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Jane Runyeon has been entwined in the art world since she was a teenager. Now in her 60s, she’s amassed a sizeable trove of pieces – and experiences.
Runyeon appeared to be following a path in education, receiving a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Cincinnati before teaching painting and drawing at the University of Colorado and Albright College. Then in the mid-1990s, the owner of then-hallowed Joe’s Restaurant in Reading – “we were basically drinking buddies through a bunch of people who loved great food” – asked her to become general manager of his new venture, Bistro 614 in the burgeoning West Reading.
“Before I knew it, I was figuring out lighting and designing their bathroom and totally loving it,” the Wyomissing resident says. “I decided that I was better suited for the business world. And here we are.”
Though she’s an accomplished artist herself, mainly as an abstract painter, Runyeon found a niche as an art advocate, brokering for other artists. Soon after the turn of the millennium, she founded All Together Art, a collective of creatives that collaborate to beautify spaces in the corporate world and to help build private collections. The network includes artists, architects, feng shui experts and lighting designers.
“I manage projects, everything from a large stained-glass window for Reading Hospital to a French cabaret space for musicians and artists to show and sell in,” she says. “I love the camaraderie, putting a vision together and using the best ideas from the group. And I have fun selecting who that might be.”
She’s also a whirling dervish of creativity. What has she been doing recently? Well, what hasn’t she been doing recently?
“I do a fair amount of writing,” she says. “I do most of my own advertising. I’ve always loved astronomy and I’ve always loved stars and I’ve always loved jazz music. About 15 years after I started to collect buttons, I thought ‘Ooh, I’ll make these really big all-button bracelets.’ And during COVID I thought: ‘Hey, I want to make scarves. Hey, I want to make colorful totes.’” And now they are available on my website.
Runyeon’s work has added plenty of color to Berks County, especially in the West Reading/Wyomissing corridor. She designed the stained-glass fronting Bistro 614 – now Mazi – in West Reading and the large stained-glass window at Reading Hospital’s N Building, a work called “The Cycles of Life,” which she cites as one of her favorites. She hopes to exhibit “The New Fragile World,” a series of paintings she produced during COVID, soon.
Though involved with many projects in the area, she also has done notable work beyond the county – and beyond the globe. Her pieces have been displayed at the Empire State Building, and she’s collaborated with the Acadia National Park Night Sky Festival in Maine and the International Space Station. It’s all related, she says, because science and art are two sides of the same coin.
The difference between science and the arts is not that they are different sides of the same coin… or even different parts of the same continuum, but rather, they are manifestations of the same thing.
“I just like the color and the concept that (Jupiter moon) Europa is a big thing of glass ice that they think may well be where we’re going to find life,” she says. “I mean, that’s enough for me to paint for a week.”
Check out the article n Berckcountyliving https://berkscountyliving.com/features/meet-the-makers/
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