Jury Selects Winners for 'Take a Seat!' on Exhibition at Morris Arboretum and Woodmere Art Museum

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Media Contact:Susan Crane | cranesj@upenn.edu | 215-247-5777 x121May 22, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Winners of the collaborative Morris Arboretum-Woodmere Art Museum exhibit, 'Take a Seat!,' have been announced.  Forty artists are included in the exhibition, and 70 Adirondack chairs will be on display at throughout Morris Arboretum’s 92-acre garden and at the Woodmere Art Museum May 31 through Labor Day, Sept. 3.

First prize went to Murrie Gayman for his vibrant Tropical AdironDeco chairs and accompanying footstool. Gayman graduated cum laude from the Philadelphia Museum School of Art (now the University of the Arts) in 1958.  After careers in designing interiors, fabrics and wall coverings, he began a new venture in the 1990s creating huge murals for public spaces utilizing scraps of antique barn wood.  His work can be seen in many prominent Bucks County buildings, at the Pennsylvania Visitors Welcome Center in Susquehanna County, and at the historic Moland House in Warwick Township.

Second prize was awarded to Ilyssa Shapiro, a young artist whose concept chairs, Urban Arbor, invite viewers to truly “take a seat” and enjoy a brief respite from life under the cool shade of tree. On the arm of one chair is the statement, ‘If a chair were placed with every street tree in Philadelphia, our city would be radically different.’ Shapiro resides in South Philadelphia. Her personal work explores solving problems through design often in non-traditional ways.  She is particularly interested in how design can play a role in protecting our natural environments, especially in cities.  She currently works as an experience designer and strategist for the creative group andCulture and as a freelance designer for the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.

The third prize winner was Patricia Siembora for her distinctive submission, “Lawn” Chairs, which displays a grass lawn motif using vinyl wrap on her chairs that is almost like a decal, (a similar technique that Septa uses for its wrapped buses). For added interest and comfort, Woodmere Art Museum and Siembora has adorned her ‘Lawn’ chairs with Astroturf pillows.  A textile artist who is also an educator, Siembora’s current work incorporates digitally printing original photographs on cloth in her quilted wall pieces.  Her love of color, the natural world and memorable images are included in her creations. She has exhibited her work both locally and nationally and is an educator at The Agnes Irwin School.

Three Honorable Mention awards were also given. Recipients include David Robinson, a builder of rustic gazebos and landscape work, for Adirondack Meets Modern Meets Rustic.  Local woodworker Tim Lewis received recognition for Symbio, a striking, undulating, wave-like double chair, designed for two. Finally, Morris Arboretum staff members Nina Safavi, Charlie Nicholson and Jason Lubar took home honors for Chairscape and Repose in the Wissahickon, which were designed using local Wissahickon schist to reflect the rugged shape and natural beauty of the valley’s landscape.

The Take a Seat! exhibition is made possible in part by the Madeleine K. Butcher Fine Arts Endowment, dedicated to supporting emerging artists, Bowman Properties, and Chestnut Hill Hospital.

About The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania
The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is located at 100 East Northwestern Avenue in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia.  The 92-acre horticulture display garden features a spectacular collection of mature trees in a beautiful and colorful landscape. The Arboretum includes numerous picturesque spots such as a formal rose garden, historic water features, a swan pond, and the only remaining freestanding fernery in North America. A permanent nationally award winning exhibit, Out on a Limb – a Tree Adventure adds to Morris Arboretum’s allure by transporting visitors 50 feet up into the treetops on a canopy walk that requires no climbing.  The Morris Arboretum’s Horticulture Center Complex has received Platinum Level LEED® Certification, the highest sustainability rating of the U.S. Green Building Council. For more information, visit www.morrisarboretum.org.
About Woodmere Art Museum
Housed in a 19th-century stone Victorian mansion on six acres in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, Woodmere first opened its doors to the public in 1940. The building, grounds and the nucleus of the Permanent Collection are the benefactions of Charles Knox Smith (1845 – 1916), who wished “to awaken the spirit of, the appreciation of, and the knowledge of art … in the City of Philadelphia and surrounding territory.” Today, the Permanent Collection consists of more than 3,000 works of art, celebrating the art and artists of Philadelphia.
Woodmere’s core collection includes important paintings by renowned artists such as Edward Redfield, Daniel Garber, Walter E. Schofield, Benjamin West, Frederic Edwin Church, Violet Oakley, Arthur B. Carles and many more. Woodmere’s nine galleries and salons, including a grand rotunda and a uniquely designated Helen Millard Children’s Gallery, provide space for exhibitions and programs that serve the entire family. In the George D. Widener Studio, a converted carriage house, a year-round roster of classes provides outstanding art training for children and adults.