Bucks County Herald

Commissioners name Alan Fetterman first Bucks County Artist in Residence


Alan Fetterman stands with the resolution naming him Bucks County Artist in Residence inside the county courthouse in Doylestown. Behind him is his sculpture, “Strength of Liberty,” made of stainless steel, brass, glass and gold, purchased by and donated to the county by the Geoffrey Jackson Family.

Alan Fetterman had graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in philosophy and was operating machinery for a living the first and only time he first visited the Louvre in Paris.

“When I walked out,” he said, “I dedicated myself to the arts.” That dedication to pursuing art full time has never wavered, and the self-taught artist who said he always had the ability to create has become one of the most well-known in Bucks County.

Fetterman was honored by the county in late March, when the Bucks County Commissioners named him as the first Bucks County Artist in Residence.

“In doing so, we commend Alan Fetterman for his many contributions to our community, specifically within the area of art, culture and humanities,” reads the March 21 resolution recognizing the Doylestown resident as the county’s artist in residence.

As the county’s artist in residence, Fetterman will assist with art and culture education and promotion, as well as working to foster and support excellence, diversity and vitality within the field, according to the resolution.

“Alan has been a huge asset in the fields of arts and humanities for Bucks County, and has worked really closely with the commissioners on a number of projects that they’ve had countywide,” said Deanna Giorno, chief clerk of Bucks County. “They really see him as the point person for advancement of those fields within the county.”

An Air Force National Guard veteran, he is owner of Alan Fetterman Fine Arts, where he is a creator, painter, sculptor and writer of the fine arts. He was recognized with the Philadelphia Sketch Club Medal of Honor, the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award and the Rotary Way Award in the Arts, all in 2017, and the Bucks County Community College President’s Award in 2016, among others.

“It’s something that will grow the county and grow the arts,” Fetterman said of the four-year, nonpaid position. “It’s simply an honor for me.”

Fetterman said the idea for a county artist in residence grew out of conversations he and the commissioners had about taking the Bucks County Plein Air Arts Festival to the next level. Fetterman is a co-founder and board member of the three-year-old festival, held annually at Bucks County Community College, showcasing 30 artists from across the country.

He said Commissioner Charley Martin came up with the idea of Fetterman helping to curate the county’s art collection, in storage at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, and that developed into the idea of a county artist in residence.

Giorno said the goal is to have the pieces put on display in various county offices, rather than having them sitting in an archive. She said Fetterman would be part of a team that includes Michener employees.

According to the Michener, there are 85 county-owned paintings – mostly Pennsylvania Impressionist style – in the museum’s archives.

Louise Feder, interim chief curator/assistant curator at the Michener, said the museum is happy to work with the county, and with Fetterman, to ensure the artwork will be showcased in public spaces in Doylestown.

The position will evolve as needed, Fetterman said.

The artist in residence “essentially helps nurture and support the arts and culture in Bucks County and the region,” Fetterman said. The artist is someone who survives exclusively as an artist for 15 or more years; has lived in Bucks County for 15-plus years; and has led and volunteered for nonprofits for 15-plus years, he said.

“The hope is that by creating a position of artist in residence we can form a group and every four years find an artist in residence that will help the arts in the county, acting as a liaison to local government, the county, art leagues, the artists and the galleries,” Fetterman said. He added that he hopes to work with the Bucks County Arts and Cultural Council.

“My hopes are to support and elevate the culture and fine arts as the foundational pillar of society that it is,” he said.

“We want to promote the arts and help the county be recognized as the mecca that it is.”



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