Arts & Entertainment in Pennsylvania

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Owner Nancy Nagle stocks a colorful rainbow of knitting supplies in her bright and eccentric gallery, which has become a go-to outlet for the local knitting community. To meet the demand, she constantly stuffs her shelves with new styles of material, ranging from traditional yarns to luxury fibers—banana, recycled silk, and Wookiee fur—to carry-along yarns with sequins, flags, and lash. Nagle’s passion for fiber arts has introduced her to a community of artists who dye and spin some of her more than 20 brands of yarn. She uses the shop as a gallery to display the work of these local artists—including Philadelphia native John Stango—as well as share her own bold collection of woven work such as hats, shawls, and sweaters.

City Paper's A.D. Amorosi describes the two-floor Nangellini as a "doubly colorful" space as "bright and open as a bay window in Sag Harbor." Amorosi admires the gallery's art collection, and between the vibrant space's "faux-tin ceiling" and "matronly rugs," Nancy leads open and privately scheduled classes on knitting, crochet, and lace work. Classes cover all the basic techniques required for newcomers to begin creating their own woven pieces, such as scarves and felt toupees.

832 South St
Philadelphia,
PA
US

Painters, graphic artists, and architects have found the tools of their trade at the one-stop Top Notch Art Centre since 1971. A floor-to-ceiling picture window beckons passersby on Craig Street, where shade trees shelter a block of historic buildings and small businesses, including a rare bookshop and a cobbler for broken dreams. Inside, the staff leads 2-D artists toward the right brush for watercolor or oil from their selection of Winsor Newtons, or printmaking papers from Arches Cover and BFK Rives lines. The store also makes an effort to seek out artisanal brands, such as Gamblin Artists Oils and Mt. Vision Handmade Pastels. Bookbinders can pick up screw posts and glue, and drafters can run their fingers over delicate, smooth vellum and curl them around the curves and angles of nine types of stylus guides. Past the tall, narrow aisles, a framing shop encases completed works of art in glass and caution tape to prepare them for display.

411 S Craig St
Pittsburgh,
PA
US

Claytopia's spacious studio gives children and adults a place to test their creative chops through the medium of clay painting. A wide variety of blank, premade clay bisques offer myriad canvasses upon which the fevered imaginations of patrons may be projected. Bisque prices range from $1 to $50 per piece, and an hourly fee applies ($6 per hour for adults, $4 per hour for children under 13) to cover unlimited use of all paints, glazes, stencils, stamps, and other instruments of artistic creation, including philosophical advice and painting tips from the talented staff. Possible paintable forms include coffee mugs, plates, picture frames, and Disney figurines. All bisques and paints are food, microwave, and dishwasher safe. After painting and glazing their piece of choice, art makers should allow a week for the bisque to be fired in the kiln and laid off from its part-time job before picking up the newly hardened artistic creation.

2503 W 15th St
Erie,
PA
US

With more than one million book titles to choose from, Barnes & Noble stocks one of the retail world's largest selections of bound pages, along with a huge assortment of educational toys and games. Keep sprightly scribes from using walls, furniture, and siblings as writing surfaces with the help of LeapFrog’s Scribble & Write ($24.95 online), or indulge kids’ natural passions for outer space and solid detective work with a LEGO Space Police Smash ’n’ Grab set ($19.95 online).

2751 Papermill Rd
Reading,
PA
US

Donegal Square immerses customers in authentic Celtic accouterments crafted in the British Isles. Customers can bedeck their extremities in custom combinations with stacking rings from Tara’s Diary ($44–$66) or opt for an intricately designed trinity-knot book pendant to adorn their head pedestals in sterling-silver elegance ($54.95). A Celtic family pendant features a choice of 12 birthstones ($44.95), providing a means of conveying familial pride without spray-painting one’s family crest on the most prominent building in town. A collection of kilts woven by a Scottish tartan-weaving company ($79.95-$850) relieve the discomfort of restrictive pants, and capes ($125+) provide conversation pieces during chance encounters with superheroes. An assortment of framed art, crystal, and other decorative elements keep indoor spaces Celtically covered.

534 Main St
Bethlehem,
PA
US

Creation Station encourages decorators to adorn and embellish a diverse selection of pottery in a colorful studio with complimentary paint and no sitting fees. Clay-based artistes may utilize the facilities for as long as they need to decorate pieces ranging from tiles ($8–$10) and mugs ($20–$27) to serving trays ($30–$50) and famous Disney characters ($23–$36), such as Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse, and Annette Funicello. A full spectrum of shades bestows the freedom to personalize bisques before the expert staff of kiln tenders finishes off the masterpiece with free glazing and firing services. Creation Station welcomes customers every day of the week to take a seat on cushy stools at round worktables to transform a commonplace coffee cup into a gilded challis owned by the World's Greatest Inmate.

28 Richboro Newtown Rd
Newtown,
PA
US