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Art & Artisans Trail of ANF Region

March brings a sense of renewal & inspiration to McKean County, PA
In the forest there is a real sense of discovery - a sense of renewal and inspiration. Take a journey to discover the art, artisans and artisan shops in the Allegheny National Forest Region of northwestern Pennsylvania.
The new Art Center and School on 54 Boylston Street in Bradford is now open and offering fine art classes and workshops to the public. Meet the instructors: Samila Sosic, an Adjunct  Professor at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford who specializes in rural landscapes.  Adriana Hernandez is an experienced portrait artist. Both instructors are professional Master of Fine Arts (MFA) artists trained in traditional and contemporary techniques.
They both believe everyone has creative potential and they are ready to help you reach your artistic goals. As Samila Sosic explains, “our vision is to create a space to strengthen the social awareness of the visual arts, teaching students from age 6 to adults. I love Pennsylvania’s landscape. Wherever I look, I see countless shades of green. This land is a lifetime supply of inspiration for any artist who enjoys this subject.”
As a portrait artist, Adriana Hernandez strives to create a painting that meets the aesthetic and compositional needs of the work. “I also seek a realistic and honest representation of my subject which captures and reinforces the personality of the client,” she explains. “The outcome is a painting that I feel proud of, and most important, a portrait that my client will cherish for a lifetime. Portrait commissions are all unique - the size, background detail, and the amount of additional content are all factors taken into consideration in the quotation of a commission work.“
Painting and drawing classes offered will be customized to the age and interest of the participants. Classes will range from a refresher course in the basics to classes designed to help a newcomer who has never picked up a pencil before to try drawing. Past classes have included: basic drawing, introduction to painting, head drawing which covered the basics of drawing a human face, to student painting which helps students develop a more personal approach to drawing and painting styles.
A previous art class student, Diane Null, describes their style: “Samila is very much a hands-on instructor and enjoys sharing her enthusiasm and passion for art with her students. At Pitt-Bradford, she is very approachable and offers each student individual attention in helping them explore their creativity. In private art classes, Adriana and Samila present challenging opportunities to draw and paint set-ups by demonstrating how to break down the process. Both women are extremely talented, friendly, and more than willing to share their craft with students.”
Students can enjoy classes in drawing, figure & portrait, acrylic and oil painting. Classes are designed for all age groups and levels. New classes start every two weeks.
The Arts Center and School, located within the Bradford National Historic District, has convenient parking and is available to host private events and art parties, as well as different media workshops. In the future gallery exhibitions will be showcased and other local artisans will be able to rent studio space.
Not sure where to begin? Give them a call at 814-558-5051 for more information or e-mail samila.and.adriana@gmail.com
The new Art & Artisans Trail in the Forest highlights events, artisan shops, art lessons, and a fun photography class held in the Forest - the Allegheny National Forest Photo Trek. Using the map you can plan an outing with friends to visit a variety of shops featuring handcrafted and handmade items, schedule an art class, or attend an art show.
In Eldred, the Olde Schoohouse Village Shoppe, 109 Indian Creek Road, includes a wide variety of handcrafted and repurposed items including furniture and artwork for the home, and scarves and jewelry for you!
In Smethport, Compton’s Mom & Pop Shop, 217 West Main Street, offers Amish handcrafted hickory tables, chairs and rockers along with wooden toys, knitted scarves, pottery, jewelry and kitchenware.  A wooden spaghetti measure is a great accessory for any kitchen. The shelves are also stocked with old-fashioned candy and sodas. Compton’s is open Monday-Friday 10am-6pm and Saturday 9am-3pm.
In Kane, Laughing Owl Press, 27 Fraley Street, stocks their own hand printed products along with items from their print making friends. Their choice of letterhead printed stationery and prints, notebooks, tablets and journals, and screen-printed textiles and prints will make the paper lover swoon. They also carry handcrafted artwork from several incredibly talented PA Wilds Artisans. The shop is open Monday-Friday 10am-5:30pm and Saturday 10am-2pm.
In Custer City, Unique & Rustic Designs, 22 West Warren Road, offers wooden décor items that can be custom decorated for weddings, anniversaries, graduations or any special occasion. Repurposed furniture and one-of-a-kind items are also available. Their hours are Monday-Friday 7am-5pm and Saturday-Sunday 8am-2pm.
In Bradford, the Main Street Mercantile features a selection of fine art along with rustic hand-crafted items as well as an impressive display of books and photography by local authors and photographers. Open seven days a week, call to check seasonal hours at 814-368-2206.
At the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau Welcome Center you will find a small artisan gift shop featuring photography by Ed Bernik, books on the Allegheny National Forest and the Kinzua Bridge State Park along with nature photography note cards and paintings by Connie Bahan of Funnelhead Studio. Connie’s art has a whimsical approach of art on wood and canvas.
Also in Bradford, a series of enrichment and recreation classes are offered by the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. Upcoming artistic enrichment classes include Ukrainian Egg Decorating and the Allegheny National Forest Photo Trek. Bring a friend to add to the fun! To schedule your course, please call 800-872-1787 or e-mail contined@pitt.edu.
Thursdays, March 5-19
The tradition of decorating eggs using wax and colorful dyes will be taught in a hands-on experience exploring traditional as well as more modern techniques and designs. Pysanka make beautiful keepsakes or gifts. All materials will be provided.  Classes will be held from 6-8pm in the first floor art room, Seneca Building, 2 Main Street, Bradford, PA.
May 16-17
If you have ever wanted to capture the beauty of nature on film, sign up now for the two-day Allegheny National Forest Photo Trek which will be held at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.  Both amateur and “hobby” photographers will enjoy traveling into the forest with award-winning photographer Ed Bernik to learn the details of exposure and composition, along with the practical skills of how to choose a lens and use a flash. Class begins at 8am on Saturday morning to catch the best light, and ends Sunday at 6pm. Class instruction, two breakfasts, two lunches, and two dinners are included in the fee of $239. A variety of accommodations are available.  You may stay on campus, or at a local hotel or B&B.
Two artisan “happenings” you’ll want to plan ahead for are “Illustrations: A Celebration of Families & the Arts, a day-long event of educational activities and performances for children and families on May 16 in Bradford, PA; and Art in the Wilds June 28-29, a juried fine arts show held in Evergreen Park, Kane, PA.
The Allegheny National Forest Region offers a full range of fun activities along with the Art & Artisan Trail. Over 600+ miles of multi-use, four-season trails are available for hiking, biking, ATV and snowmobiling.  A wide variety of “Cool Places to Stay” include something for every taste and budget. You can view the full list of upcoming events, accommodations, attractions, museums, shopping and restaurants at visitANF.com. For a FREE Visitors Guide & Map please call 800-473-9370 or e-mail info@visitANF.com.