2393, www.flyfishingshow.com).

The list of special attractions at the 2015 show includes seminars and demonstrations presented by many of Pennsylvania’s finest fly-fishing celebrities along with a number of national celebrities. There also will be a huge vendors’ area with an array of fishing-related products on sale.

The Federation of Fly Fishers will be offering free fly fishing instruction at the FFF Learning Center located at the FFF booth.  Basic fly casting, fly tying and knot tying will be taught throughout the day on both Saturday and Sunday.

Adult tickets are $15 for one day or $25 for a two-day pass. Tickets for children (under 12) are $2.

Indoor events are the preferred way to go for hobbyists who are collectors — especially those who collect comic books and trading cards.

The latest edition of Philadelphia Comic-Con will be held indoors on March 1 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel Conference Center (76 Industrial Highway, Essington, 856-217-5737, www.philadelphiacomic-con.com).

comic-con JGJones Cover

Philadelphia Comic-Con takes place in, Essington this Sunday.

This weekend’s Comic-Con features a wide array of top-quality vendors dealing in comics, non-sport trading cards, Japanese Anime items, original artwork, action figures and gaming cards. There will also be hourly door prizes starting at 11 a.m. with a $100 show cash giveaway. Admission to the show is $3.

Visitors to the show will be able to purchase comics ranging from vintage Batman editions to brand-new DC and Marvel issues. There will be a big selection of trading cards, including Star Wars, Twilight and Wacky Packages. Dealers will also be offering the latest in toy figurines.

As a special attraction, there will be a guest appearances/autograph signings by J.G. Jones, a comic book artist from Louisiana who is known for his work on titles such as “Wanted” and “Final Crisis.”

The Hands-on House Children’s Museum (721 Landis Valley Road, Lancaster, 717-569-5437, http://www.handsonhouse.org) is hosting a special series running now through the end of March that it calls its “POP-In” programs.

The museum’s classroom is open for these programs that are “packed with play!”. Adults and children can participate and learn together — and they can “POP-in” anytime during the scheduled time.

On February 28, the museum is presenting “Where Do You Hide a Dinosaur?” with a reprise scheduled for March 27. The event is free with regular admission to Hands-on House and no pre-registration required. Admission to the museum is $9.50 for adults and children.

Even though only a few remnants of Valentine’s Day 2105 still exist, chocoholics can still celebrate in the final days of February.

The Chaddsford Winery (632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, 610-388-6221, www.chaddsford.com) will offer “Wine & Chocolate Samplings” on February 28 and March 1.

It’s also the final days for “Chocolate-Covered February in Hershey” (various locations around Hershey, 800-HERSHEY, www.chocolatecoveredfebruary.com). Hershey has decadent chocolate events planned throughout the month of February but you’ll have to head there this weekend to enjoy them.

Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) is hosting its popular “Orchid Extravaganza” 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.”

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.com).

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).

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