March Showers Bring Art Lovers to Marietta

By Mary Ellen Graybill
Sunday was a rainy day in the river town of Marietta. But, high on a hill at 316 E Market Street, artists and art lovers from as far away as Harrisburg, Baltimore and Lancaster poured in seeking a look at flowers painted by six artists in a show at the Marietta ArtHouse.
The exhibiting artists are Susan Gottlieb, Reed Dixon, Leona Cauley, Janette Toth-Musser, Robert Patierno and Eva Bender.
Founder of the Marietta ArtHouse, Claire McCaffrey Lavin has a dream – and rainy weather didn’t stop the open house exhibit.
The Marietta ArtHouse has been owned by Claire Lavin and her husband Thomas since 1975. From 1976 to 1990, the couple operated a wholesale art supply business and then sold the business and moved to Florida in 1990. Now the couple has returned to the town of Marietta, and Claire is the creative energy behind the new visual arts center. Tom is supportive even though he misses the Florida warm weather.
There are obstacles to the current growth, but creativity involves overcoming obstacles and it looks like a flowering of the arts in the town if the Lavin’s dreams come true.
Borough rules have required that the house have no rental units, so financial considerations are part of the big picture. That, and heating costs for the high ceiling room, as well as about $10,000 a year in town taxes also act as a spur to the entrepreneurial spirit of the artists.
There are available art gallery spaces in the big Victorian house, and artists are planning exhibits and studio lessons. Classes in watercolor, drawing, computer graphics are all on the drawing board and filling up.
Claire, born in Philadelphia, has been a successful artist most of her life. Her warm teaching skills and talent have returned to Marietta and she is eager to meet new students and teach her mosaic course in the coming months. In Florida, she developed a special, easy-to-do mosaic technique she plans to teach in Marietta.
Artist in residence at the house is Jacklyn Madsen, who has a BS in Art Education and graduate studies at Millersville University, Maryland institute College of Art and the PA Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia.
Co-founder of the Marietta Art House is  also an MFA graduate of the Maryland Institute of Art (MICA). Linda Mylin Ross has been a teacher at a local Donegal High School and lived in Marietta since the 1970’s. She and Claire both enjoy the renovation of their Victorian houses in the town where renovation is a regular activity.
In addition to classes, the newly opened art house will rent gallery space. Meanwhile, art shows such as the current Flowers! exhibit grace the walls of the old mansion. Linda Mylin Ross’ charcoal and pastel drawings along with the other exhibiting artists hung carefully arranged for sale.
It was a rainy day outside, but inside the gallery, with music playing, green tea and wine, cookies, and veggie snacks, cookies and more — there was a warmth of people meeting and greeting the artists, each other and the founder and her teachers. With flowers of all kinds and colors on the walls, it was a shower of artists and art lovers welcoming spring. It wasn’t really “cats and dogs” outside, just early April showers.
IF YOU GO: For more information, visit or call 717 426 2258.
Gallery Hours:
Wed. thru Sun. 12 – 5PM
Other hours by appointment.
Flowers! show exhibits from March 3 – March 27.

One comment

  1. This is a brilliantly written news article about an important subject. When the first Nobel Prize for web journalism is awarded, M.E. Graybill may be the person to get it.

    Keep up the good work!

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