Exploring the Art Scene in York County: A Guide for Artists

Are you an artist looking to explore the art scene in York County? Creative York is the perfect place to start. This organization is devoted to nurturing the artist community in the area by providing a variety of opportunities for professional and collaborative growth. From art classes and camps to outreach programs and gallery experiences, Creative York has something for everyone. The Hudson River School was America's first true artistic fraternity.

It was named after the group of landscape painters living in New York City who emerged around 1850 under the influence of the English émigré Thomas Cole (1801-184). Cole is often considered to be the “father” or founder of the school, although he himself did not play any special organizing or welcoming role, except that of teaching Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900). Albert Bierstadt (1830-190) and Church were the school's most successful painters until its decline. After Cole's death in 1848, his older contemporary, Asher B.

Durand (1796-188) became the recognized leader of New York landscape painters. In 1845, Durand became president of the National Academy of Design, the reigning artistic institution of the time. He also published a series of “Letters on Landscape Painting” between 1855 and 1856, which codified the standard of idealized naturalism that marked the school's production. Most of the New York landscape painters belonged to the National Academy, were members of the same clubs, especially the Century, and even worked at the same address - The Studio Building on West Tenth Street - at one point. Eventually, several of them built houses on the Hudson River. The term “Hudson River School” was first used in the 1870s and has since been used to characterize this artistic body, its New York headquarters, its landscape theme, and often literally its subject matter.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated that art in the United States has never been exclusive to a select group or class of people. Cole's arrival in New York City in 1825 marked the beginning of this school. He set sail for the Catskills soon after his arrival and sketched there and elsewhere along the banks of the Hudson. The theme of nature had previously gained popularity in American literature, especially in James Fenimore Cooper's “Leatherstocking” novels which were set in upstate New York locations that became Cole's first subjects. Several images from these novels were even illustrated by Cole himself.

Under Roosevelt's government programs, artists found significant work making art for ordinary Americans and publicizing the achievements of the WPA. The art created within this framework provides a unique snapshot of American society and economy at that time. Mopope and the Kiowa group developed what became known as the flat style which refers to techniques used to paint on leather (used for ceremonial tunics and teepees) to make images graphically readable. Grant Wood, who was born and lived most of his life in Iowa, worked as an artist on the Works Progress Administration's Public Works Art Project (PWAP). He decided to become a landscape painter after a period of traveling portraiture in Ohio and western Pennsylvania, and a stint in Philadelphia during which he admired and imitated early American specialists such as Thomas Doughty. In 1935, Roosevelt created the Federal Art Project (FAP) as an agency that would manage artist employment projects, federal art commissions, and community art centers.

The Mexican program provided a model for this project in America during this time period by demonstrating how art commissioned by government could foster a sense of national pride. If you're looking for an opportunity to explore your creativity while connecting with other artists in York County, Creative York is a great place to start. Think about how different mediums (woodcut versus photography), compositions (arrangement of shapes and figures), and styles (realistic or stylized) can be used to create art. With so many options available through Creative York, you're sure to find something that sparks your interest.

Darin Nowlan
Darin Nowlan

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