crawford gallery exhibit features pieces from the school’s extensive art collection By Meghan Ross
Left: Section of a Sol LeWitt wall drawing. Center: The Calder mantle in the Henry Memorial Library. Top right: Leo Sewell’s “Scottie.” Bottom right: A painting by John Philip Falter of former Springside School head of maintenance and beloved crossing guard Lou DeAngelo.
SCH celebrates the arts in many ways. Most recently, under the leadership of artist, curator, and SCH parent Melissa Maddonni Haims and members of the newly formed Crawford Art Gallery Committee, a part of the school’s Arts Council, the school hosted an exhibition of pieces from its diverse and expansive permanent collection. As the newly appointed curator for exhibitions in the Crawford Gallery, Haims wanted to take stock of SCH’s diverse art collection and launched a comprehensive survey across all of the school’s buildings. This survey culminated in a first-of-itskind exhibition featuring works from the collection by worldrenowned artists, SCH faculty, and alumni. During their inventory of the school’s collection, Haims and the committee uncovered five Barbara Crawford paintings that had been put in storage; traveled to New York and garnered a promised donation of works by artist Sam Feinstein, Crawford’s husband; and unearthed a number of forgotten or never known stories about pieces in the collection. “Sometimes it’s hardest to see those things you live with every day,” said Ellen Fishman ha, chair of the Arts and New Media Department. “We knew we had notable works like the Sol LeWitt wall drawings and the Violet Oakley mural, but as we cataloged the works throughout the school, we found other treasures that helped tell the story about the history of our community and the school’s longstanding commitment to the arts.” LeWitt was a world-renowned mid-20th-century conceptual artist famous for his minimalist works. SCH is one of the few institutions in the world with a large collection of his pieces. One of the artist’s wall drawings was produced by Upper School
students according to the artist’s written instructions, providing them with a unique experience and interaction with the artistic process. The LeWitts were brought to SCH, thanks to a generous gift from art collector and CHA alumnus Hank McNeil ’61. Another piece in the exhibition is the marble fireplace mantel in the Henry Memorial Library inscribed with the phrase known by generations of students, “Kyndle Yr Awne Ffyre.” The mantel sculptor was Alexander Stirling Calder, who created Philadelphia’s Swann Fountain. His father, Alexander Milne Calder, created the William Penn statue on top of City Hall and his son, Sandy Calder, was a famous kinetic sculpture artist. Another, more personal, piece in the exhibit is a painting of beloved Springside School employee Louis “Lou” G. DeAngelo, former head of maintenance and a crossing guard. The artist was John Philip Falter, not well known today but famous in his time for creating 129 covers for the Saturday Evening Post. “Putting together the show from the permanent collection proved to be more than discovering the abundance of art at SCH that dates back to the 19th century and includes artists of today,” said Pia Druggan, a member of the Crawford Art Gallery Committee and wife of Head of School Steve Druggan. “It was fascinating to hear the wealth of interesting stories that emerged, from the simple and cherished story of the guard, Lou, to the rich and historical significance of pieces by artists such as Violet Oakley and Sol LeWitt. The generosity of our donors throughout the years and the support of our community is truly impressive.” ~ by Meghan Ross
Learn more about each piece in the exhibit in the show catalog, available online at sch.org/arts. school magazine spring