This Saturday, Malvern welcomes its newest business with the official launch of Gallery 222. The former home, which is over 100 years old and was once a town grocer, has been converted into a multi-use space with two galleries on the first floor and four artist studios on the second floor by new owner Andrea Strang.
Strang, who has lived in the borough for 15 years, and is an artist herself, felt a need in the community for a space where talented local artists’ work could be displayed, but also somewhere for artists to work. An oil painter, she struggled to find space. “I drove my husband nuts with all my canvases and paint and easels. I kept trying to find space in the house where I was out of the way,” she says.
The opening exhibit is a leading example of what visitors will come to know in the future. Curated by the Delaware Valley Art League, it features 38 different artist’s works. “I wanted to have an array of different paintings—watercolors, pastels, acrylics, oils,” Strang says. Following that exhibit, the work will rotate with a new artist displayed in each gallery every month preceded by an artist’s reception. “I realized there was a huge volume of talented artists that I didn’t know about. I thought it would be great to showcase them,” Strang says.
Thus far, she’s had an overwhelming response to the solo shows, which she is hand selecting. Visitors will be able to see well-established artists 20 years into their careers as well as emerging artists, all working in the fine arts. One of the first solo shows that will be displayed is Randall Graham, who is a member of the Chester County Art Association and Brandywine Conservancy, among others, and is known for his plein air paintings. Graham is also one of the artists who will be occupying studio space at Gallery 222.
Unlike traditional galleries, there will be some communal spaces, like the country kitchen and quaint backyard, where Strang has set up café tables and a pretty garden. Those shared spaces are ideal not just for visiting clients, but for gallery visitors. “People can have casual conversations in the kitchen and backyard. Randall could set up his easel and paint,” she says. “I always wanted to make art accessible. When I went to class, it opened up a whole new world for me.” To help further make art accessible, Strang has plans to open studios on Saturdays for visitors to explore.
All of those elements give the gallery an intimate vibe, which will be on display for the first time on Sept. 24. To celebrate, Strang is having a butlered event accompanied by live music for the grand opening, complete with plenty of artwork.
The process for the gallery has been months in the making and Strang says she’s excited to finally open the doors to the public and for Main Line residents to see the varying works of local artists. “I want it to be a different experience each time they come,” she says.