Club + Resort Business December 2021

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IDEAEXCHANGE The Art of Celebration By Betsy Gilliland, Contributing Editor

THERE ARE COUNTLESS WAYS to celebrate a centennial anniversary—maybe even 100 or more. But Schuylkill Country Club in Orwigsburg, Pa., has turned it into an art form. As part of its centennial celebration in 2021, the property commissioned eight repurposed window panes, which were sponsored by members and painted by local artist Pablo Lebron Culp, to mark the milestone anniversary and create personalized commemorations for permanent display at the club. The unique idea was devised and executed with the help and ingenuity of some of the club’s members. The window panes were donated by a member who came across them when he was refurbishing an old house and realized that they could somehow be put to use at the property. “I told one of the Board members who works with [a local] art center that the panes were available, and she came up with the idea,” says Redman. That art center is the nearby Walk In Art Center in Schuylkill Haven, Pa., where artists who work in a variety of media, including ceramics, photography, jewelry design, painting, textiles, basket weaving, video,

As part of Schuylkill CC’s centennial celebration, members commissioned windowpane paintings with scenes of club life that could include family members. 66

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and sculpture, create in 16 working artists’ studios. The Board member presented the idea to Schuylkill’s centennial committee and engaged Culp to do the paintings. Culp is a fine artist, illustrator, writer, muralist, performer, and teacher who specializes in aerosol art, water color, acrylics and other media. The award-winning, Philadelphia-trained artist, who earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of the Arts, strives to express the human connection in his work. Schuylkill CC promoted the availability of the window panes in its digital newsletter, as well as a hard copy of its monthly update. Members had the opportunity to purchase the panes—four large panes at a cost of $150 each and four small panes for $75 apiece—on a first-come, first-serve basis. Then they could devise a scene to be painted on the glass. While some of the acrylic paintings were scenic, others honored family members or incorporated their memories of the club into the scenes. “Each family met with the artist to design their pane, and he worked on them throughout the winter,” says General Manager Herb Redman. “He did such a good job that he picked up work outside the club.” The paintings had to simulate views seen from Schuylkill CC’s recreation center, but otherwise, members had a lot of leeway about the scene they wanted to depict. Paintings that were created include golfers on the course, the view of the crow’s nest on the signature 11th hole, a red-tailed hawk flying above a red fox stealing a golf ball, and one family’s children playing in the swimming pool. Each painting also features a small plaque that includes the names of the members or groups that commissioned the artwork, and any honorees who were part of them as well. In addition to the individual families that purchased the panes, The Schuylkill Book Club and the Schuylkill Lady Golfers each

bought one as well. Three or four people who missed out were not disappointed, however; they commissioned work by the artist for their personal use. To unveil the paintings, the property held a cocktail party in July in its newly renovated pool house, which is surrounded by the golf course on three sides and the pool on the fourth side, as part of the centennial celebration. The paintings now hang in Schuylkill CC’s pool house, which has ample wall space, in the second-story bar and dining area above the locker rooms. The window-pane artwork will remain on permanent display at Schuylkill CC, which originally opened with a nine-hole course designed by Willie Park Jr. The golf course was redesigned in the mid-1940s by Donald Ross as an 18-hole course. “We had numerous celebrations for the centennial throughout the year,” says Redman. “They all were received really well. The paintings were a good idea, and it was successful.” Other centennial events throughout the year included a gala and a centennial golf tournament. However, the commissioned window-pane art offered a clever, creative, and long-lasting way to get people involved in the celebration as well. “With it being our centennial year, it just fell into place,” Redman says. “But it’s not something that’s just centennial-oriented. It’s not standard artwork, and it’s located in a separate building from the clubhouse.”