Jim Lukens is a crusader with an artist’s vision, a palette knife, and a mission to showcase Quakertown.
Lukens attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia and carries forward the tradition of Pennsylvania Impressionists from the turn of the 20th century. These artists found inspiration and a place to call home in Bucks County’s lush pastoral landscapes, river towns, livestock and wildlife and plein air, or outdoors painting methods.
But more than recreating well and not-so well known scenes across Upper Bucks Luken’s envisions his Main Street Gallery and workspace as a signal of change and cultural revitalization in Quakertown and beyond.
“Upper Bucks County is still Bucks County, but it is really untapped,” Lukens said of more well known artist enclave towns like Doylestown and New Hope. These laid claim to a healthy, vibrant and expensive arts community and market.
And while Lukens is represented by a Doylestown Gallery, he chooses to live and work here. “I want to respect Quakertown by having a gallery here,” Lukens said.
He noted Quakertown as a “confluence” of markets, which include Central Bucks, Philadelphia, Lehigh and Berks counties, all within an hour or less drive, making Upper Bucks an easily accessible day trip.
His refurbished gallery space with a barn red metal roof and updated colonial colors is a corner herald to motorists and pedestrians, announcing “you are in Quakertown. People from all sides (of traffic) can see it,” Lukens said.
Lukens isn’t content only to paint what he sees. Like most artists, he wants to share what he’s discovered because it’s just too much to keep to himself. “I want to make art accessible to everyone,” Lukens said.
He acknowledged fine art often carries an exclusive aura; something he said can create divisions – much like the current political climate across the U.S. - rather than encourage inclusiveness. “This is a place where there isn’t turmoil, where people from both sides [who otherwise disagree], and can come and feel good,” Lukens explained.
Lyn Treffinger from Milford Township has studied with Lukens for the past three years.
She loves taking classes from him because “I learn something every week, and he makes it a lot of fun.”
Not only has Treffinger learned about using oil paints and creating art, she said she sees the world differently, thanks to having studied with Lukens.
“My work has evolved. I have a better understanding of values and color intensity – lights and darks- and it informs how I see the world. Jim is very motivating,” Treffinger said.
Lukens credits McCoole’s owner Jan Hench for being a long-time and steadfast supporter of the arts; for helping him launch the Main Street Gallery, and providing classroom space nearby on the second floor of McCoole’s Arts and Events Place.
Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, or just about any time with advance notice, The Main Street Gallery is located at 1236 West Broad Street, Quakertown (Corner of Main and Broad streets). Free parking is available at McCoole’s Arts and Events Place (next to McCoole’s at the Red Lion Inn) and Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce, 21 N. Main Street. Art is for everyone! For information about classes for all levels, visit the website at www.jimlukensart.com, or call 610.442.4112.
Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce
An economic development agency for Upper Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
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