SAMA-Loretto exhibit

An exhibit of paintings and monoprints by Jennifer Baker is on display through Oct. 5, 2019, at Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art in Loretto.

Changes that come with time are the focus of this art exhibition.

“Third Street: Paintings and Monoprints by Jennifer Baker” will be on display through Oct. 5 at Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art in Loretto on the St. Francis University campus.

Baker describes her series of paintings and monoprints in the exhibit as “a visual diary of drawn-out, convulsive change,” coming to a city neighborhood from the 1970s to the present day.

She documents the abandonment and destruction of the landscape and people of Northern Liberties, Philadelphia, from the ’80s and ’90s and the subsequent redevelopment of the area over the past 15 years.

It is a collective portrait of a neighborhood going to nowhere and back. It asks what is lost when a neighborhood is bulldozed and burned and rebuilt with expensive townhouses.

Baker asks viewers to reflect on the nature of worth and excess on the human value of the built environment and the function of memory in the enrichment of daily life.

“This exhibition acts as a narrative for the Northern Liberties neighborhood and the changes that it has undergone in the last 30 years,” said Jessica Campbell, SAMA’s education coordinator.

“We are showing approximately 70 pieces of Baker’s artwork from this series. Paintings and monoprints are featured throughout this exhibition.”

She said they first met Baker a few years ago when the museum hosted the exhibition “Tradition and Innovation” at SAMA-Loretto, featuring work from artists who attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

“SAMA is honored to showcase Jennifer’s work, and her work can resonate with anyone as it focuses on changes,” Campbell said.

“We might not always agree on those changes, but they happen nonetheless, and Baker captured the essence of what can happen in smaller towns.”

Baker currently works in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia.

She studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, The University of the Arts and the Art Students League of New York.

Baker has exhibited at numerous galleries throughout her career, including Art 101, Nexus Gallery, F.A.N. Gallery  and Fleisher Art Memorial.

She has received grants and awards from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Leeway Foundation, among other organizations.

Campbell said the exhibit will include videos of the artist talking about some of her work and series.

“We’ve used QR codes so visitors can use their phones to hear directly from the artist,” she said.

“Jennifer also provided written materials for those that don’t have access or don’t want to use their phones.”

To celebrate the exhibit, an opening reception will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday.

There will be light refreshments, appetizers and live musical entertainment. 

Cost is $20 for members and $25 for the general public, and includes a copy of the exhibition catalog.

There also will be a Lunch a l’Art event with Baker from noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 12.

“Our Lunch a l’Art provides guests an opportunity to hear artists talk about their artwork and ask questions,” Campbell said.

Cost is $12 for SAMA members and $15 for the general public.

For reservations to either event, call 814-472-3920 or email loretto@sama-art.org

The museum is open to the public free of charge.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

For more information, call 814-472-3920 or visit www.sama-art.org.

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.