An Interview with Main Line Art Center for the 2014 DesignPhiladelphia Festival

August 26, 2014 | DesignPhiladelphia, 2014 Festival

FRIDAY OCTOBER 10 | 5:30PM - 8:30PM

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On Friday, October 10 from 5:30 – 6:30, all are welcome for a free artist talk and gallery tour from 5:30 – 6:30 with a reception featuring wine and light fare following until 8:30 at Main Line Art Center in Haverford.  In addition to this event, the exhibition runs from October 6 – November 5 with each artist giving a workshop on their technique.  For more information on the exhibition, events, and workshops, please visit:

We talked to the team at Main Line Art Center about their Gallery and upcoming exhibition for the 2014 DesignPhiladelphia Festival, and a decade of design at Main Line Art Center.

1. Tell us about Main Line Art Center:

Located in Haverford and easily accessible from Philadelphia, Main Line Art Center is a welcoming and inclusive creative home where everyone is encouraged to create, experience, and discover the value of art. Our award-winning galleries, exhibitions, and programs span from traditional to contemporary, and are held to the highest level of artistic excellence.

Since it was established over 75 years ago, Main Line Art Center has held a commitment to accessibility, offering art programs for all ages, abilities and skill levels, including a unique series of Accessible Art Programs for children and adults with disabilities. Now in their 50th year, these programs have transformed thousands of lives and have positioned the Art Center as a resource for organizations across the country. In addition, the Art Center annually grants over $12,000 in needs-based scholarships to children, adults, and seniors.

Main Line Art Center's historic 100-year-old Federal Style building recently underwent a $2 million expansion and renovation, including the addition of spacious new jewelry and painting studios, a bank of windows in the ceramics studio to infuse the area with natural light, and numerous improvements throughout the building. 

Main Line Art Center strives to present innovative, contemporary art exhibitions in our award-winning galleries that celebrate our community of artists and feature emerging and established artists whose work serves as a source of inspiration and intellectual dialogue.  In February 2014, we presented Humankind, featuring accomplished photographers Donald E. Camp, Lydia Panas, and Lori Waselchuk, whose work uniquely addresses the human condition through qualities and genres inherent to the photographic tradition: social responsibility, portraiture, and the photo essay.  In April 2014, the Art Center presented Imaginary Reality, the 10th annual Betsy Meyer Memorial Exhibition, featuring artists Nic Coviello, Tim Portlock, and Jennie Thwing.  All classically trained, the artists adopted digital technology as a means of deepening their investigations of invented landscapes, imaginary narratives, and personal identity.  Imaginary Reality coincided with the introduction of the Art Center's new Digital Media Program, and marked the debut of the Meyer Family Award for Contemporary Art, consisting of a $1000 prize and a solo show.  Applications for the 2015 Award are due Sept. 29, 2014.


Leslie Friedman’s installation in Urban Pop, the 9th Annual Betsy Meyer Memorial Exhibition in 2013


Artwork by Nic Coviello and Tim Portlock, in Imaginary Reality, 10th Annual Betsy Meyer Memorial Exhibition in 2014


2. What is your DP event?

Face Value is a fine art exhibition by Architect Mark Khaisman, Digital Design Professor Nick Cassway, and Artist/Curator Steven Earl Weber.  Utilizing technology, principles of contemporary design, and materials including packaging tape, computer cut stencils, and printed glass, these artists create internationally exhibited, critically acclaimed artwork that speaks to our perennial obsessions with pictorial representation, social dynamics, and commodification.  Face Value is curated by Amie Potsic, Executive Director of Main Line Art Center, and presented in partnership with Pentimenti Gallery.  On Friday, October 10, all are welcome for a free artist talk and gallery tour from 5:30 – 6:30 with a reception featuring wine and light fare following until 8:30 at Main Line Art Center in Haverford.  In addition to this event, the exhibition runs from October 6 – November 5 with each artist giving a workshop on their technique during the course of the show.  For more information on the exhibition, events, and workshops, please visit

James &Ursula # 5 © Mark Khaisman 2014


The Fressers © Nick Cassway 2008


Untitled © Steven Earl Weber 2014

3. Would you say the exhibit is a reflection on/response to design in the past ten years? Or can you tell us how the idea for Face Value came about?

The exhibition Face Value came from a desire to consider the influence of design and commercial production on fine art. Each of the artists in this exhibition creates fine art using materials and methods that are strongly tied to commerce and communication. Mark Khaisman produces highly crafted lightboxes and site specific installations using packaging tape and light as his mediums.  Drawing images of film noir icons using only packaging tape on Plexiglas, he conjures nostalgic portraits in a contemporary style uniquely his own.  Nick Cassway utilizes computer cut stencils and vinyl intended for commercial sign production, to create paintings from minimal line drawings created on his iPad. Referencing graphic novels and comic book drawings, his work simultaneously feels retro and modern as he mixes computer cut stencils, vinyl, silver leaf, and paint.  Additionally, Steven Earl Weber's work utilizes mass produced glass and traditional silk screening to address complex human relationships and the commodification of the artisan. Their work presented concurrently emphasizes the power of commercial materials and language to communicate complex and conceptual notions about art and commerce.  Merging design, fine art, and lo-fi materials in clever and unexpected ways, their artwork encourages appreciation of the enduring influence design and popular culture exert on contemporary fine art.

4. Pentimenti is in Old City, can you tell us more about them and how your galleries came together?

I have had the pleasure of working with Christine Pfister, owner of Pentimenti Gallery, for many years on numerous projects.  I admire her gallery’s direction and aesthetic very much and strongly believe in collaborations being a vehicle for broader reach and better support of the art and design community in general.  Mark Khaisman, whose work I’ve exhibited several times in the past, is represented by the gallery, which has a strong presence in Philadelphia and abroad.  Given the Art Center’s longevity in the Philadelphia-area art community, and Pentimenti’s relationship to the metropolitan and international art scenes, we thought this collaboration would expand audiences for all three artists and encourage the local, national, and international art communities to engage in conversations surrounding the crosspollination of design and fine art.

5. Where do you see your gallery and design in the next decade?

Main Line Art Center’s exhibition program is innovative, contemporary, and inclusive and seeks to grow in scale and relevance in the coming decade.  Our exhibitions are uniquely forward thinking while remaining accessible to audience members of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.  As we look to the future, we are placing a strong emphasis on a holistic approach to exhibitions that brings artists and their audiences together to share ideas, techniques, and support.  With the introduction of our new digital media program this year, Main Line Art Center is the only venue in the region to host a traditional wet darkroom, mobile digital media studio, and printmaking presses in one multi-use studio.  Presenting exhibitions like Face Value, as well as recent exhibitions featuring emerging technologies like 3D gaming and animation, we can highlight artists engaging in contemporary image-making and broaden access to their innovative techniques.  Our galleries and exhibition program seek to educate, inspire, and motivate artists of the present and future.

Grace Before Dying by Lori Waselchuk in Humankind2014


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