Category Archives: Public Art & Local Art

Local Art: Haverford College


The pup and I like to walk the trail at Haverford College in southeastern PA and admire the art. Yes, he likes art, too. Mainly eating it. But I don’t judge.


Haverford College has natural beauty, spontaneous art made from nature, and—just art. Not natural, unless somehow spray paint is made from carmine beetles and blueberries. Thought I’d share some of my favorite spots with you:















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Local Art: Jack Kerouac


Noticing art wherever we go is good for the soul. It’s too easy to overlook the carefully hand-drawn menu board, the geometric crosswalks in Chinatown, the chalk art on sidewalks—and the dinosaur head on the wall by my front door, drawn years ago by my daughter.

The more I notice it, the more I see. And it creates a pause for appreciation in my busy days. Even the dinosaur head. I will never paint over it.

A bit of art in an organic market caught my eye recently, and created a wave of Jack Kerouac gratitude: remembering the positive effect Dharma Bums had on me as a young teenager. It was a long, long time before I went anywhere without that paperback in my bag. At some point I realized that the character of Japhy Ryder was based on the writer Gary Snyder. A couple of years later, visiting my best friend at Reed in Oregon, I saw Synder’s senior thesis in the college library. It was surreal.

If I read Dharma Bums now, I’d probably have to face a heavy dose of sexism (I’m just guessing here, it was written in 1958), especially now that I know more about gender, objectification, and all that jazz.

But back then, my young heart was with those characters in the mountains, and I took those mountains into my heart. I learned a tiny bit about Buddhism. I was glad not to be a nudist. And I fell in love with the West.

I decided that I needed to hike more, live in a cabin, have fires on beaches, not learn too much about Jack Kerouac (lest reality ruin the story), and that someday I’ll name a dog after him.

I’m glad I stopped to notice this art, and remember.


(Taken at Mom’s Organic Market in Bryn Mawr, PA.)

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Local Art Show: Mark Khaisman

In awe of Mark Khaisman’s packing tape portraits at the Main Line Art Center, Haverford, PA.






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Local Art: The Mother Fish

This lady’s mouth is big enough for children to climb into!
20141012_123220Part of a community play at the

Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship, Philadelphia, PA.

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Ben Hatke: Wizards and Libraries Forever!


Usually we leave the library laden with treasures, grateful and excited. This time, we brought our treasures to the library, and not surprisingly—because libraries are magic—we left richer than we arrived. We got to know the fabulous Julia’s House for Lost Creatures and take one home, have our Zita books signed, and heard an awesome talk from artist and author Ben Hatke.

See? Magic.

photo 3 copy

 Not only did the kids get his signature and their book personalized with their names, but each also got an unhurried sketch in their books—the bird from Julia’s House for Lost Creatures, One or Strong-Strong or Zita from the Zita series.





Oh, there’s more. Yes. There was a great talk about books and illustration, an art game (will have to try this one at home), a reading of Julia’s House for Lost Creatures and a reading from Ben’s upcoming book.

There was also the hilarious and illuminating What Happened to My Cheeseburger?!? Demonstration:

It was about gesture, body language, and how to explain feeling through a drawing, sparing the speech bubble for further explanations. This made an impression. My son, later that night:


And one for me, my absolute favorite (so far) from Ben’s InkTober series, The Widow of the Outlands. That’s right, I framed it.



Wizards Forever! And Artist-Authors! And Libraries! Yes, definitely. Magic all around.

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Local Art: Tree Stump Mural

20140911_091816_1-EFFECTSHavertown, PA

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Local Art Event: Ben Hatke

Getting excited. Very, very excited…

Ben HatkePhilly locals: coming up at the Havertown Library on October 9th, a visit from the creator of Zita the Spacegirl and Julia’s House for Lost Creatures! You can hear the squeeing from there, ya?

Now it all makes sense why I haven’t snatched up Julia’s House for my kids yet—I was waiting for this. Only, ahem, without knowing it. We can buy the book, ask him to sign it (or you know, huddle at the back and be too shy, whatever), and then read it piled up in a comfy library chair (yes, the four of us will fit, trust me).


Last week I lost the event sheet from the library (even though we took three between my kids and I), and was on the verge of forgetting… But today I found myself standing in front of a stack of Julia’s House at Barnes and Noble…



And shortly afterward, saw an announcement at the Children’s Book World in Bryn Mawr, PA…


Thanks, Universe. Now… where’s my calendar and a big red marker?

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