Malvern is scrapping the fees and formalities of modern art and literally bringing artwork to the people. Its newest gallery is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week — and for free.
Half a dozen masterfully painted murals now grace the walls of public-facing buildings downtown, and the Malvern Community Arts Project has connected the dots with a new self-guided 10-block public art tour for anyone and everyone.
“We were able to raise the money needed for the first mural before we even presented a sketch to the public,” said Founder Kristin Thomas, who is now watching the sixth installation come alive at Malvern Saddlery on the corner of King and Warren avenues by artist Carrie Kingsbury of Promiseland Murals.”… Our residents and business owners are passionate about our town and want to see it succeed. Adding public art to Malvern’s landscape was an idea that was very quickly embraced.”
The tour starts at the light rail station or municipal parking lot next to Malvern Pizza and can be taken anytime or combined with the live music, light refreshments, special promotions, happy hour deals, can’t-miss sales, popup stores within stores, product demos and more that mark King Street’s Malvern Stroll on the third Thursday of every month from 4 to 8 p.m.
Here are the stops:
1. Malvern Pizza and Beer: Check out Malvern Community Arts Project’s first work, the large and colorful mural of Victorian-era Malvern, painted by Kingsbury. If you know your Malvern history, you will recognize some of the structures.
2. The backside of Gallagher’s Auto Service by the train station and Caffe Craze: Take in the huge patriotic mural representing Paoli Battlefield Historic Park and the Malvern Memorial Parade, painted by Dennis Goldsborough.
4. Borough Hall/Malvern Public Library: Explore the halls to view the library’s latest local artist on display.
5. Borough Hall/Malvern Public Library lobby: Check out the new large canvas paintings of King Street and other local spots as part of Malvern’s 125th anniversary project, painted by Randall Graham.
6. Cross back over King Street at Bridge Street (by The Flying Pig Saloon) to see the street art “The Ants Go Marching One by One” on the bridge, and check out the new panel murals of “Malvern Today” by Great Valley High School students.
7. Make your way east down King Street and stop in at some of the many shops along the Malvern Stroll that feature artisans of all kinds, including the JAM Gallery.
8. Finish your trek at Christopher’s, A Neighborhood Place: Malvern, where local artwork is always on display.
“Displays of public art are a distinguishing characteristic in a community,” Thomas said. “Outdoor murals can often become landmarks and attract visitors. An investment in public art is good for all of the businesses in town. Projects like this are important in that they bring art into the public sphere. They can have a dramatic impact, whether consciously or subconsciously, on the attitudes of passers-by when they are added to areas where people live and work.”