The WC Press - Summer 2024

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Letter Editor from the

The Press


Before I discovered and fell in love with writing around age 10, coloring and drawing were among my favorite creative outlets. I have a very vivid memory from around age eight or so of looking at a picture of a rabbit in a coloring book, and, prior to coloring it in, drawing it freehand on another sheet of paper. My aunt and uncle visited that evening, and when my aunt saw it, she heaped praise on me, clearly impressed. Even in my child’s mind, I thought she was overdoing it, although I appreciated it. Several years later as a teen, however, I found that drawing and was a bit floored by how good it actually was, given my age when I drew it.

But it was too late for me by then; writing had fully usurped my interest in drawing, along with ballet (and eventually, beer and boys, but I digress). Fast forward many years, and I’ve done that thing they say you should do, which is to make a career out of your passion, and you’ll never work a day in your life—true, largely, but for pesky deadlines. However, to put it another way: I’ve monetized my creative outlet, and, in recent months, spent a great deal of time walking around feeling on the verge of snapping. Needing to find another way to express myself creatively without having any pressure attached, I briefly resumed ballet last year but was sidelined by an injury at least for now. A painting workshop seemed like a great idea at first, but it required too much…stuff. And money.

And so, I’ve landed on something I’ve always thought about, which is knitting. I’ve always loved the idea of having something to do with my hands that also forces me to sit the heck down. However, my mind was changed by one Elyse Myers, a social media influencer who recently documented her new hobby of crocheting. Inspired, and after a bit of research, I learned that crochet is a little easier to start with than knitting, so off I went to the library to learn. The goal is to eventually provide little hats and maybe blankets to premature infants in the neonatal ICU at Cooper Hospital, where my now-WCU student son was born. For now, my efforts resemble bookmarks, but I know I’ll get there.

All this to say that I may be an artist trapped in a writer’s body, and my admiration for working artists runs deep.

This town seems to be full of people who’ve turned their passion into a career and show no signs of snapping anytime soon. We catch up with a few in our feature story by Kelly Murray, who showcases the talented folks at The Corner Art Collective and Gingko Arts, and - of course - Chester County Art Association.

Elsewhere in this issue Jesse Piersol introduces us to the community centers serving the borough, and I take us on a little jaunt around the parks in our fair borough, because who needs the shore when we’ve got parks in the double digits?

Welcome to summer in West Chester, and thank you for reading The WC Press.

Dan Mathers


Kate Chadwick


Nick Vecchio


Jesse Piersol


Erik Weber @westchesterviews


Becca Boyd

Andrea Mason

DJ Romeo

Anne Walsh

Anne Skillma

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COVER ART @itscreatedbymo

The WC Press is a monthly magazine mailed to more than 3,000 homes throughout West Chester, as well as being dropped off to about 100 locations in and around the borough. Our no-nonsense table of contents


Tag our instagram account with your favorite WC photos


What’s to love about your favorite West Chester Parks


Jennifer Laurence lends advice on eating good and well


Meet Gregory Blue, plein air landscape artist extraordinare ON THE SHELF

A list of staff picks from the new books at the WCPL


What’s new at West Chester community centers


Andrea Mason helps you upgrade your space


Diving into the important happenings in West Chester’s past


Becca Boyd shares tips on life and cooking


Two artist-owned collectives inspire a new wave of creativity


We spotlight citizens for doing something swell


Spot the five differences and earn a Saloon 151 gift card


Songs that will take over the radio stations

Like and follow us on social media, then tag us in your posts for a chance get your work published here. Our favorite image each month () will earn its photographer a gift card to @saloon151.

park yourself here



this page: Barclay Park

If you’ve ever been to the charming city of Savannah, Georgia, you already know that one of the biggest draws of the place are the series of parks—or squares—scattered around the sprawling city. They serve as pockets of peace and serenity, respites of greenery and birdsong amidst the lively urban backdrop of a busy, vibrant city. Here you can sit with a book or magazine on a break from work. Bring a friend and a blanket and some lunch at the weekend. Or simply pop in your earbuds, plant yourself on a bench, and tune the world out for a while.

Although West Chester isn’t technically a city and is about 100 times smaller, there are similarities: both county seats, both have a university, and West Chester is also certainly vibrant and bustling. And, given its comparatively diminutive size, the number of dedicated parks around the WC borough is impressive.

According to Keith Kurowski, Executive Director of WC’s Parks and Recreation Department, West Chester has 13 parks within the boundaries of the borough for a total of 46 acres. And that

number may be growing. Kurowski notes that the borough is in the process of updating their PROS (Parks, Recreation, and Open Space) Plan to see what they can do to make park experiences better for everyone.

“One big thing we’re looking at is how to better connect our parks in a non-vehicular way, and to see if there are any parcels of land in the borough we could use to expand our park system,” he says. Parks and Rec is presently eyeing a hook of land on Bradford Avenue for this purpose, and, if it’s approved, would eventually make the 14th park in the borough.

The concept here is to create a “10-minute city,” whereby every home in the borough would be within a 10-minute walking distance of a park, even if it’s a “pocket” or neighborhood park. Or, in government-speak, “implementing non-vehicular interconnectivity.”

According to Keith, this process started eight or nine months ago, when the department began soliciting volunteers for the program’s steering committee. Local landscape planner Tom

Comitta of Thomas Comitta Associates has done the survey, the project is approved by Borough Council, approval is pending from the county, and there will be an online survey questionnaire and three public meetings for residents to offer feedback. “I don’t want anyone to say that they had no input,” Keith told us.

The goal is to have upgrades and expansions implemented by spring of 2025. “I’ve been pushing this project for a decade,” Keith said. “The last time an open space project was done here was in the late 90s, and it should be addressed every decade.”

West Chester’s parks are not only places for the community to take solace in nature, but places for the community to come together. “COVID showed us how important our parks are to not only Everhart Park has the premier playground in the borough, but it also hosts weddings, festivals and those incredible cherry trees that steal the show in the spring.

Marshall Square Park was named after a botanist, so it should be no surprise that nature is clearly in focus. It’s probably our favorite park for a picnic.

physical but the mental health of our residents,” Keith told us. Check in regularly at the Parks and Recreation website often for what’s happening in our parks, especially since space precludes us from going in-depth here on all of them. Activities and events held in the borough’s parks are numerous and varied, with programs from art camps to family yoga to fitness classes and special festival events including movie nights, live concerts, and sporting events.

In the meantime, we picked Keith’s brain about some of our parks; the things they have in common and what sets them apart from one another. Keith only asked that we not request him to pick a favorite—“It would be like picking a favorite kid.”

Barclay Park


Among the questions we posed to Keith was “most peaceful,” and he went with the lush haven that is Barclay Park (followed closely by Hoopes). “It’s a great spot to throw down a blanket and read a book.”

The park is particularly notable for its variety of trees, according to the Friends of Barclay Park website. They include several varieties of oak, river birch, poplars, maples, pines, elms, and more.

Bayard Rustin Park


Bayard Rustin Park is approximately 1.4 acres, according to the Parks and Rec website. Originally known as Walnut Street Park when it opened in 1939, it was re-dedicated, and the name was changed to Bayard Rustin Park on June 4, 1998.

Bayard Rustin, an African American Civil Rights leader, was born in West Chester on March 17, 1912. See our History Happened Here column in this issue for more on him. Activities at Rustin Park include art camps and a basketball tournament.

Everhart Park


Looking for a spot to let the kiddos roam around? While all of West Chester’s parks are family friendly, “Has to be Everhart Park with the addition of the new(ish) playground in 2022,” Keith said. “If it’s a nice day, that playground is full of kids and adults.”

It also won the following nods from our erstwhile parks judge: most active (with events) – Everhart Park as this park is home to the annual Turks Head Music Festival—now headed into year 41 on

June 2, 2024, from 12pm-7pm,

Keith also thinks it’s one of the two most Instagram-friendly (see Marshall Square Park for the other). “Probably Everhart Park around Mother’s Day, when the Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom.

If you’re looking for a romantic spot around town that doesn’t involve sitting in a restaurant with a bunch of other people, Everhart Park’s gazebo is your best bet, says Keith. “That gazebo has held numerous weddings (and proposals) over the years.”

Marshall Square Park


Following up on that Inst-friendly question, Kurowski points out the fountain at Marshall Square Park as particularly picturesque. Designed by Joshua Hoopes, Marshall Square Park was named for botanist Humphry Marshall, according to the Friends of Marshall Square Park website. “Marshall was born in 1722 and never went to school after the age of twelve; yet (appropriately for a cousin of William Bartram, America’s most celebrated explorer/botanist) he published in 1785 ‘Arbustum Americanum, the American Grove,’ the first botanical essay in the Western hemisphere,” states the website’s “About the Park” page.

The park has had memorable installations over the years, including a zoo, according to the article “More Than A Public Park” on the Chester County Day website. “In 1889, a small zoo was installed that included white rats, two monkeys named Sullivan and Kilrain which the zookeeper could not tell apart, alligators, rabbits, raccoons, guinea pigs,

Hoopes Park is so big you can get lost in its 16.2 acres or forget entirely that you’re still within the bounds of the borough.

opossums and red and gray squirrels,” writes Gail Guterl. A fountain housed carp, turtles, and other fish. One year a mink found its way to the fountain pool surrounding the park’s signature fivetier fountain and feasted on fish.

Hoopes Park


Located on 16.2 acres of land, Hoopes Park was named after Josiah Hoopes, who was one of the borough’s three original park supervisors. It was opened in the summer of 1957 so that the children of the community could have a place to gather. The first piece of land was purchased from Edward Jackson for $1 on December 20, 1928, and the second piece of land on June 1, 1939, also for $1.

Presumably given the sheer size of it, Keith suggested Hoopes as best for four-legged friends. “It has the most room and is our biggest park,” he told

us. “Remember, though—dogs need to be on leash and please clean up after them.”

It offers, among other things, an adult baseball field, an activity building, a parking lot, grills, tennis courts, water fountain, playground and picnic tables.

Keith cited both Hoopes and Barclay as best for nature lovers. “Both are excellent for watching birds and the occasional deer that come romping through them,” Keith said. “For its size, you can still find a cozy little spot to just relax.”

John O. Green Park


Kurowski cited John O. Green as a close second to Everhart for most kid friendly and is a big fan of it particularly in the summertime. “Nothing beats this park on a hot summer day when you want to cool down in the water play area,” he says. Coming in at around 24,000 square feet, this park offers a covered picnic spot, those various summer water features, a basketball court, and several separate play areas. The park is named after former West Chester Police Chief John Green.

Other Places to Park:

Fugett Park


Located behind the Borough building, this park was built in 1990 on the land once occupied by the Fugett School, so named after a teacher, principal, and active NAACP member Joseph R. Fugett. It’s small but mighty, centrally located, and containing some playground equipment and picnic tables.

Green Field Park


This park is aptly named as it’s essentially just under two acres of green field. It’s used by local sports organizations, mostly youth football and soccer. It also offers a parking lot, bleachers, picnic tables, and a snack bar.

Horace Pippin Park


Originally called Market Street Park when it opened in 1911, but known as the “Children’s Playground,” this park was unsegre-

John O. Green Park is a favorite in the summer, when they turn on the water features so kids can stay cool. (It has other great equipment the rest of the year, too.)

gated. Later named after renowned local African American artist Horace Pippin, this acre or so of space offers an open play area, basketball court, picnic tables

Kathy McBratnie Park


On the corner of Nields and New Streets across from West Chester University sits this neighborhood park. It offers a basketball hoop, swings, and a climbing wall, and one very cool and colorful mural.

Mosteller Park


Purchased by the borough from a builder in 1963 and named after the prominent former local retailer, James Mosteller. It features swings, a grille and picnic tables, and a basketball court. It’s just under an acre in size.

Veterans Memorial Park


Opened in 1948 through the combined efforts of returning service personnel and the VFW, this park offers a playground area and covered picnic area. It’s small and a bit hard to find (one-way street alert, but you’re better off walking), but if you’ve got little ones, it’s worth the effort.

Random Facts:

The Everhart Park playground (which was implemented, in large part, during the pandemic) cost nearly $700k and was completed using grant funding and ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) dollars.

Farley Field at Hoopes Park has run a men’s baseball league consecutively for 68 years.

Kathy McBratnie Park is the namesake of the first director of the Borough of West Chester’s Parks and Recreation. She’s responsible for many of the events we still attend today—Turks Head Music Festival and the Chester County Restaurant Festival to name two.

Hunger Games

Jennifer Laurence is a registered dietitian who lends our readers advice on eating good and well

Last year, my husband mentioned that he’d always wanted to learn how to make sourdough. While searching for his birthday gift, I found a local class and purchased it for him as a present. He spent an entire day learning the process. While I expected him to occasionally bake a loaf, he surprised me by making not only various types of sourdough bread, including cheddar jalapeño and chocolate, but also bagels, scones, cookies, and granola. He surprised me even more by making them weekly.

Now, you might think that as a dietitian, I would object to having these types of foods at home. On the contrary. I appreciate and embrace the health benefits that sourdough offers, and believe me when I tell you, those benefits are numerous.

To understand why this bread is so good for you, it’s helpful to know what distinguishes sourdough from other types of bread. Sourdough is made from something called a “starter” which is a culture made from flour and water that is left in a container to ferment for several days. A starter contains wild yeast found in the environment and on the grain itself, versus the standard baker’s yeast commonly used in other types of bread. The wild yeast allows sourdough to be higher in nutrient content and to contain live bacteria called probiotics. Probiotics help boost your immune system, lower inflammation, and support overall healthy digestion. Sourdough is also high in prebiotic fibers which help to feed the probiotics and keep them robust and thriving. Interestingly, the bacteria act as natural preservatives that help extend the shelf life of your loaf, making it less susceptible to mold and spoiling.

Sourdough has also been shown to provide better blood sugar balance. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or insulin resistance, sourdough may be an optimal bread for you. Additionally, sourdough is a rich source of antioxidants that help repair cell damage and reduce inflammation. Due to the structure of sourdough, our bodies tend to absorb the nutrients it contains more easily than standard bread. The protein and fiber content of sourdough may also help you to stay fuller longer.

Sourdough is surprisingly low in gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. While sourdough is not entirely gluten free and therefore not suitable for those with celiac, it does become an option for those who are gluten sensitive or struggle to digest certain carbohydrates and sugars commonly known as FODMAPs.

The fermentation process involved in making sourdough helps produce a delicious distinguishable tangy flavor and fragrant aroma, along with a chewy texture. Collectively, this is what makes sourdough a favorite bread of choice for many.

If you have access to starter, it’s fun to make sourdough. You can let your creativity run wild and use your starter for a variety of products. If you choose to purchase a loaf instead, pay attention to the nutrition label. Some commercial breads don’t originate from a starter and contain sourdough “flavoring” which doesn’t provide the same nutritional benefits. —


Meet Gregory Blue, plein air landscape artist extraordinare. by

His Art: Gregory Blue works primarily in oil paint on paper, wood panel, and canvas, often employing the alla prima technique enabling an artist to finish a painting before the layers of paint can dry. This is usually en plein air, a French phrase meaning in the open air. “I’m fascinated by the idea that we make the marks and move paint around on a surface, and we can create the illusion of the third dimension,” he said. He also loves teaching, saying he learns as much from his students as they do from him.

His learning process: Blue was trained at York Art Academy in Pennsylvania. He learned classical traditions of the Italian and Flemish schools of art, using the grisaille method, another French word meaning monochromatic, varying shades of grey—the same method used by Rembrandt and Vermeer.

Blue still strives to explore and learn. “[I’m] becoming more fascinated by a wider variety of tools and the process of applying paint to the canvas, manipulating it to get these effects that can happen out of nowhere. It’s serendipity. I don’t approach every painting in some formulaic method.”

Biggest influences: He credits his parents for encouraging his creativity. “As a little kid, when people respond positively, you want to keep doing it! In school, the instructors who influenced me most were Ted Fitzkee, Tom Wise, and Virgil Sova.” Among the famous, late 19th- and early 20th-century European and American painters, including Spanish landscape painter Joaquin Sorolla; American impressionist William Merritt Chase; Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh.

Going public: A painter for almost 50 years, Blue has been in West Chester since 2013. He has always been a “working artist,” showing and selling his work right out of college at local libraries, and as a technical illustrator.

Latest project: Blue credits his daughter for introducing him to his latest muse, Natural Lands’ Stroud Preserve. “It reminded

me of where I grew up, near corn fields, running around in grasslands and the woods in the wintertime. This whole place brought me back to that place when I was a kid. I didn’t expect that.”

He started painting, drawing, and photographing Stroud Preserve, forming a seven-year relationship with it, and committing 10% of sales from his paintings of it to the Natural Lands Trust. “I think what they do is phenomenal and worthy of recognition, so I give back to a place that gave me so much.”

Advice for new artists: “It’s important to realize that painting is a practice, just like learning how to play a musical instrument,” Blue insists. “An artist needs to stand at the easel, day after day, and

do the work until you figure it out.” He teaches his students to “see” landscapes and their true colors. “We think of tree trunks as being brown, but in actuality I’ve never seen a brown tree trunk. They can be grey, green, even shades of red.”

Blue urges artists painting en plein air to realize that light changes in the blink of an eye. “I have specific trees in Stroud that I painted 15 to 20 times that never look the same twice.”

Find his art:

Studio 507. 507 Sharpless Street (Guess what color the building is painted?) Call/text for appointment. 484-888-8433 @gregory_blue

On the Shelf

What are you reading, West Chester? Here’s a list of summer picks from the staff at the West Chester Public Library. 415 N Church Street, 610-696-1721,


The Demon of Unrest: A Saga of Hubris, Heartbreak, and Heroism at the Dawn of the Civil War by Erik Larson

Larson covers the “chaotic months between Lincoln’s election and the Confederacy’s shelling of Fort Sumter.” You know this will be a gripping story; it’s told by a master storyteller. His past titles have never disappointed. Warren and Bill: Gates, Buffett, and the Friendship That Changed the World by Anthony McCarten

Discover how this friendship built on “playing cards and golf” eventually led to the creation of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the major foundations in the world tackling everything from diseases to inequality. The account is the basis of a film and a play coming out soon.


Miss Morgan’s Book Brigade by Janet Skeslien Charles

The author of The Paris Library returns to World War I France, this time with an American librarian. Jessie Carson goes to France to help rebuild communities in northern France devastated by the war. She decides to create something totally new for these communities: children’s libraries. She starts her work, and then disappears. Jump to 1987 and an “aspiring writer” who becomes obsessed with discovering Jessie’s fate. (Note: I have visited one of those ‘children’s libraries’ in northern France, now part of a community library. The legacy of the work American librarians did in France in 1918, and later, lives on.)

Every Time I Go on Vacation, Someone Dies by

A bestselling mystery author goes on a book tour in Italy (of course!). She just wants to get through the book tour part and get on with rearranging her lead characters (read: kill off her main character), when things go sideways, and she must solve a real mystery. Touted as a series debut, you might expect more in this vein from Mack.

The Library of Borrowed Hearts by Lucy Gilmore

Chloe Simpson, struggling to take care of family with scant funds, finds a rare book on the library shelves. She discovers the book has marginalia (great word!)—notes penciled by two lovers long ago. The intrigue deepens when Chloe’s grumpy old neighbor wants to buy the book and offers a huge sum. Chloe finds more books with similar notes and begins to wonder who those lovers were, and if they have anything to do with her neighbor.

connection places of

What’s New at West Chester Community Centers

The pace of the world is moving faster than ever. Work life, home life, social media feeds, trying to stay healthy, taking care of loved ones. We are often told that we should be able to do it all,” says Laura Schofield-Pierson, Executive Director of the West Chester Area YMCA on Airport Road. “In reality, though, we can’t go it alone. We need community to get through the ups and downs of life. Connecting with others gives us a sense of purpose, as well as a support system, which improves our mental and physical health. That’s the appeal of places like the Y.”

Ryan Enns, Founder and Executive Director of Westside Community Center, agrees. “In an age of social media, we are such an online culture. That’s not a bad thing,” he says. “Working from home—it’s so good for many reasons. But we need a place for community, where students can get out and be with other people, and to learn about their cultures and experiences. A group of diverse people coming together to improve the culture around them.”

From youth to seniors, West Chester’s diverse array of community centers offers

something for everyone. We checked in with four of them to see what’s new.



The Charles A. Melton Arts & Education Center provides the greater West Chester area with a wide variety of low-cost or free programs ranging from educational opportunities to basketball leagues and summer camps for the arts and STEM. It is also available as a rental space for family gatherings and other events. There are after-school programs for elementary and middle-school aged youth. In addition, the Center hosts community events, recovery meetings, a culinary school for underserved youth, and many events and activities that focus on traditionally marginalized members of the community, regardless of their ability to pay.

2Fish Community Café

One of the newest endeavors is the 2Fish Community Café, which hosted its grand opening on March 29 of this year. The café is a faith-based non-profit with a mission to heal the community by pro-


viding holistic services at reduced or no cost to underserved and disenfranchised individuals and families, including historically underserved youth, returning citizens, seniors, individuals with disabilities, economically disadvantaged persons, and other marginalized populations without regard to ability to pay.

Focusing on plant-based international soul food and coffee, the café is open from Tuesday to Saturday 7am to 3pm. There are also special events, including prix fix dinners and cooking classes. All proceeds go to the Two Fish and Five Loaves Community Café, Inc., the affiliated nonprofit with the mission to heal the community.


World-renowned coffee, equipment, and accessory purveyor Lavazza donated the equipment for the coffee shop. In 2022, 2Fish received a Partnership Grant from Alliance for Health Equity.


The Mentoring Our Black & Brown Youth (M.O.B.B.Y.) program provides black and brown male high school-age students with civic, arts, recreation, and educational opportunities through bi-weekly meetings. Seasonal outings include trips to work experience locations in fields such as culinary arts, law, and engineering as well as to historically Black colleges. Other opportunities include meeting with local lawmakers to learn about, discuss, and exchange ideas in public events.

New Directions

After School Program

In partnership with West Chester University, America Reads, and the Uncommon Individual Foundation, New Directions is an academic and social-emotional

skill-building program for children. Each day, students have access to physical activity, play, the arts, and activities ranging from yoga to gardening.

How to Help

Donate and/or Volunteer: 2fishcommunity café.org



“We do our best to help seniors prevent or navigate life-altering moments,” says Kathy Sullivan, Executive Director. “For instance, a fall resulting in an injury can lead to loss of independence. A trip to the grocery store increasingly causes anxiety. While some seniors own and operate cars to go shopping, others do not. Some cannot afford food and basic needs. WCASC plays a critical role by offering relevant programs and connecting seniors with essential resources, including assistance with Medicare, PA MEDI, free tax filings, and more.”

Sullivan has a long history with the

senior center and has served as its Executive Director since December 2009. “This year, 2024, marks our 49th anniversary,” she says. “For almost one-third of those years, I have had the privilege of advancing our mission, which is enriching the lives of senior neighbors through friendship, activities, education, and nourishment.”

“The WCASC community is incredibly creative, giving us the confidence to continue implementing innovative strategies to bolster well-being,” notes Sullivan. She credits the unwavering support and creativity of enthusiastic community partners, as well as the Board of Directors, who bring WCASC’s mission to life every day.

Corner Cabinet

Food Distribution Program

The Corner Cabinet Food Distribution Program originated due to the pandemic. “Despite the shutdown of 2020, we never stopped distributing food to vulnerable seniors. We immediately established our ‘Emergency Drive-Through Food Program,’” she says. To meet the increase in demand, WCASC wasted no time partnering with local businesses, including Carlino’s, Kildare’s, and Arianna’s.

“In 2021, while WCASC was still shut down, we transformed our Computer Lab into a new onsite Corner Cabinet food distribution area,” she adds. They launched a drive-through from Corner Cabinet to hand out food, and it remained operational until March 2022, when WCASC reopened and Corner Cabinet’s first weekly inside choice shopping began. Corner Cabinet, the hub of their weekly food distribution program, serves over 425 seniors monthly providing each with about 50 pounds of food weekly, including fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy products, breads/grains, non-perishables, and well-balanced frozen meals.

Weekday Activities

Monday through Friday, WCASC offers an array of activities, including fitness classes for seniors to improve strength and balance. They serve a free continental breakfast and a well-balanced lunch for a voluntary $2 donation, although Sullivan notes that most attendees eat for free. “For most, these meals are their primary source of daily nutrition,” she explains. “We offer the Corner Cabinet program, health and wellness programs, book club, German Klub, current events, crafts, Bingo, Mahjong, information and assistance, and more.” In addition, WCASC staff assist seniors with their electronic devices.

How to Help

Join the senior center, volunteer, or donate. “As an independent nonprofit organization, we welcome gifts of all sizes,” says Sullivan. For information, call 610431-4242

Being a book lover can support the senior center, too. Shop at their two Second Reading bookstores, which support their programs.



Boundless enthusiasm is an essential personality trait to run a community center, especially one focused on middle and high school students and activities designed not just to keep them out of trouble, but to inspire them and help them grow into the next generation of leaders. Westside Community Center Founder and Executive Director Ryan Enns possesses that enthusiasm, and he knows a thing or two about getting in trouble, too. “Growing up, I was a kid who got in my fair share of trouble,” he shares, “and I could’ve used the services they offer.” He speculates that if a resource such as Westside had been available for him as a teen, he might’ve stayed out of trouble altogether.


“I’ve seen students come through our program who are now staff,” says Enns. “Every student deserves every opportunity to succeed. Now, you’re seeing these young people become leaders in the community, and that impacts everyone, in all the neighborhoods and in the communities.”

After-school programs at Westside run Monday through Thursday, with Mondays and Wednesdays serving middle school students, and Tuesdays and Thursdays reserved for high school students.

Immigration Legal Services

One of Westside’s newest endeavors is their Department of Justice-approved immigration legal services program, which offers affordable legal services to immigrant members of the community. “We talk to a lot of families who couldn’t afford a traditional lawyer, or just had bad experi-

ences,” says Enns. “We had a lot of trust in the community because of our other programs.” Supporting those in the U.S. without an immigrant status, such as those seeking asylum or those who have been victims of a crime, the new program provides legal counsel as well as assistance with the daunting amount of paperwork and follow up required for immigration applications.

Last year, when Immigration Legal Services debuted, they helped 32 individuals through the immigration process in one form or another. For example, they assisted a young woman with a child who was ordered removed. They were able to help her get her case reopened and assisted her in applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), which has since been approved. She is now waiting for the approval of her work permit and is excited for her future.

Proceeds from the low-cost program go right back into the fund. “We ask for people to pay something,” he says. “And in turn, it goes to help the next person.”

Coffee Roasting Program

Westside’s coffee roasting program is


part of their STEM program offerings. “Students can learn how to roast coffee, which they enjoy,” Enns explains. “At the same time, they’re learning marketing and business sense. And now, we’re starting to sell the coffee roasted by the students, too.” Some kids have been so excited about the program that Westside has gone one step further and hired them. “Not only are the kids being mentored and cared for,” he says, “but they’re getting paid. Plus, the proceeds go back into the program.”

Enns describes the coffee as a traditional light/medium roast. “No added flavors, just taste the bean.” They obtain their coffee from fair trade sources, supported by a couple of local coffee shops who are helping out. Eventually, Enns dreams of expanding the program so that the kids can travel to the source to learn about coffee production. “I want our students to be proud of what they’re producing, and to think, ‘That’s something I want to put my name on,’” says Enns. “We don’t buy cheap beans to make bad coffee.”

How to Help

Donors and sponsors are always welcome, but for those who want to do more, Enns suggests giving him a call. “Let’s have a conversation,” he invites. He just had lunch with a couple who recently moved here. The wife worked with refugees in Europe, and Enns knew she would be a huge asset to Westside’s immigration program.

“Having that conversation helps us figure out how you can help,” he adds. “You’re a chef, so maybe you can provide meals for kids.”




“My passion is identifying needs in our community and working in collaboration with others to meet the needs of ALL. I want to be sure that the Y meets you where you are and creates an inclusive environment that serves all health needs on a holistic paradigm,” says Executive Director Laura Schofield-Pierson.

The YMCA is the largest non-profit dedicated to strengthening community.

That concept has a universal appeal and will always be relevant because community is necessary to human health and wellness. “We’ve all heard the saying, ‘it takes a village,’” says Schofield-Pierson. “It does take a village, and you can find your village at the Y!”

YGBW (YMCA of Greater Brandywine Valley) offers a wide variety of programs designed to support and strengthen our community. “We offer so many, it’s challenging to talk about them all,” she says, ForeverWell

ForeverWell is a community-driven program focusing on all aspects of health for members aged 55 and up. Members can choose to sit and be social with book clubs, card clubs, lunch and learns, bible study, and more. “And they can get up and get out with fitness classes and field trips,” notes Schofield-Pierson. “Be on the lookout for details about our ForeverWell Luau, which we’ll host here at the West Chester Area YMCA in September. We provide swimming, ice cream, and a hula hoop contest, of course.”

Adaptive Programs

The YMCA has recently expanded their Adaptive Programs offered at YGBW branches across Chester County. Adaptive Programs are designed for children and adults with disabilities to ensure that they have the opportunity to learn and grow. At the West Chester Area branch,


they offer Adaptive swim, dance, gymnastics, and small group training. Nearby YGBW branches also offer Adaptive summer camp, pickleball, LEGO club and more.

“We also offer a supportive community for those facing cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Our LIVESTRONG program and Parkinson’s Cycle classes provide fitness classes that are tailored to the needs of participants,” explains Schofield-Pierson, “along with a supportive community who understands. We also offer a free Y membership for LIVESTRONG participants and their families during the duration of the 12-week program.”

The Adaptive programs are in addition to the regular programs and services offered for adults, children, and families daily.

Summer Camps

“The team at YGBW is constantly working to ensure that our programs and services meet the needs of our community,” she says. “One area of opportunity that we’ve uncovered is to better support teens

as they grow and mature.” This year, they are launching three new summer camps that are built just for teens. Leaders in Training and Counselors in Training focus on mentoring and leadership for teens, while Teen Trek is all about field trips. “We’ll be taking teens to escape rooms, amusement parks, the zoo, and many other places,” she adds. “And our new summer camps are just the tip of the iceberg.”

How to Help Donate:

YGBW never turns away members due to inability to pay. “I’m proud that our organization supported more than 11,000 people last year,” says Schofield-Pierson, “with $2.2MM in financial assistance. It’s all funded by the generosity of our donors.”

Their annual campaign is underway right now. “You can donate to provide swim lessons, childcare, summer camp and more to local children, families, and seniors in need. Every dollar goes directly to our families, and every dollar matters,” she says. Volunteer:

“No matter your interest, we have a volunteer opportunity for you! Pickleball, reading to children, helping with ForeverWell or Adaptive Programs, supporting our Facilities team, coaching youth sports, and more,” says Schofield-Pierson.

Designs Times

Andrea Mason of Andrea Mason Design is a professional interior designer who wants to help you upgrade your space of the

It’s that time of year when we start spending a lot of our time outside. If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space, you’ll need furniture. And when shopping for your outdoor furniture, it is important to not only think about the styling and design, but also the composition and durability of the product you are buying. This is a quick guide to the best outdoor materials that will last and look beautiful.

Choosing pieces made of appropriate materials and caring for them properly will make all the difference. Understanding the expectations of outdoor furniture in the climate we live in is the first step. In our often humid and rainy environment, you want a material that is water resistant. When furniture is wet it can create mold and mildew, and metal furniture can get rusty and chip. With windstorms you will want to source furniture pieces that are sturdy and won’t blow away. Lastly, if you are selecting furniture with fabrics, you should take into consideration a UV protected fabric, so it won’t fade over time. Outdoor furniture gets an abundance of wear and tear, and you can help preserve it by covering your furniture when not in use.

Wood is the most popular outdoor furniture and for good reason. It’s very durable, especially hardwood species. Teak is a desirable hardwood material, and because of its oily and dense nature, it will do well in rainy weather and not warp or rot over time. Keep it looking its best by oiling and sealing your teak furniture annually. It will give it that extra protection it needs.

Metal is a great material for a more modern appeal. Aluminum is highly recommended for its rust resistance, durability, and lightweight nature. I like how its surface is temperature resistant so it will stay comfortable even after sitting in the hot sun. Aluminum is strong enough to withstand storms, and its paint or powder-coated finishes are further protection from the elements. To maintain it, you can simply wash with a mild soap and water.

Wicker is one of my favorites because of how much texture it adds to an outdoor setting. It’s so warm and charming. Organic wicker is made from plants such as bamboo or rattan, so it’s very fragile against the elements and can break over time. For a material that will last, synthetic wicker will give you the look you want and the durability and weather resistance that you need.

High-Density Polyethylene is a hard plastic material that is perfect against outdoor elements. It holds up with water, hot temperatures, and it’s highly durable when bumped and scratched. HDPE is easy to clean with a nonabrasive soap and water, and it’s a go-to for both traditional and modern spaces.

When shopping for outdoor furniture—as with indoor—you want to look for quality over fast furniture. You will see the difference by it lasting longer and keeping its integrity and original appearance. Make your outdoor setting beautiful this summer—and for years to come. –

History Happened Here

Diving into the important and exciting happenings in West Chester's past with Anne Skillman of the Chester County History Center

This Month: Bayard Rustin’s Local Roots

Bayard Rustin has received long overdue attention with the Netflix film Rustin, which premiered last fall. Produced by the Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions and directed by George C. Wolf, the film focuses on Rustin’s crowning achievement as the architect of the 1963 March on Washington—an achievement made even more remarkable for a man who was openly gay in a less accepting moment in history.

What many people don’t know is that Bayard Rustin was born and raised in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Rustin’s story has long been neglected by history, but the Chester County History Center, along with his surviving partner Walter Naegle and author Michael G. Long, strive to bring the story of this remarkable individual to the forefront.

Rustin was born March 17, 1912, and was raised by his grandparents, Janifer and Julia Davis Rustin. Julia Davis, born in 1873, was educated at the West Chester Friends School in the 19th century, quite an exception for a young person of color. Julia’s Quaker roots, and possibly the influence of her Lenape roots, went on to instill values of peace, inclusion, community service, and the concept that we are all part of one human family, in her bright and eager grandson. Young Bayard attended the Gay Street school, the segregated elementary school for West Chester’s Black children, and West Chester High School, which was an integrated school.

Bayard Rustin would prove to be a renaissance man at West Chester High School (the precursor to Henderson High School) where he excelled in academics, public speaking, drama, singing, and sports. He was trained to sing classically

by the music teacher and even performed an Italian aria during a school assembly. It was while he was at West Chester High School that the concepts of social justice and peaceful protest began to stir in Bayard. He protested having to stay in separate quarters from his teammates during away games, he protested being banned from sports practice in the winter months indoors at the YMCA, and he was arrested as a senior in high school when he dared to sit in the whites-only section of the segregated Warner Theater.

Bayard Rustin went on to study music at Wilberforce University on a scholarship in 1932. He then moved to New York City where he started a career in music, but the call to the peace movement was strong in the years leading up to World War II, and

Bayard Rustin in his West Chester High School yearbook photo. This photo courtesy of the Estate of Bayard Rustin.

Bayard found his life’s work in FOR, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, during the war and in the years that followed. The strategies of nonviolent protest he learned through his work in FOR, along with his infinite compassion, would prove to make him an invaluable mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1950s and 1960s civil rights movement.

The Chester County History Center will highlight him in their June programming, first partnering with the West Chester Film Festival for a Rustin Day of Film, followed by a special walking tour called Bayard Rustin’s West Chester. For the full schedule of events, visit the CCHC website at

Becca Boyd shares tips on life and cooking on her blog at

Beccanomics Home

Lately I’ve been “bring an app or dessert” a lot more than I’ve been the host, a welcome change. This simple appetizer is always met with raves, and the dessert is just a few basic steps easier than making a boxed mix of brownies. But the crowd’s reaction to your efforts will make you feel like you slaved for hours—and bonus, it’s make-ahead!


Bacon Wrapped Dates serves 6

24 pitted dates 12 slices bacon (usually 1 lb.)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

2. Take bacon out of the package and cut each piece in half.

3. Wrap each date in the half slice of bacon and place seam side down on the prepared sheet.

4. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and move oven rack to the top position. Place the baking sheet on the top rack and put the oven on broil. Watch carefully with the door ajar and broil 3 to 4 minutes or until crisped and brown.

5. Remove from the oven. Place bacon wrapped dates on a paper towel-lined plate to remove excess grease; serve warm or room temperature.

Toffee Brownie Trifle serves 16-20

Previously baked 8x8 brownies

1 1/2 c. Butterscotch/Caramel Sauce

1 (8 oz) bag toffee bits (Heath Bar)

3 c. heavy whipping cream, divided

2 Tbsp. cocoa powder

2 Tbsp. sugar pinch salt

1. Whip 1 c. whipping cream with cocoa, sugar, and salt until soft peaks form.

2. Whip (with cleaned whisk) 2 c. remaining whipping cream until soft peaks form.

3. Roughly chop brownies.

4. Layer half of the brownies into a 9x13-inch glass or metal pan.

Top with 1/3 of the toffee bits. Top with 1/3 of the butterscotch. Top with half of the cocoa whipped cream. Top with half of the regular whipped cream. Layer remaining brownies and repeat toffee, sauce, whipped creams, finishing with remaining toffee and butterscotch.

FREE MAILED SUBSCRIPTION OF The WC Press & Taste West Chester There's no catch, we swear.

collective creativity



For aficionados of fine art and local history, names like N.C. and Andrew Wyeth, Howard Pyle, Horace Pippin, and George Cope, are synonymous with the art of the Brandywine Valley. They represented the visual expression of the region at a time when portable cameras didn’t exist, and the most common way to experience scenes of daily life and landscapes was through images created by paintbrush.

In the late 19th century, master artists like Pyle and the Wyeths were so influential that their style became known as Brandywine School, a distinctly American aesthetic distinguished by its realism and narrative elements. West Chester-born Cope and Pippin were equally celebrated; Cope for his striking landscapes and trompe l'oeil still lifes; and the self-taught Pippin, who depicted African American life, and became one of the most influential Black folk painters of the early 20th century.

These artists share a common thread: each returned to the Brandywine Valley and built their career on their own terms. Now more than a century later, artists in West Chester still carry this spirit of self-actualization. As the borough blooms with large murals on its buildings and established galleries fill their windows with local artists’ works, the art scene thrives in West Chester. Relatively new to that scene are The Corner Art Collective and Ginkgo Arts, two destinations that are cultivating their own communities and inspiring a new wave of creativity in the borough.


On a brisk Sunday afternoon in late April, owners Rob DiTeodoro and Josh Ruggeri are holding intake for the Spring Show at The Corner later in the week. Situated next to a business center and surrounded by residential homes at the intersection of Matlack and Magnolia Streets, The Corner is hard to miss. Maybe it’s the dark gray exterior with bright red trim; the building’s large front steps, also painted bright red, spill out onto the sidewalk inviting passersby to see what’s inside. The front-door signage reads: “The Corner Art Collective A Gallery curated by

Artists.” Clearly this gallery operates on a different frequency.

The gallery is a bright open space that stretches the length of the building. It’s a cacophony of sound and visuals: music plays from a speaker tucked in a window ledge, and a mix of canvas paintings, framed photography, and mixed media pieces to be hung for the show line the walls. Rob and Josh, both West Chester natives and professional artists, welcome me. Even during intake, with the space buzzing with artists dropping off pieces,



signing paperwork, and offering a quick greeting before heading out, the feeling of community is authentic and inviting.

And that’s exactly what Rob DiTeodoro was looking for when he returned to the borough four years ago. A graduate of West Chester University, DiTeodoro served in the military and lived in Houston for ten years, but still felt pulled to return to West Chester. “[In Houston] is where I really got into making and displaying my art. I had found a very inclusive art scene, enjoyed the street art


scene there, and had some spots where I was showing regularly,” said DiTeodoro, an acrylic painter and muralist. “But I always wanted to come back to West Chester. So, I moved back and started showing around here, but wasn’t finding exactly what I was looking for. I just couldn’t find the community here. So, we decided to build one.”

Enter Josh Ruggeri. A graduate of The Art Institute of Philadelphia, Ruggeri spent several years traveling the world, working on different projects with graphic design and branding. “I started seriously painting around 2010,” said Ruggeri, an acrylic painter and graphic designer. “Since then, I’ve been showing in places all around the East Coast primarily.” So, what led to their partnership? A mutual connection: Josh’s brother-in-law. Josh and Rob eventually connected on Facebook, exchanging likes and comments on each other’s artwork. “The next thing you know, [Rob] calls me and says he has an opportunity. We met at a coffee shop and were just like ‘Let’s do it.’”

Not long after that initial meetup, their idea for a gallery found its physical

location on Matlack Street—the former Lou’s Convenience store—and officially opened in June 2023. Since then, the co-founders have built an exciting arts community focused on their gallery space which keeps the artist top of mind.

“Our model is very friendly towards the artist,” explained DiTeodoro, who understands the challenges artists may encounter when submitting their work to galleries. The Corner welcomes both established and emerging creatives of all levels to submit their work. Shows are year-round and include group, themed, and pop-ups – all curated by DiTeodoro and Ruggeri. Each show is announced via The Corner’s Instagram and email newsletter and is open to all mediums including 2-D, 3-D, and mixed media.

The pair also offer guidance to artists who are new to navigating the gallery world. “For example, if you’re starting out and you’re interested in one of our shows, but don’t know how to wire your canvas, we’ll answer any questions you may have around wiring,” said Ruggeri. This mindset comes from an understanding DiTeodroro and Ruggeri share as working artists

who’ve been in the trenches and know what it takes to be successful. It’s this level of openness and camaraderie that sets The Corner apart from other art spaces.

The collective offers events designed to bring artists and the borough community together. “Coffee and Conversations” invites artists to meet for coffee and network with local business owners and entrepreneurs, exchanging ideas and ways to collaborate. “Sketch Sessions” are more informal, inviting folks to bring their sketchbooks and draw together in a relaxed, inspiring atmosphere. Other notable events hosted over the past year have included a textile company field trip, an immersive sound bath, and workshops with local artists.

“Many people have shared with us that with The Corner they have finally found a spot [for them]. Maybe they didn’t approach other places or felt that they couldn’t, but for some reason—whether it’s our social media posts, or they came to a show, or they know us personally— there’s something about whatever we’re providing that they want to receive. And we want to receive them, too.”

art is in the eye of the


the beholder is the art


The gratitude, humility, and joy that The Corner generates is a testament to the atmosphere that DiTeodoro and Ruggeri have created. “Hey, come find us! And come check out a show. There’s so much different art in these shows, you may be shocked at what’s being created right here in town”—an invitation well

The Corner Art Collective is at 341 South Matlack Street. For more information, visit @thecornerwc on Instagram or email

It’s not every day that one can walk into an artist’s studio and witness them working at their craft. But, what if you could? That is exactly what Ginkgo Arts offers. With its unique co-working studio setup, Ginkgo Arts is changing the way local artists and the community interact.

Founded in 2022 by Charlot Barker and her son Steve Figgatt, Ginkgo Arts is a unique art collective right in the heart of the borough’s downtown—one that is rooted in providing space for artists to

work, exhibit, and connect with the community.

Charlot Barker is hesitant to call herself an artist, but there is no denying that she is one—and with a knack for bringing people together. Originally from Devon, Barker has lived in West Chester for 40 years. Before entering the art world, Barker worked as a director of technology in support and systems architecture. “My career isn’t what people generally think of as the arts,” said Barker. “But I am also a woodworker, and when I retired [from IT], I started a charity called Wood for Water,” where she creates and sells handcrafted wood products, donating the money from the sales to provide clean drinking water for people worldwide who lack access.

Her love of woodworking and appreciation for art eventually led to the creation of Ginkgo Arts. After several years of attending shows and admiring artwork, Barker’s son Steve asked if she wanted to start an artists’ studio space in West Chester. The intention was to add something new to the borough, something

eclectic. Barker jumped at the opportunity, excited at the thought of offering something different and going into business with her son.

“The dream was to have a place where artists could create and have it in the pedestrian area in the borough where people could stop by and come in, meet the artists, and form connections,” explained Barker, who said the pandemic was also a driving factor. “We wanted to provide something different, that would open the doors for people that might not have a studio—where you could walk out and have a coffee and sit on the courthouse steps. We wanted to offer something new in the community that we care about after coming out of dark times.”

Located at 21 South High Street, Ginkgo Arts is a stately Tudor-style building among some of the borough’s popular restaurants and retail stores. I dropped in on a weekday evening after discovering that it held open hours. After a walk through the center of town and a short stroll down High Street, I noticed the sign projecting over the brick sidewalk;

large lowercase letters read “gingko arts,” accompanied by a graphic of a green ginkgo leaf and colorful paint splatter. I entered through a painted black door between two large bay windows filled with artwork, with about 10 minutes to spare before open hours closed.

I was greeted by Jackie Saddic, Ginkgo Arts’ resident fashion designer and the owner of Jaclyn Leila Design. At first glance, Ginkgo Arts looks like a gallery. Near its entrance, several artworks, including canvas paintings of various sizes, are displayed under lights; Barker’s woodworking pieces are carefully arranged on a table, near a mannequin posed in a vibrant purple and green dress, one of Saddic’s designs. The environment is both elegant and eclectic—and there is so much to discover.

Around a corner, a long hallway reveals a row of artist’s studios that stretches the length of the building; a colorful mix of abstracts, vibrant florals, and striking portraits adorn the wrapped canvases within. The creativity and quality of craftsmanship is evident. There are eight studios and mediums including fine art painters, glass, woodworking, and textiles. Near the end of the hallway is Saddic’s studio.

Saddic holds a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design from Drexel University and an Associate Degree in Fine Arts from Delaware County Community College. An accomplished fashion designer, she discovered Ginkgo Arts during a First Friday visit and was invited back as a guest artist. She’s never left. “Finding my way into Ginkgo Arts and connecting with the artists here has opened up a world of creative possibilities,” Saddic said. “The thing people often say when they first come to my studio is ‘You should be in New York City!’ but the truth is, I adore creating and showcasing here in West Chester. I feel like I’m giving people something they may think they can only find in super fashion-centered cities. I was born and raised in West Chester and am so proud of the way the art scene and creative community is growing.”

For fine artist Matthew F. Dougherty, Ginkgo Arts provides a supportive and caring community where he enjoys fellowship with other artists. Working under




his studio name MFDArtist, Dougherty holds an MFA in Painting with academic honors from the New York Academy of Art and has worked in a variety of mediums over the years, now focusing on oils, acrylic, and Sharpie markers. He’s also created the Happy Hour Sketch Club where every Wednesday, artists are invited to meet at Ginkgo Arts at 4pm to go out together and sketch. “It doesn’t require you to drink alcohol or eat – it’s pay for what you consume – but it’s for young adults and artists to meet and sketch together. We’ve also talked about a possible figurative drawing group this summer. At Ginkgo Arts, we’re constantly thinking of new ways to create something special within the community.”

Whether it’s holding open hours to the public, participating in First Fridays, or organizing special events, this community-centric mindset is what keeps Ginkgo Arts thriving – and making a vibrant mark in the borough. Barker explained that the focus going forward will be on creating connections. “To continue to offer great artwork to West Chester, and a great feeling for the artists themselves, to create artwork that people can connect with,” said Barker. So, the next time you’re walking in town, stop into Ginkgo Arts. You might just find the next piece of original art for your collection—or a connection.

Ginkgo Arts is at 21 South High Street. For more information visit




Established in 1931, the Chester County Art Association (CCAA) has been a cornerstone of West Chester’s art scene for nearly 100 years. Like The Corner and Ginkgo Arts, the CCAA was founded by artists and local business leaders to create a community for artists to share their work and connect with likeminded creatives. Among these early founders were artist N.C. Wyeth, art critic and curator Christian Brinton, and painter William Palmer Lear. Wyeth even designed the original CCAA logo, which is still in use today.

In the early days, the CCAA met weekly at the DeHaven House and West Chester University for drawing sessions and to plan group shows. These shows drew the attention of artists across the Brandywine Valley, from those living within the borough to those residing in the countryside of Chester County. The CCAA would go on to exhibit Andrew Wyeth, Horace Pippin, Tom Bostelle,

Barclay Rubincam, Philip Jamison, Peter Sculthorpe, and Harry Dunn.

Nearly 20 years after its founding, the CCAA moved into a permanent space on North Bradford Avenue where it continues to operate to this day. The art center includes two formal gallery spaces, the Allinson Gallery and Huston Gallery, where regional and local artwork is exhibited nine months out of the year. Both curated exhibits and juried/non-juried group shows are presented here, and artists of all levels are encouraged to submit their work. During the summer, the galleries are transformed into spaces for summer art camps.

For those looking for instruction or to try something new, the CCAA offers a diverse array of classes and workshops in several mediums and in Creative Writing. The CCAA’s summer camps offer several programs over a span of 10 weeks and are open to students from ages 5 to 18. Some camps offered during Summer 2024 include learning basic jewelry and metal design, embroidery and crochet, extreme upcycling, mixed media, puppet making,

drawing animals, weaving, and several pottery camps. Both adult classes and summer camps are supported by CCAA’s robust roster of 25 teaching artists.

For established and emerging artists alike, the CCAA provides art shows from September through May. Each year, the CCAA serves as a stop on the popular Chester County Studio Tour in May, providing its galleries as space for select artists to display their work. After the summer camp season, the CCAA reopens its galleries in the fall to host art shows. This year, the CCAA has a full lineup of group and individual shows, including a member showcase, Craft Guild show, and a student/faculty show.

Today, the CCAA continues its mission to provide a space for artists of all levels to exhibit, learn, and connect. A nonprofit, the art center is supported through operating donations, memberships, planned giving, and the many volunteers that support it. Interested in becoming a member or signing up for a class for more information.

Something Good

Anne Walsh spotlights citizens for doing something swell. This month, meet Munir Nadar

“Something good” happens daily at Safe Harbor of Chester County, serving those in our community who are experiencing homelessness. Safe Harbor believes in “the power of compassion, community and collective action,” inviting members of the community to provide support and hope to those facing some of life’s toughest challenges.

Executive Director Jessica Chappell praised the success of their partnership with the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU), a work-based learning program for high school students with special needs. Chappell expressed appreciation of a particular student from Henderson High School class of 2024, Munir Nadar. “Though all our volunteers are invaluable, Munir has captured our hearts through his willingness to learn new skills, teach others about Safe Harbor, and desire to continue to work with us.”

What he does: Munir jumped right in to lend a helping hand, says Chappell, bringing his skills and attitude, described as a “vibrant breath of positivity.” His unwavering willingness to assist with various tasks reflects his dedication to Safe Harbor's mission. Whether it's preparing for fundraising events, maintaining a clean environment for residents, Munir always steps up to the plate. Recently, he was a part of the welcome committee for an Open House event. “After a small confidence boost from our team, he nailed the job and did an amazing job connecting visitors to Safe Harbor,” stated Chappell.

Why he’s on this page: Safe Harbor of Chester County has a mission to provide emergency housing, food, and access to support services. They meet the needs of the most vulnerable among us. Even though he has his own challenges in life, Munir lifts others up with his presence at the Safe Harbor. What sets Munir apart is not just his dedication, but also his self-determination. He brings a remarkable level of enthusiasm and positivity to everything he does, brightening the atmosphere for everyone around him.

What we admire about him: Jessica Chappell also stated that it is “his selflessness and compassion that truly make him an exemplary volunteer.”

What he likes about West Chester: At the Safe Harbor’s volunteer gratitude breakfast, Munir shared that he is excited to graduate in the class of 2024 from Henderson High School. Henderson provided a supportive space for Munir to learn and collaborate with peers, building confidence, self-esteem, and job skills. Munir loves West Chester because “my friends and school are there.” He said he loves Safe Harbor and appreciated learning and building his job skills, while helping others. He loves the staff, and the feeling is mutual. Mostly, the overall atmosphere of giving back to the community that Safe Harbor provides is what will leave a lasting impact on Munir’s bright future.

Moral of the Story: West Chester shines when students who build skills in the community give back to the community!


Spot the five differences hidden within this shot of Everhart Park, then email your answers to, and you’ve got a chance to win a Saloon 151 Gift Card.

Summer Hits List

DJ Romeo curates a list of the tracks you’ll be singing all season long

The following is a list of songs that will take over the radio stations in the next few months. You’ll soon know them by heart and play them ‘til they’re tired. And, you can now stream the list in its entirey at: @DJRomeo24 |

Shaboozey – A Bar Song (Tipsy)

Benson Boone – Slow It Down

Marshmello, Kane Brown – Miles On It

Artemas – i like the way you kiss me

Post Malone, Morgan Wallen – I Had Some Help

Galantis, David Guetta, 5 Seconds of Summer – Lighter

Sabrina Carpenter – Espresso

Hozier – Too Sweet

Kygo, Zak Abel, Nile Rodgers – For Life

Myles Smith – Stargazing

David Guetta, OneRepublic – I Don’t Wanna Wait


Dua Lipa – Illusion

Perrie – Forget About Us

Calvin Harris, Rag’n’Bone Man – Lovers In A Past Life

Dasha – Austin

Mark Ambor – Belong Together

Badger, Natasha Bedingfield – These Words

Imagine Dragons – Eyes Closed

Cheat Codes, Two Friends – The Way It Is

Ava Max – My Oh My

Jealous Friend, SBSTN – Circus

Majestic, The Jammin Kid, Celine DionSet My Heart On Fire (I’m Alive x And The Beat Goes On)

Lost Frequencies, David Kushner – In My Bones

Taylor Swift, Post Malone – Fortnight

Ariana Grande – we can’t be friends (wait for your love)

Meghan Trainor, T-Pain – Been Like This

Madison Beer – Make You Mine

Pharrell Williams, Miley Cyrus – Doctor (Work It Out)

John Summit, HAYLA - Shiver

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