New, Free Art Program for Kids at ArtFusion 19464!

Check out this innovative, FREE program and sign up by March 31st!!

Local young artists will soon get a chance to expand their drawing skills while learning about a new language. Drawing with Hebrew Letters, sponsored by Sager and Sager and The Jewish Women’s League of Congregation Mercy and Truth, will introduce students to drawing using a creative language of letters and shapes. The graphic quality of the Hebrew alphabet is the perfect inspiration for teaching language through art. Students will create with ink, paper and color, learning to express with their hands what their imaginations see.

This free program is open to artists of all faiths. No prior drawing experience or knowledge of the language is required, just a desire to learn and create. Applications can be picked up at ArtFusion’s 254 E. High St. location or downloaded from their website at Applications are due by March 31.

ArtFusion 19464 is a 501(c)3 non-profit community art center. The school offers day, evening and weekend classes to all ages. The goal of these classes is to help students develop their creative skills through self-expression and independence. ArtFusion’s gallery hosts rotating shows featuring local artists. The gallery also sells handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gift items. The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-3pm. The gallery is closed Sunday and Monday.

Art show opens at Hill School tonight; Artists Guild meeting next Tuesday

The Hill School will open a new exhibit in their Boyer Gallery today, Friday, Jan. 11, featuring paintings by Roe Murray of West Chester.  The opening reception will be held this evening  from 7 to 9 p.m. The exhibit will run through February 22. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. The Boyer Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.More information is available at their website.

Roe Murray is a talented painter and art teacher who resides in nearby West Chester, Pa. Ms. Murray received a degree in art education from Moore College of Art, and has completed graduate courses at Tyler School of Art and Arcadia University; she also holds a teaching certification from Immaculata College. She continues to hone her craft by studying with some of the region’s most prominent artists. You can view some of her work at

This coming Tuesday, January 15th at 7 pm, the Pottstown Area Artists Guild will hold its next meeting. Pottstown area clay artist, Lisa Muller will be presenter this month. Lisa does vibrant hand-cast tiles, murals, as well as hand-built, sculptural pieces. If you’re not familiar with Lisa’s work, there are wonderful pictures on her website

PAAG holds monthly meetings on the third Tuesday of every month at The Hill School Center For The Arts at Beech and Sheridan Streets in Pottstown. The Board meeting is at 6:30 pm and the General meeting is at 7 pm and is free and open to the public.

FREE Summer Art Camps: The Gallery School’s FREE program deadline is June 8

The Gallery School of Pottstown is excited to offer three free summer programs for students ages 8-12.

1) Kids Art Academy is a general arts exploration class, where students will explore two-  and three-dimensional arts.

2) Students in Clay Academy will delve into all aspects of creating with clay, including using a pottery

3) The third class, Asian Arts, will take students on a journey through the art traditions of many Asian countries.

Art Academy and Clay academy begin in June, while Asian Arts starts in July. Applications must be received by June 8, 2012 for all three programs. Applications can be found online at, or in person at the school at 254 E. High St., Pottstown, PA.

All three programs are funded by the Greater Pottstown Foundation and are free for the students, with the exception of a small registration fee.  While preference is given to those students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, students who do not qualify are also encouraged to apply. Questions can be emailed to, or asked over the phone at 610-326-2506.

The Gallery School of Pottstown is a 501c3 non-profit community art school and gallery. The School offers day, evening and weekend classes to all ages. The goal of these classes is to help students develop their creative skills through self-expression and independence. The Gallery on High hosts rotating shows featuring local artists. The Gallery also sells handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gift items.  The Gallery on High is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am-4:30pm and Saturday 10am-3pm. The Gallery is closed Sunday and Monday.


Here’s what the Steel River Playhouse – formerly Tri-PAC – has to say about their name change and their continuing mission to educate and to bring together new and established performing artists…

A star reborn?  Not exactly, but Tri-County Performing Arts Center and Village Productions are getting a new name along with the obvious facelift, as anyone can tell by driving by the theater at 245 E. High Street in downtown Pottstown. 

Tri-PAC and Village Productions have become the Steel River Playhouse.  Same address.  Same telephone.  Website:  Email format: (First name)

The new flowing steel mesh façade, high-tech marquee, and engaging outdoor plaza will be completed in June and the Steel River Playhouse is planning a June 16 community celebration event.

“The name reflects the strength, beauty and vitality of Pottstown and surrounding region,” said Marta Kiesling, executive director of Steel River Playhouse. “Steel made in Pottstown helped build major structures around the world.  Beams iconically stamped ‘Bethlehem Steel’ run through our playhouse.  And, of course, the Schuylkill runs through Pottstown, where we have an annual festival and a National and State Heritage Area that honor its beauty and role in our region.”

Kiesling continued, “The new name and logo mark the passage from our initial years of getting established in Pottstown and the surrounding region.  We moved to Pottstown in 2005 as part of a broad redevelopment effort, and our wonderful theater complex opened in 2008.”

A name and logo are just a beginning.  “Names and logos are just visuals,” says Joshua Lampe, founder and president of StandingStone Media, and the Steel River Playhouse board member leading the re-branding project.  “The real work of brand-building is what the Steel River Playhouse has been working on since before coming to Pottstown – quality performances, creating a place for both emerging local talent and established actors and directors to work together, and education that develops talent, confidence and life skills.”

Kiesling adds, “The new brand and façade reflect the Steel River Playhouse commitment to the community and region.  From the start, regional planners and leaders recognized that a strong performing arts center would contribute to the economic, cultural and social health of Pottstown and the surrounding region.”

Steel River Playhouse, formerly Tri-County Performing Arts Center (Tri-PAC), seeks to strengthen community, inspire creative exploration, educate, and entertain,through the presentation of quality performing arts events and education for diverse audiences.  Each year, the Steel River Playhouse produces more than 90 performances and hosts more than 10,000 people as audiences, students, artists, donors and volunteers from throughout the region. We offer performance opportunities through open auditions; theater technical training; acting, voice, and instrumental lessons; classes and workshops for all ages; summer camp programs; and educational outreach including scholarships, artists in the classroom, traveling children’s shows, and other initiatives. For further information, visit, or call 610-970-1199.


Contemporary dance returns to TRI-PAC this weekend!

This news comes from Tri-PAC…

The Mélange Contemporary Dance Company returns to the Tri-County Performing Arts Center, 245 E. High Street, Pottstown for a weekend of superb music and dance.  On stage for three shows only, April 13th, 14th, and 15th, their performance features new duets, group pieces, and a reprise back by popular demand.

 Giving the show its title of “Past Forward” is the dual theme of change and continuity: The more things change, the more they seem the same.  Not just a dance performance, this is a show about telling stories and exploring relationships, according to Artistic Director Michelle Jones-Wurtz.

The show begins with “Me and Bessie,” a story-dance telling the tale of the lifestyle and hardships of Bessie Smith, a jazz singer during Prohibition.  Her life was a contrast of hardship and success, and by the time she died, she was penniless.  However, her music continued; it has been covered by many musical legends including Nina Simone, Eric Clapton, and Billie Holiday.

The Company then reprises an excerpt from “Survivor”, a piece dedicated to Michelle Jones Wurtz’s mother, a stage 3 breast cancer survivor.  The show includes a variety of pieces, including a work commissioned for the International Dance Festival in Poland in 2011, a movement interpretation of the famous Botticelli painting, “The Birth of Venus”, and even a celebration of the Beatles, a band that changed music forever.  The piece “History Repeating” is a visual study of how the more things change, the more they stay the same.  The finale is “Katrina’s Cross”, a look at New Orleans before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina.  This work is choreographed in part to original music by Deborah Stimson- Snow, Artistic Director of the Tri-PAC.

The dancers include Michelle Jones Wurtz, Elrey Belmonti, Dana Blackman, Christa Campbell, Kathleen Kerner, and Jackie Kokolus.  Musical choices range from rock, to blues, to classical and everything in between!  Be prepared for an evening of stories, songs, and inspiring movement as the tales unfold.

Tickets for all shows at the Tri-PAC are available online. Please note that seating is now reserved, so go to to purchase your tickets now or call 610.970.1199 to ensure the best seats.  Tickets range from $13 for children 12 and under, $15 for students and seniors (65+), and $17 for adults. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.  When available, tickets will be sold at the door.

Village Productions is a dynamic nonprofit performing arts organization that seeks to strengthen community, inspire creative exploration, educate, and entertain, through the presentation of quality performing arts events and educational opportunities geared toward a diverse audience. The new Tri-County Performing Arts Center at 245 E. High Street, Pottstown, PA is the home of Village Productions. You may contact Village Productions through their website at, or by telephone at 610-970-1199.



Arts scene in downtown Pottstown this weekend

The arts scene in downtown Pottstown is blossoming, and you’ve got your pick this weekend.

Get your tickets now for Toys in the Attic at the Tri-County Performing Arts Center at 245 High Street. The show opened last night and will run Thursdays through Sundays until March 25th.  Toys in the Attic is an award-winning drama from the brilliant and tempestuous Lillian Hellman.  Written in 1960, it unfolds like it’s today with explorations of greed, envy, economic struggle, deceit and so many skeletons in the closet. This is a chance to see a live performance where the actors say one thing, mean something else, and yet make the difference clear to the audience. Toys in the Attic will play in the Tri-PAC’s black box theater; to add even more intensity, it istaged in-the-round, practically bringing the audience into the living room of this family. For tickets, visit  Or call 610.970.1199. Student, Senior discounts available. Groups welcome and there are discounts for 10 or more tickets.  Need help arranging your group visit?  Give them a call!

Local and international pop artist James Enders has got a spring exhibition, Once Upon a Time, at Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine this Saturday at 6 pm. Enjoy free food and drinks, check out the work of this local artist, see and be seen! Juan Carlos is at 235 East High Street, just a few doors away from the TriPAC. Why not check out James’ show before going to see Toys in the Attic?

Also downtown on Saturday night is the opening reception for photographer Karl McWherter‘s exhibit at MOSAIC Community Land Trust‘s gallery at 10 S. Hanover Street. This reception coincides with MOSAIC’s Open Mic from 7-11 pm. Stop by to meet Karl and check out his haunting images, splashed with color, of an abandoned school in Philadelphia. Also, if you’re a writer, poet, musician, singer, juggler or whatever, come perform for friends. I’ll be there to read from my memoir-in-progress. Participants have up to 20 minutes to do their thing. The last event drew 40 people. This is your chance to take center stage!

This Sunday, March 11 at 4 pm you can hear CANTATICA, a professional chamber ensemble that is the artist in residence at Emmanuel Lutheran church at 150 N. Hanover Street in Pottstown. On March 11th they will be presenting CABARET SONGS: CLASSICAL AND CLASSIC.,  TICKETS are available at the door. They are $12 Adults – $10 Seniors – $8 Students


For INFORMTATION/RESERVATIONS email or  call 484-951-5113


Tri-PAC makes special offer for student groups to see Toys in the Attic

The Tri-County Performing Arts Center (Tri-PAC) in downtown Pottstown is offering a unique educational opportunity for high school or college groups. If you and your friends, students, and colleagues have an interest in classic drama, read on!

Award-winning, literary and dramatic
Its literary and dramatic quality is unassailable.  Yet, Lillian Hellman’s Toys in the Attic rarely is staged because it is so demanding to perform.  Tri-PAC is doubling down.  To add even more intensity than its intimate black box theater, our Toys will be performed in-the-round, as if we’re right there watching love, greed, envy, economic struggle, deceit, skeletons in the closet and fateful decisions unfold right before our eyes.  This is what drama is supposed to be: slices of real life that grab us and give us food for our own thoughts.  Performances will be preceded by a special “Prologue” discussion with Director Neal Newman.

Toys in the Attic is a penetrating, powerfully honest study of family and what’s important in life, and not.  While it was written in 1960, it deals with depression-era economic and social issues that feel utterly contemporary.  It features characters who might be living next door today.

About the Director
Neal Newman has taught and directed at Fordham University, University of the Arts, Cabrini College and the University of Pennsylvania.  He trained as a director at Carnegie Mellon and the Guthrie Theater is Minneapolis.  In addition to directing off-Broadway, and five seasons of Shakespeare in the Park in Philadelphia, he directed Ragtime and A Christmas Carol for Tri-PAC.


Two Thursday night performances (March 8 and March 15) of Lillian Hellman’s award-winning Toys in the Attic including the Director’s Prologue.  Half-price tickets for pre-paid student groups of 10 or more, including at least one teacher or parent.  With the student group discount, for these two Thursday night performances student tickets will be $8 and adult tickets $9.

For tickets, call 610.970.1199 or email to arrange for assistance from one of our group specialists.  For more information  visit

Support the Gallery School: Carnival in Venice event on March 31st!

Fashion Plates 6: Carnival in Venice

The Gallery School of Pottstown asks you to save the date!

Fashion Plates 6: Carnival in Venice is coming in March. Join them on March 31 at Brookside Country Club for another fabulous fundraiser.

The Gallery School’s signature fundraiser returns to its roots as an evening, couples-friendly event. Guests will enjoy amazing food, unlimited signature cocktail, and wonderful entertainment, from a  fabulous fashion show, sponsored by Boscov’s Department Stores, to a strolling magician, a harpist and more. They will give away fun door prizes, and their fabulous silent auction will bring out the bidder in everyone.

Purchase your individual ticket before March 10 for only $65. After March 10, individual tickets will be $70. Or take advantage of their two for $120 ticket deal.


VIST Financial
Boscov’s Department Stores

Table Sponsors

Boenning & Scattergood, Inc.
Independence Planning Group
Heartland Abstract, Inc.
Dolan & Mayerson, P.C.
Sager & Sager
J.H. White Financial
Creative Health Services

Entertainment Sponsors

Pete La Rosa Productions
513 Entertainment
Betsy Chapman, Harpist
Magical Illusions of Kyle and Kelly

Spring memoir writing class for seniors offered by Sue Repko at The Gallery School

This spring I’ll be teaching a couple of writing classes at The Gallery School of Pottstown. A memoir class for seniors is highlighted below.

You may or may not know that I just finished a master’s program in which I focused on memoir and essay writing. It should come as no surprise that most of my writing at this point in my writing life involves some aspect of growing up in Pottstown and my experiences re-discovering my hometown as an adult.

My philosophy as a writer and teacher of this kind of material is that looking back and making sense of our lives is a basic human instinct. Everyone has many stories inside them. Sometimes it takes a while to peel away the layers of an experience, get to the heart of it, and express what it means so that it not only makes sense to ourselves but also to others.  When we give shape to a memory, when we put it into context – when it is more than just “this happened, then that happened” – we are creating art. Everyone’s got their own voice; there’s no right or wrong way to tell any of these stories. 

Just one more note about the book we’ll use…  I had a workshop with Abigail Thomas a few years ago. She’s an amazing teacher, and her book is the next best thing to having her in the class!  I hope there are some older adults out there who want to join in!



This class is for older adults who want to capture memories on paper and re-discover where they’ve been, who they’ve known, and what they’ve done. Life’s joys and hardships can often be found in the smallest moments. We will use “Thinking About Memoir” by Abigail Thomas to get ideas and write very short essays or scenes. Students may get their own copy or copies will be provided for a small additional fee. An optional public reading at the end of the class will give writers a chance to share their work with family and friends. Minimum 4, maximum 10 students. WINTER/SPRING SESSION Begins April 4. Class runs Wednesdays from 6-8pm. 8 weeks. $125 (member), $135 (non-member).


Hill School winter musical opens tonight and it’s FREE!

The Hill School will present “Once Upon a Mattress” as this year’s winter musical theatre production. The play is based on the popular fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea.” 
The performance, which is free and open to the public, will take place tonight, Thursday, Feb. 23 through Saturday, Feb. 25, at 7:30 p.m. in The Hill School’s Center For The Arts(Use 860 Beech Street, Pottstown, PA 19464 for GPS or website mapping systems.)

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