Friday, June 29, 2012

Thanks Kelly!

Big thanks to Kelly Colligan, one of our fabulous summer interns from Moore College, for her help over the past month! Kelly finished up working with us yesterday and I'm sad to see her go! Thanks so much Kelly!!! We'll miss you!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

PSG on

I was so happy to have Peter Crimmins and Emma Lee from Newsworks in our space yesterday for an interview. Having gotten only 4 hours of sleep, I had a giant coffee to keep me going, so I felt like I was just talking a mile a minute. Hopefully if you hear me on the radio (eek!) I don't sound too much like the Micro-Machines guy. (I am the shyest outgoing person I know so I'm always so nervous during interviews! ...yes, you read that right, shy and outgoing...that's me.) Check out the article and some more photos at

Huge thanks to Kelly and Gaby, two of our fabulous interns, for being there and helping to kitten wrangle, Barbara Blau, aka Gramma, for watching Olivia and to Peter and Emma for coming by to check out the space and helping to spread the word. Thank you!

Photo by Emma Lee



One of the best things, so far, about the Philadelphia Sculpture Gym is that it is already a place of we've all been working on the space, we are all picking up new skills from one another, which I love. On Sunday Gus, Brynn and I started on laying the linoleum floor in the 2nd bathroom. We planned out where our tiles would go, made some guide lines and I got to put down the mastic. I've put down a linoleum floor where the tiles were backed with adhesive, so this method was new to me. We left to eat dinner while the stuff set and came back to find that I had accidentally turned the fans off that we had on it (whoops.) So we did some other things and around 11:30 or so started laying out the tiles. The bathroom isn't huge but there were a fair amount of interesting cuts to be made for the drain holes in the floor so we were there until almost 4am (!) But it looks great and was totally worth it.

AND the windows in the member lounge are finished! Next up, flooring in there and then a kitchenette (So exciting!)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Late Night Triple Threat

The past two nights have been especially productive at the Sculpture Gym. Gus, Justin and I have been working hard and the member lounge and gallery spaces are getting close to being finished. The windows are ready to be put into the member lounge and we couldn't be happier with how they are turning out. Using older/reclaimed materials makes everything a little more (ahem) interesting to figure out and takes a bit longer, but it is so worth it because it looks amazing. Will be sure to take a better shot sometime today as this photo doesn't do the work a bit of justice.

PSG and PHS - 2012 Pop Up Garden

Make sure you check out the 2012 Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Pop Up Garden at 1905-15 Walnut Street. It opens today at 12 noon with a celebration and will feature sculpture by Philadelphia Sculpture Gym members Joshua Parker Coombs and Darla Jackson (hey that's me!). For more info on the Pop Up Garden check out the PHS website!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Out of Bounds opening reception at the Schuylkill Center this Saturday!

The Center for Emerging Visual Artists and
The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education are pleased to present:


Outdoor installation by Scott Pellnat

Featuring CFEVA Career Development Program Fellows & Alumni:

Susan Benarcik    Ana B. Hernandez    Brooke Hine

Darla Jackson    Mami Kato    Scott Pellnat    Caleb Nussear

Curated by Jenny Laden & Amie Potsic

Artist Talks & Reception:

Saturday, June 23rd  5 - 7pm

June 23 - September 2, 2012

The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
In and around the Main Building
8480 Hagy’s Mill Road
Philadelphia, PA  19128

Hours:  Monday – Saturday, 9am – 5pm

Out of Bounds will be installed in a variety of settings around SCEE’s main building: in the large pond that greets visitors at the front of the building; in the Center’s new sensory garden; and in the wooded picnic grove that lead to the forest behind the building.  Many of the works recreate and reimagine forms typically seen outdoors, such as Susan Benarcik's knotted droplets, Ana Hernandez's bright red fabric fungi, and Scott Pellnat's giant boat.  Others interact with the natural elements, giving the viewer a new perspective on familiar landscapes.  Mami Kato's work floats on the pond, kept company by a community of frogs, snakes and turtles.  Caleb Nussear’s installation plays with mirrors amongst the trees, layering the visual experience of the woods. The one indoor installation in the exhibition, Darla Jackson's "Surprise Party," enlivens the Center’s foyer with sculptural animals, welcoming visitors and marking the 25th anniversary celebration of the Schuylkill Center's Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic, which treats and rehabilitates thousands of animals each year.

Process Show: Casting coming soon!

Yesterday the cards came for Process Show: Casting and I was super excited to start giving them out!  Keep an eye out for them around town and be sure to save the date for the opening (July 6th!)! Hope to see you then!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

!!! July 1st at the Barnes Foundation !!!

So...if you happen to be free on July 1st, I'll be part of a lecture at the Barnes Foundation (!!!). The talk takes place from 3-4pm. Check out the Barnes Foundation website for more details. So exciting!

Conversations with the Collection: Musician Daryl Burgee, Sculptor Darla Jackson, and Christa Clarke, PhD, Curator of African Art at the Newark Museum
Enjoy a lively interdisciplinary conversation around the history of art, art making, and the drive to create. Starts with an introduction to African sculpture and continues with a discussion with Daryl Burgee, percussion drummer and artistic director of Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra, and Darla Jackson, sculptor and founder of Philadelphia Sculpture Gym.
July 1, 2012
3–4 pm 
2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway Free, advance reservations required.
Free First Sunday is sponsored by PECO.
For tickets, call 866.849.7056.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Image from here

Crates continued!

This weekend was a productive one. The member lounge is covered, inside and out, with old crates used for shipping art. This was a big project that took alot of planning and alot of cutting and alot of nailing, but it came out great. Sure we could've just covered this in drywall or plywood or something boring but we're artists, so why not think outside of the box...? The holes will get reclaimed windows and then the whole thing will be trimmed out with 1 x 3 from old slat crates. Brynn, Gus and I kicked this thing's ass on Saturday and Gus and I came back to start the outside on Saturday night. Sunday we *almost* finished the outside...there are a few tiny pieces left to do, but it seriously looks great. Big thanks to everyone for the help this weekend!

Olivia likes it too!

Below are some crappy interior shots that I took late at night but they give a view of the interior. It really feels like a tiny cabin or something like it...Can't wait until the space is finished!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tonight! Philly Residencies at Art in City Hall!

Check out Charter Member Michael Konrad's work, Reign Free as part of "Philly Residencies", a group exhibition featuring work from some of Philadelphia's artist residency programs, including 40th Street AIR, The Philadelphia Art Hotel, and Breadboard at NextFAB Studio.

Philly Residencies
On view: May 29 - July 20
Opening Reception: June 14, 5-7pm
Art Gallery at City Hall

Room 116 East Portal Market St. entrance

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Crates on the ceiling...

 Things are rolling along at the Philadelphia Sculpture Gym. As per any construction project, things are taking longer than expected but we've been keeping ourselves quite busy regardless. One of the things we've been working on is the ceiling of the Member Lounge. Originally the whole thing was covered in this awful paneling and we knew we wanted to keep the structure but overhaul the look. So we stripped it down and Justin had the idea to cover it, inside and out, in pieces of art shipping crates...we're reusing items that were destined to be trashed and it looks pretty awesome. Justin and Gus started the project off, hanging some of the bigger crates. This weekend Brynn, Gus and I got in there and started on some of the smaller sections. Everything had to be looked at, with us deciding which was the best part of the crate to save (hey, we're artists!) and then measuring and cutting the piece to fit. Gus and I finished it up Monday evening and I think it looks awesome. We'll be bringing the crates down the walls too, but there will be some windows going in to keep the space bright and open.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Process Show: Casting

Relic of The Ancient Future #1 by Gustavo Actis, 2011
I'm so excited to announce the artists that are included in our first juried show in the Philadelphia Sculpture Gym gallery! Process Show: Casting will be one of 4 process based shows that will happen each year (the others being wood, metal and mixed media) as a way to showcase the wide range possibilities within each medium/process. The artists are:

Gustavo Actis
Aylin Green
Stephanie Koenig
Nathaniel Mell
Lauren Pellerito
Amy Perdue
Emmett Ramstad
Colleen Rudolf
Kari Scott
Gabrielle Miles Silverlight
and Jenifer Stern

Congrats guys! Hope to see everyone on Friday, July 6th at the opening reception!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Worlds Collide...

What are you afraid of? by Darla Jackson, 2005

Some people who know me know that one of my "past lives" (one of the many things I did before getting into sculpture) was as a tattoo apprentice. I was always interested in tattoos and initially thought I wanted to do them as a profession. However, during my apprenticeship, I was offered a job teaching a sculpture class at an art center and decided to take it, leaving the tattoo world for the sculpture world....though periodically the two collide...

Last year (I think) I had gotten an Etsy message from someone who had gotten my sculpture, What are you afraid of? tattooed on their shoulder. Alot of people were questioning whether I was ok with it and honestly, I was flattered. I figure if they liked it enough to wear it on their body for the rest of their lives and they were ok with it, then so was I. And I thought it was an interesting combo of the path I almost took and the path I did take.

I had forgotten about this until today, when I got another photo, this time via my Facebook Page, of the same sculpture tattooed on a forearm. Again, I'm flattered and of all the pieces I've ever made, I'm always so amazed that this is the one that people relate most to... This was the first piece I did that experimented with the dual meaning and really started me down the road of creating the type of work I do. So a big thanks to anyone who loves the image enough to live with it forever...

Friday, June 8, 2012

To Apply: Philadelphia Artists' Collective Artist in Residence Program

Here is some information on the Philadelphia Artists' Collective (a local theatre company) Artist-In-Residence program. They are looking for a sculptor, so check it out!

Philadelphia Artists' Collective, a local theatre company.

Part of our mission is that for each of our theatre productions, we partner with a visual artist. Our Artist-In-Residence program is designed to bring artists from separate disciplines together, helping to inspire accessible art, interesting discussion, and enriching collaboration between actors, designers, directors, technicians, and visual artists. In the past, our Artists-In-Residence have partnered with the folks at Broad Street Ministry and conducted community workshops with the homeless and needy; additionally, the work of our AIR's have been incorporated into the scenic design and displayed throughout the space. It is partially a showcase opportunity, and it does come with a stipend. 

For our upcoming September production of August Strindberg's Creditors, we are seeking a sculptor to partner with us -- partially because we have only ever worked with painters before, and partly because one of the play's main characters is a sculptor. We are looking to find a sculptor who might be interested! The AIR position is still a new development for us, and we are still playing with what the format might include, but we are hoping to find someone with an adventurous spirit, and an aesthetic that matches the sparse, haunting landscape of the text. 

Please feel free to contact me at my email,, or by phone at 518-260-7284. Our website,, has more information about our own mission and about the Resident Artist Program. 

Katherine Fritz
Artistic Associate
Philadelphia Artists' Collective

Tonight! Animated Architecture Launch Party!

Tonight Sean Stoops is officially launching his Knight Arts Project with a party/fund-raiser at the Public House from 6-8pm!

More info from the FB event page:

This is the official launch party and fund-raising kick off event for my Knight Arts Challenge winning project! Help me celebrate the award and spread the word about my campaign to raise matching funds!
Free admission (project donations accepted)! There will be half price drinks and appetizer specials for my guests during the happy hour times (includes most alcohol, except drinks with 'top shelf' whisky, bourbon, etc.). I will have brochures/donation forms for my Animated Architecture video art project, so please bring your check books or you can make a pledge to donate later or pass the word on to other arts donors.

Two Logan Square (18th Street between Arch + Cherry)
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2824

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Windows and door

Thanks to Geoff Thompson for the fabulous donation of windows, a door, a bathtub (for soaking molds) and a sink. The windows and door will be used for the office and member lounge (exciting!) So photos of that to come soon!

And thanks to Kelly and Gaby for scraping down the door!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Just sculpt...

Sorry for the blog silence yesterday...on top of being tremendously busy, it was a rough day all around. I'm generally a very happy person but this past week has just felt like one thing after another and sometimes everything just hits you at once and you need to go off and cry for a few days over everything that you didn't let bother you for the last year or so. (And I'm sure a crazy full moon and Venus rolling in front of the sun didn't help...) But I will say this... When I get upset, I become the most inspired and productive. I can't help but make things. I know this is me processing what I'm feeling but because my work tends to be very emotion based in general, the things I create at times like these tend to be some of the stronger stuff...I've been sculpting and sketching alot and have a few pieces started and a few more on the way, which feels amazing. SO why all this about me? Well, I think 1) it's helpful to know that other people are out there going through it. Being an artist (or a human) can sometimes feel extremely isolating, especially when you're upset about something, and 2) I think as artists, our work is an extremely important a pressure release valve. I know alot of people who feel this way but are too busy/tired/sad to make work...just make something, even something small. I'm already feeling better and am excited about the new to build a giant armature...yikes!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Weekend Recap

Wow...what a crazy weekend that was, packed from start to finish. Friday night we started off at Indy Hall for the In Progress show, celebrating their expansion into the first floor of 20 N. 3rd Street. The show was great and the space was packed!


Here are my snake and rabbit sculptures on either end of the table, with Terri's deer in the middle.

Justin and Gus's work.

Olivia was umbrella obsessed and had a whole bunch of admirers on our way from the car to Space 1026.

Jake Henry's show, It's a trap!, at Space 1026 was really fabulous. It was a mix of wood and metal sculpture, both free standing and some wall mounted pieces, and paintings, which all worked beautifully together. I especially liked the giant trap at the far end of the room, although I kept being afraid of Olivia getting into it (which she tried!)

Welded teeth

And I loved this little welded bear trap...

After the openings, Jenny and I went to the Crane Building to set up for the 2012 Philadelphia Truck Expo. We were given a pickup truck to use and everyone had to create something in it, around it, on it, etc... It was Jenny's great idea to do a natural history museum type display of all the amazing things we found in our building while renovating...

Our truck full of fabulous specimens!


The opening was really fun and all the trucks were really varied which I loved. Ryan and Tim did a great job pulling it all together. Thanks for having us!!!

Lastly, we got some great donations this weekend, including a fridge (Thanks Gus!) and kitchen set up for our member lounge (Thanks Joe!) and some wood carving and leather working tools (Thanks Victor!). And big thanks, as always, to the amazing people who come help make it happen, Jenifer, Brynn (aka the Zen master), Gus, and Jenny. We could not do it without you guys.

(Sidebar. Anyone wanting to remove paint from windows, make a paste of washing soda and spread it on. Let it sit for a while, keeping it moist. Then use a scraper and a wire brush to take it all off. We have these horrible textured glass windows that grabbed the paint like it was its job, and this worked to get the paint off, and is non-toxic (Take that Paint Stripper! Booyah!)!)

Tiny Aluminum Pour!

Last night, between rainstorms, we got to see a tiny outdoor aluminum pour and it was incredible.

It started off with the tiniest little crucible I'd ever seen...


...and the cutest little furnace (I understand that tiny and cute are generally not words that go with pouring molten metal but I feel they are there.)


Even though it was her first metal pour, Olivia was far more concerned with the puddles than anything else.

Getting set up...

...and fired up!

 And because one fire is never enough, we had to light another one for cooking veggie hotdogs...


That's the aluminum being put in through the hole in the top of the furnace so it will melt down.


Such a fabulous set up that Gus made.

Preheating the ingot mold on the edge of the furnace.

Scraping off any slag off of the molten aluminum.

Almost ready to pour! See how the crucible is glowing? It was so beautiful...

Gus poured the aluminum into sand molds he had made, and I was lucky enough to see him make another on the spot after pouring the first two, which he then poured into for a total of 3 castings. I would've taken photos of the sand mold process but Olivia stole my phone at some point. I'm sure we'll be doing this again soon so not to worry...