This past August, Phoenixville’s 55-acre Beaver Farm served as the backdrop to one of the more creative philanthropic efforts in recent memory. Credit the initiative of Nancy Bea Miller, the local painter who coordinated the Plein Air at Beaver Farm event to benefit Glenmoore’s Camphill Special School.
Miller’s 16-year-old son, Henry—who has low-functioning autism and severe mental retardation—attends Camphill. “The constant reinforcement and holistic approach to the child as a learning and growing human being are unsurpassed,” says Miller. “I usually donate a painting to their general fundraiser, but that doesn’t seem like it does a lot.”
For the daylong marathon, Miller joined nearly 40 area artists in creating a diverse array of landscape work, from photographs, watercolor and pastel paintings, to wax works and even a children’s book. All of it is on display Nov. 3 at Rosenfeld Gallery in Philadelphia. “The response from the art community was very gratifying,” Miller says. “People were so happy to be there and painting with the other artists.”
A portion of the proceeds from the event will be set aside for Camphill’s Transition Program, which offers students ages 18-21 a pre-vocational experience and resources to ease them into adulthood. A private Waldorf school, Camphill caters to students in grades K-12 with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Though it operates like a boarding institution, most students go home on weekends and holidays. “Home setting, classroom setting, community setting—it all flows together,” says Miller.
To learn more about the exhibit, visit camphillspecialschool.org.