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Nancy Pickering / Photo by Jeff Robinson

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Local Ladies Contribute Through The Arts

Take A Look At Wonderful Accomplishments From These Women

Ashara Shapiro

ArtWRKD is a full-service art consortium at 126 S. State Street in Newtown, with a mission for discovering, fostering and sharing all mediums of original work by best-emerging artists, says owner/curator Ashara Shapiro.

"I created ArtWRKD as a support to artists, our community and the education of expression. Art is an essential part of society," she explains. "ArtWRKD offers space to the community for workshops, art education, lectures, artist interaction, events and a curated artist boutique."

She says she personally creates art to show her world. "To share with others the way I see, exist and feel about everything both introspectively and outside myself. It's the best way I know to communicate."

"Art is essential to me because it’s the foundation for our culture," she adds. "Art explores our collective humanity. We've always had art as a part of expression since we were on this Earth. I feel like creating a space to perpetuate the conversation is my mission."

Two new events debut this month at ArtWRKD:  Wearable Art Fashion Show on May 12 and the Wearable Art & Fiber Exhibit May 12-31. 

ArtWRKD.com

Nancy Pickering

Widespread benefits from the one and only 40-year-old Newtown Arts Company still manifest abundantly in today's local community. 

In 1983, Newtown enthusiasts celebrated the borough's 300th anniversary and history with a pageant called Sweet Land. Volunteers from all walks of life converged to sing, act, dance, build sets, sew costumes, play music, sell tickets and bring Newtown’s distinctive story to life. However, the energy generated by that milestone production didn't die at the final curtain. Artistic matriarch and Newtown resident Nancy Pickering was one of the founders of the group. She says members of that cast and crew formed the Newtown Arts Company to continue delivering live performances.

"In addition to enriching the cultural life of the greater Newtown area, the company has awarded more than $200,000 in scholarship grants to graduating high school seniors," says Nancy. 

Now after being launched four decades ago this year, Newtown Arts Company currently presents six shows annually. The regular season includes an array of dramas, comedies and musicals from classic to contemporary themes. Since 2006 performances have been staged at the historic Newtown Theatre, the nation’s oldest movie house built in 1831.

Nancy, who is the current secretary of the Company's executive board, reminds there are many ways to measure success when it comes to the arts.

"For our youngest thespians, it's the recognition of their growing confidence as they learn basic theatrical skills that will help them in many areas of life beyond the stage. And it can be felt in the heartfelt thanks from students headed off to colleges, universities and conservatories to pursue higher education in the performing and fine arts, because their talents have been rewarded with scholarship grants," she adds. 

Check out the upcoming performances of the Newtown Arts Company crew:

  • Stars of Tomorrow (July 10-14)
  • 13 (August 3-6)
  • The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time (Oct. 19-22)
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Nov. 3-Dec. 3)

NewtownArtsCompany.com

Rae Radick

This soulful, professional musician grew up in Richboro, and graduated from Council Rock South High School. She's been a singer/songwriter since she was 16 years old. She currently splits her time between New York and Nashville working as a full-time professional performer, although she assures that her Bucks County roots still influence her music. She also tours internationally.

“Music is without a doubt the foundation and purest form of human expression and connection,” she assures. “It’s a universal language serving as a vessel of relation. Whether you’re dancing, singing, or just listening to music, it can alter your emotions and transport you as the melody or lyrics affect you.”

Rae opened for country music stars Miranda Lambert and Brett Young at Citadel Country Spirit Music Festival in 2021. "I'm like the Love Child of Shania Twain + Miranda Lambert + 70s Glam," she quips. 

She adds that she's drawn to writing music about specific themes: struggles of relationships, growth, nostalgia and freedom. "I'm about being fierce yet vulnerable, classy yet authentic, free-thinking, and finding your own path in a technology-based world."

There are decades of studies, documented from as far back as 1789, about music therapy and how it heals a variety of disorders, Rae shares. She adds that even the Ancient Egyptians used music, vibrations and frequencies to heal the sick. “The amount of artists, storytellers, genres and sounds in the world today are extensive, and there’s truly something for everyone to connect with.”

Catch Rae performing on May 4 at Sellersville Theater in Sellersville, May 13 for a solo acoustic show at Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, or performing on May 31 with Jessie's Girl band at the Penn Community Amphitheater in Bensalem.

In Newtown on July 14, she'll deliver a solo acoustic show at Triple Sun Spirits at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at TripleSunSpirits.com/Newtown-room. She just played at The Newtown Theatre in January. 

RaeRadick.com

JENNIFER HANSEN ROLLI

Jennifer says her impressionistic paintings celebrate a multitude of places and spaces, from Bucks County backroads to the sunshine yellow, cab-jammed streets of New York. "My paintings invite everyone to discover and re-discover the nooks and crannies of 'our places,' and the everyday world we live in, rich with light and color and awe-inspiring moments," she adds. "These little slices of life are worth immortalizing.”

Art has been an integral security in her life, she espouses. "The joy it brings me and to others has always been fulfilling. The process poses many struggles, but there's always a solution, and I know I'll find it. Sometimes it takes a really long time, but the answer isn't impossible. Over time, I've learned this is valuable in all aspects of life. It was by watching my children find their own paths by creating, uncreating and then recreating that taught me this. Be patient and answers will come."

She says she believes art has played a consistent role in society throughout the ages.

"On a large scale, an artist has put thought into everything manmade. This includes the chain on the blinds of the upper floor window I'm currently looking out of in Philadelphia, the blinking pizza sign, a twisting skyscraper, a knitted Eagles hat, and row after row of distant brick homes. This paints a picture of today's society just as much as the abstract painting hanging to my right," she says.

"Collectively, all kinds of artists are the underpinnings of society, looking to push boundaries in a slow, wavelike motion, linked to the past, linked to the future, feeding off of each other as they add their stamp on society. Citizens are touched by, and digest all this, as it quietly influences their lives."

Her artwork has been called evocative and elegant, due to capturing elements of the ordinary and turning them into extraordinary results. Locally, her paintings are displayed at the Silverman Gallery of Bucks County Impressionist Art in Holicong.

JenniferHansenRolli.com

Deborah Pomroy

Creating floral arrangements is another form of expressive art and beautiful handiwork, as evidenced by this local floral specialist who parlays colors, textures and scents of flowers in extraordinary ways. 

Deborah has been designing florals for more than 35 years and resides in Yardley with her furry buddies, Finley and Moses. After owning her own flower shop for 17 years, Deborah moved on to wedding floral design at Fabufloras in Philadelphia before working locally. 

"I enjoy generating and sharing special tips and tricks to help others create magic to take home and enjoy," she says. 

Studies indicate that flowers have a long-term positive effect on moods. Flowers make intimate connections and help enhance enjoyment and life satisfaction.

“The intricate details of each and every flower I use amaze me. Floral design reminds me to stop and notice the curve of every stem, the brilliant color of each petal, the slight hints of fragrance and the many different textures of the seed pods,” says Deborah. “Meditating on these intricacies grounds me and helps keep me calm and focused throughout these busy days.”

Deborah is an adjunct professor at Mercer County Community College where she teaches the floral design program classes. She has a bachelor's degree in ornamental horticulture with a floriculture emphasis and a business minor from Delaware Valley University.

She now also is found composing beautiful display vignettes, teaching classes and building spectacular floral arrangements as designer and event coordinator at the family-owned Seasons Garden Center in Washington Crossing. 

“After a time when people felt safer to be separate from one another, I feel art is a bonding agent to bring us back together. When we share our art, we’re able to share a bit of ourselves with others. It’s cleansing to express our feelings to others once again,” Deborah concludes.

SeasonsGardenCenter.com

"In the world of live theater, success is seen in audiences' reactions as they laugh, smile, shed tears or applaud fine performances. It can be felt in the sense of camaraderie and family that develops among the cast and crew as they work together to tell a story." ~Nancy Pickering

"Paintings are little slices of life worth immortalizing.” ~Jennifer Hansen Rolli 

"To view someone’s art is to view their soul’s expression." ~Deborah Pomroy

  • Musical artist Rae Radick, a Bucks County native
  • Musical artist Rae Radick, a Bucks County native
  • Musical artist Rae Radick, a Bucks County native
  • Musical artist Rae Radick, a Bucks County native
  • Jennifer Hansen Roli / Photo by Jennifer El-Habr
  • Nancy Pickering / Photo by Jeff Robinson
  • Nancy Pickering / Photo by Jeff Robinson
  • Deborah Pomroy and Finley
  • Ashara Shapiro / Photo by Kim Shelfer Billingsley