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Lansdowne Arts Board

Posted on: April 23, 2021

Lansdowne Arts Board Member Erica Harney's "Houses of Lansdowne" Series of Paintings


Erica Harney speaks about her inspiration for painting the "Houses of Lansdowne" series:

"I have always enjoyed going for long walks through my neighborhood- no matter where I’ve lived- and my current neighborhood of Lansdowne, PA (on the outskirts of West Philadelphia) is no exception. I'm extremely fortunate to live in a community filled with beautiful old homes, many of which were built between 1890-1940. One day in late March, 2020 during one of my long walks I decided that I wanted to make a few watercolor paintings of some of my favorite homes in the neighborhood, since I suddenly had some free time having been recently furloughed from my gig as a Scenic Artist for HBO. By the time I had finished the first four pieces in the series, I was hooked. I began to consider how the concept of "Home" was suddenly more significant than ever as our homes were quite literally at the centers of our lives. As I walked and observed, I would wonder who lived in each house and imagine what was happening inside. How many of these homes were currently serving as schools, offices, yoga studios, sanctuaries or prisons? How has being home affected our relationship with our personal space?  How have our physical homes evolved over time while simultaneously aging and updating? In so many ways, our homes are like organisms themselves, complete with their own personalities, charms, eccentricities and secrets. These paintings serve both as portraits of a place and the backdrop of my experiences navigating a strange new era.

Exactly a year later, this project has both broadened and deepened. So far, I have painted over 120 different homes and businesses in and around Lansdowne, PA, including several commissioned works. I am actively incorporating paintings of homes all year-round, not just during the most picturesque months. My “Houses of Lansdowne” series has sparked sincere interest and community engagement as well as a growing dialogue. There are plans to work with historians to archive this project as sort of a documentary of a very specific place in a very specific time. I am collecting testimonials and stories from past and current Lansdowne residents and learning a tremendous amount about the history of my community. In addition to the physical paintings there is now an interactive map and plans for a book of images and accompanying essays and interviews with residents and business-owners. Meanwhile, what started out as a desire to paint a few of my favorite homes has escalated into an obsession as I plan to paint *at least* one home on every residential block in Lansdowne for a more representative view of the community. " 

-Erica Harney 2021.03.31

This is part of the Lansdowne Scenes show, which ties Erica's series to the Lansdowne Arts Board. The Lansdowne Arts Board is still accepting applications for this ongoing series which can be found at our website
Every Friday on our social media pages you can find a new scene of Lansdowne from an artist.

Self-guided walking tour:
To view and purchase paintings in the series visit:

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