OLD TOWN HALL MUSEUM CELEBRATES CREATIVITY

MULLICA HILL — Mullica Hill’s Old Town Hall Museum opens its fall season with a century and a half of fine and folk art from Harrison Township.

Originals features over 40 paintings, ceramics, sculptures and furniture, all drawn from the Harrison Township Historical Society’s collections. Many of the featured works are on exhibit for the first time.

“The Society is excited about sharing these works with the public,” said Suzanne Grasso, the Society’s president. “The pieces are very diverse and show how local people found diverse ways to express their interests and creativity.”

Highlighted along one entire wall is a remarkable appliqué bedspread from the Martin family of Ewan, which was just recently donated to the Society.

“Although sewn in the last quarter of the 19th century, the bedspread is remarkably modern,” noted exhibition curator, James Turk. “Each block features free-form versions of traditional quilting patterns. The effect is like a piece of modern abstract art, wild and exuberant.”

Also new is a selection of paint-decorated furniture and ceramics by Major Louis Reuter, Jr., of Richwood. A World War II hero, Reuter suffered a severe head wound which caused partial paralysis and loss of memory.

Through aggressive therapy and personal persistence, Reuter worked to overcome his disabilities to become an active and important civic leader. Art therapy played a role in his recuperation.

Reuter was very proud of his hometown and state, which shows in the motifs he selected to decorate the chairs and chest of drawers on exhibit. Peach blossoms recall Richwood’s famous orchards, while violets, New Jersey’s state flower, celebrate his native state. Major Reuter was one of the founders of the Harrison Township Historical Society.

“In addition to these objects, we are exhibiting another twelve of Josiah Chester’s whimsical pen and ink drawings,” added Grasso.

Very little is known about Chester except that in the 1870’s he lived in Ewan and filled his ledger with imaginative and creative drawings. The work identifies him as an important regional folk artist.

The exhibition is open Saturdays and Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m. until Dec. 14 and admission is free. Old Town Hall is located at the intersection of South Main Street and Woodstown Road in the heart of Mullica Hill’s Historic District.

For information: 856-478-4949 or visit www.harrisonhistorical.com.

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