Berks County’s Legendary Healer Honored with Exhibition of Art and Artifacts
KUTZTOWN, Pa. – A new cultural exhibition entitled “Mountain Mary: Contemporary Visions of the Sainted Healer” explores the life and legend of Mountain Mary, Anna Maria Young (1744-1819), immigrant pioneer, farmer and sainted healer of the Oley Valley. The exhibition opens 4-7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 16, at the newly-opened DeLight E. Breidegam Building, Headquarters of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University.
Featuring new works by contemporary artists and historic artifacts from the Oley Valley, the exhibition presents Mountain Mary’s colorful and often contradictory legend, which continues to embody the traditions and positive values sustaining the region’s folk culture.
For generations, Mountain Mary has inspired pilgrimages and spiritual reflection among the people of the region who continue to retell her legend, sing ballads of her heroism and portray her at cultural festivals. From her humble beginning as a young German-speaking immigrant from war-torn Europe, to her journey of 30 years living in the wilderness as a revered hermit, Mary rose to the level of a folk hero among the Pennsylvania Dutch for her legacy of healing, generosity and kindness. Establishing herself as a skilled healer, productive farmer and leader in her community, Mountain Mary’s story is a quintessential American pioneer narrative of virtue, cooperation and humility in the face of war, illness and adversity.
The exhibition features local artists working in a variety of forms and media, including Ben Rader, Henry. W. Sharadin, Stacy A. Luyben, Leroy Genzler, Paul Wieand, Gladys Lutz, Jourdain Kinnander, Rachel Yoder, Patrick J. Donmoyer, Marshall D. Rumbaugh, Tammy Zettlemoyer, Joshua R. Brown and Schon Wanner. An exhibition catalogue will be available for purchase, exploring Mary’s legend through these works of art.
Visitors can explore the exhibition during regular gallery hours 10 a.m. to noon, and 1-4 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the Breidegam Building, 15155 Kutztown Road, Kutztown, PA, 19530. For more information, visit www.pagerman.org/mtmary/, follow PGCHC on Facebook, call 610-683-1589 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.