Downtown business hosts art gallery

Richard Mock’s piece titled “GW” shows former President George Bush signalling a peace sign with a shark swimming in the back of his head.

Hatch Hollow hosted an art gallery on Friday, Nov. 4. The event displayed work by former New York Times editorial cartoonist Richard Mock.
According to the New York Times, Mock was a neo-expressionist painter whose art was inspired by political and social issues relevant to his time that were illustrated in the New York Times newspaper.
Hatch Hollow is an art supply retail storefront and art gallery located in Downtown Meadville on Chestnut Street.
Allegheny College alumna Heather Fish, ’15, is the owner of Hatch Hollow.
Fish was a member of the Bonner Program during her time at Allegheny and spent much time working with Women’s Services. She majored in Environmental Studies while minoring in Community and Justice Studies and Studio Art.
Fish has owned the business for four years.
“I first came across the business as just a coworking space in 2018, we were located in Parkside Commons on North Main Street,” Fish said. “We only relocated to the current storefront and introduced the art element in February this year.”
Fish added that the store hosts a public art gallery every four to six weeks.
The gallery displayed eight of Mock’s pieces that critiqued former President George W. Bush and the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City in 2001.
Adrean Velez, ’21, interpreted the third piece on display, which showed Bush holding up a peace sign
with the top of his head replaced with a shark swimming in water.
“I think this piece is critiquing the righteousness of imperialist nations, because although Bush is signaling peace and prosperity, in the back of his mind he is focused on finding and eliminating a small, easy target similar to a shark in the water swimming with little fish,” Velez said. “This piece really criticizes the ability and reality of powerful countries exploiting smaller, weaker nations in times of vulnerability while posing as helpful and all-knowing.”
Other displays in the gallery showed Mock’s criticism of racism, marginalization, corporate greed, westernization, global politics, harming and environmental issues.
One of the pieces, entitled “Homeland Security,” showed the American flag tied up in thick chains with barbed wire across the white stripes of the flag.
Community Relations Manager and cashier at Hatch Hollow Margaret West, ’19, believes that it is worth bringing topics that are discussed infrequently to a town like Meadville.
“Allegheny College is a big part of Meadville and adds a lot of diversity to the town,” West said. “When topics that aren’t discussed very often are made the reason of community engagement then people are encouraged to add value and present their unique perspectives and understanding.”
Fish added that the politically active and critical theme of the art gallery is especially relevant in the present due to the upcoming midterm elections on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
“I think this exhibition will be a nice way to get the community involved and thinking about their political viewpoints before a very important election in America’s recent history,” Fish said.
West added that events such as the art exhibition hosted by Hatch Hollow may not be everybody’s preference, but are crucial for community building.
“From observing, I can see that many people who should be talking to one another are doing so at this art gallery,” West said. “For example, I just saw (Assistant Professor of Art and Director of Allegheny Art Galleries Paula Burleigh) and (Hatch Hollow Gallery Assistant Claire Klima, ’22) talking and discussing future collaborations between the gallery and the college.”
Fish said that Hatch Hollow has been hosting art exhibitions since its storefront moved to Chestnut Street in February, 2022 but that each event follows a different organizational format and features different artists and styles of art.
“Our first exhibition was an open call miniature art exhibition where around 40 different artists displayed their work,” Fish said. “Everyone submitted pieces that were eight inches or smaller.”
Fish added that multiple Allegheny students were involved in the event including Lauren Schrock, ’23, and President of the Student Art Society Heather Amancio, ’23.
Hatch Hollow also hosted an Allegheny Alumni art exhibition during Alumni Weekend in June.
“12 different Allegheny graduates between 1976 to 2022 participated in the gallery,” Fish said.
Hatch Hollow also frequently collaborates with other small businesses and local organizations.
“We had a women’s themed art show that was coordinated by Women’s Services,” Fish said. We’ve hosted multiple retirement parties and even book club meetings. It’s also common for us to have guest speakers and informational forums for different causes.”
Fish said that Hatch Hollow will be hosting an Allegheny students-only art exhibition shortly.
“Being an Allegheny student helped me make connections and establish myself quickly in town after graduating,” Fish said. “I feel it is important to offer the same opportunities and help that was given to me during my time as a student since it allowed me to own my own business at the age of 24.”