Located at 117 South Market Street, Lynden Gallery brings art and character to the downtown area of Elizabethtown, Pa. Their mission statement, found on the gallery website (lyndengallery.com) is to offer: “Fine Art, Custom Framing and Design Consultation with attention to detail. We service our clientele with professionalism and go out of our way to provide customer satisfaction. We are committed to contributing to the arts and economic development in our community.”
Lisa H. B. Clemens, the gallery director, grew up in Elizabethtown and graduated from Elizabethtown Area High School in 1979. She went to Bridgewater College, in Bridgewater, Va., and graduated in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics and a minor in art. She started doing calligraphy and frame-work in 1985. In 2000, she decided to move her operation from her home into a more public space. “I have a real passion for downtown Elizabethtown, especially for what I think it can be. I didn’t look anywhere else,” she said.
This particular space was the original fire hall in Etown, built in 1892. From the 1980s to the mid-1990s, it was the home of Grosh’s Furniture. It was Market Street Hardware when Clemens purchased it in 2000. She was awarded the Elizabethtown Preservation Association Plaque for the restoration work she did on the building.
Clemens and her family moved into the floor above the gallery, which used to be a dance studio. She runs an interior design studio from there, and the space itself displays her work. Clemens is expected to complete her master of science in interior architecture and design from Drexel University in 2012. Using her knowledge of design, she made a home out of one giant room using salvaged wood and doors and keeping the hardwood floors left over from the dance studio, creating a unique and cozy environment. Events can be hosted in her home, which can fit about 40 people. All the paintings that Clemens has hung around her home are for sale, including the ones in her bedroom.
The gallery itself is undergoing renovations. The next show that they have planned isn’t until February, in order to accommodate the remodel. This event will be on the Friday closest to Valentine’s Day and is a yearly show that includes a figure exhibit, a jazz band performance and chocolate from the local M&M Mars factory. Clemens wants to clean up the look of the gallery and move it into the next decade. The front table will be pushed further back, moving the gallery space forward. They also plan to add a kitchen since they host many events with food, including gallery shows, baby showers, anniversary parties and the like. “We’re hoping that the re-configuration helps the flow of exhibits,” Clemens said. She also plans to move her interior design studio downstairs to make it more apparent to the public eye and to make it easier to access for those who can’t climb stairs.
Another reason for the addition of a kitchen is the “Eat Well & Buy More Art” campaign. The gallery’s blog (lydengallery.blogspot.com) expresses this idea. Clemens hopes to have more food present in the gallery and also to have some kind of food event next year.
Most of the artists whose work is shown at Lynden Gallery are professionals, generally around retirement age. Clemens wanted a consistent group of people to work with on a long-term basis. “You need to establish relationships with artists. The more you work with somebody, the more you understand their processes and why they create what they create,” she said. The gallery has a relationship with the Lancaster Arts Hotel, a 63-room boutique hotel featuring art by local artists. Clemens was the project manager to the partners in 2005 when an old tobacco warehouse in downtown Lancaster, Pa. was renovated into the hotel.
Senior Samantha Redles, art history and marketing double major, worked at the gallery in the past. She believes that they put on good shows for the space that they have. While no Etown College student work is shown, the gallery has displayed work from younger students through community programs, according to Redles. “They have a lot of connections in the community,” she said.
While the gallery doesn’t regularly house any college student work, several professors are represented. Louise Schellenberg, associate professor of the fine arts and Artist in Residence, 2012, has paintings lining the stairs. Milton Friedly, professor of the fine arts and Etown College gallery director, has several sculptures made from found objects displayed throughout the gallery. The gallery also takes on a college intern each semester who normally works 8 to 10 hours a week.
The current exhibition, called “The Hammer Creek Journal,” is by Lititz resident Robert Bitts. It includes a plethora of paintings of Hammer Creek, which runs through Lancaster County, on different days of the year. The gallery also has jewelry for sale and two cats, both of which are friendly and will follow gallery go-ers around, hoping to be pet.