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Preserving Art and Community: The Special Bond Between Octorara Art Association and Chester Water Authority

Apr 24, 2024 | Uncategorized

The picturesque setting of the Pine Grove Covered Bridge Studio, nestled in Little Britain Township, Pennsylvania, adds to the beauty of the Octorara Art Association’s (OAA) artistic endeavors. The studio, rented from the Chester Water Authority (CWA), serves as a sanctuary for creative expression and community engagement. But what sets their arrangement apart is the unconventional form of rent payment—each year a piece of artwork is selected from an OAA artist to adorn the walls of CWA’s headquarters.

Established in 1948, OAA boasts a rich history spanning over seven decades. In 1953, Bill Cole, a professor from Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, sowed the seeds of collaboration between CWA and OAA, setting the stage for a remarkable journey of artistic and community engagement. 

The first Saturday of each month, except for October and December, the OAA gathers at CWA’s historic pump house, Pine Grove Covered Bridge Studio, for meetings, artistic showcases, and fellowship over pot-luck-meals. These gatherings provide members an opportunity to share their latest artwork while fostering camaraderie within the local artistic community.

However the absolute standout event in the OAA and CWA calendar is “Picture of the Year,” held on the last Saturday in September. During this occasion, CWA representatives join the OAA members to select a piece of art from the association’s collection as that year’s rent payment. “It is as much fun for us as it is for the local artists. It is a lovely, community tradition for one and all,” notes Noel Brandon, CWA Board Chairperson.  

Over the years, OAA has grown into a vibrant hub of artistic activity, offering a diverse range of classes and opportunities for artists of all levels. The association’s collaboration with CWA not only enriches the cultural landscape of the region, but also serves as a model for fostering partnerships between art organizations and municipal authorities. While on the surface, the partnership between CWA and OAA may be unexpected, their deep roots enrich the lives of all who participate. As Noel Brandon notes, “Chester Water Authority’s ongoing relationship with the Octorara Art Association is a testimony to our unwavering commitment to the community we serve.” 

OAA extends a warm invitation to those interested in becoming part of this dynamic community of artists and art enthusiasts. Who knows? Your artwork might just be the next masterpiece to grace the halls of the Chester Water Authority.

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