The ART@EPL outdoor art workshops may be finished, but art will continue on at the library with monthly exhibits by local artists through the rest of the year.

This month, stop by and enjoy beautiful paintings in the children’s wing by Bethlehem artist Rose Mavis.

Recently, we asked Rose to tell us about how she became an artist, and some of the successes and challenges she’s had along the way …

Tell us about your background. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I had a knack for art activities since my elementary school years. I loved to do anything with art — it was my favorite subject in school.

When did you decide to pursue it as a career? Where did you go for your training?
As a practical matter, I decided to pursue ‘commercial art,’ as it was known back before computers. Then I moved on to graphic design and advertising work in the printing and newspaper field for many years.

I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from Kutztown University, and also earned my Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree from Marywood University in Scranton. I’m now enjoying pursuing fine arts/illustration and instructional activities.

What has been your hardest challenge, and how did you overcome it?
I have a severe to profound hearing loss, and it’s been a challenge to hold careers and jobs with this issue. Recently, I had surgery for a cochlear implant, and I am thrilled with the results. I am now a Cochlear volunteer to help others on the same journey.

Artistically, I love it all. I can never settle on one medium. I love to explore and keep myself fresh with new things.

What achievements are you most proud of?
I am very pleased and proud to have been accepted into my first international juried show, Art Ability 2020, held by Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital. It is rewarding to be recognized at the international level. This is a first for me and my career so far.

What’s your advice for anyone who wants to explore art, but can’t seem to find the time or feels intimidated by a blank canvas?
Set yourself some small goals, and work yourself to larger goals one step at a time. Before you know it…all of the small steps lead to reaching a big goal. For example…if painting, start with a small canvas to get the feel of things and your medium of choice. Then when you get that down, grow your size up until you are comfortable with it.

Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
I have been an artist since childhood. I have been very blessed to still be able to enjoy this. I recommend to anyone to maintain your enjoyment of it all, do not be afraid to try new things out. A fresh new medium can also inform your present medium with new ideas and concepts. Explore every chance you get. Become a lifelong learner and always keep yourself open to new ideas.

[You can learn more about Rose Mavis and view more of her work at her website.]


ART@EPL is the library’s exciting partnership with the Lehigh Art Alliance and the Lehigh Valley Arts Council. The series is funded through a grant from PA Partners in the Arts, making it possible for area residents to enjoy free art lectures, exhibits, and workshops from local artists working in pastels, charcoal, sculpture, and watercolor among others.