By Meisha Johnson

ABINGTON, Pa. (CBS) — The Abington Art Center in Montgomery County turned a mansion into a refuge for artists both professional and amateur.

Marge Horner, executive director, gave Meisha Johnson a tour of this Philly-focused artists’ haven, starting with the property’s museum.

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“We’re at Alverthorpe Manor in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania,” Marge said. “We’re a wonderful mansion that was built in 1939 by Lessing Rosenwald, who (was) the president of Sears, and Lessing dedicated this building to the arts.”

The spacious rooms are filled with colorful contemporary artwork, most by artists in our region, including some works that can be changed.

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One work, Trending Threads by artist Teresa Shields, lets visitors arrange up to 140 large handmade blocks of letters on a wall.

“She’s done over a hundred letters,” Marge said. “You can arrange them on the board, send messages, take a photo, tweet it” using the hashtag #TrendingThreads.

Outside the museum are 27 acres, including a sculpture garden.

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“We like to take your mind on a journey to think and use your imagination,” Marge said.

If you really want to stretch your imagination, Julia Rix is one of the people to see. Julia is just one of the instructors who teaches classes at the center in techniques ranging from drawing to paper making and beyond.

Meisha stopped by an adult drawing class. “It focuses mostly on still-life setups,” Julia said.

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“She makes it look so easy!” said student Benjamin Moore of Abington.

“I love it,” Julia said, “because as a eight-year-old girl, this is where I went to my first art class, way back in the day.”

“We’re all about art,” Marge said. “We’re about seeing art, we’re about making art. It’s about the combination of both experiences coming together.”

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The Abington Art Center is located at 515 Meetinghouse Rd, Jenkintown, PA 19046. You can find out more about it at