Proposal: Fill the Willows with Art, Music, Dance and Drama

Artists and teachers John and Christine Kline propose to use the Willows mansion to teach and celebrate the arts.


Radnor Township residents John and Christine Kline have a special place in their hearts for the Willows mansion — it was the site of their wedding reception 18 years ago. They hope that that use of the building can continue, but they are also proposing that they run art, music, dance and drama classes for children there.

In addition to running extra curricular art and music classes out of the Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Bryn Mawr, they teach there; she music, he art. The also just opened a "Kline Creative" studio in Manayunk, where they expand their offerings to dance and drama.

"Like everyone in the area, we have a soft spot for the Willows," Christine told Radnor Patch. The family has gone on picnics there and have spent countless hours with the couple's two sons there. "It's such a wonderful place. I just feel like theres room not only for our program but for developing partnerships with local artists and local businesses."

In addition to the aforementioned programs, the Klines would also offer parent/child programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, she said. The classes would take place during days and after school; private instrumental and voice lessons would take advantage of the smaller rooms upstairs.

"We're also really interested in offer community events, like a community children's theater," Christine said. "There are many artistic programs in the area, but they're all a little bit different. I think there's room for everyone."

She added that in most everything they offer, their stuff is portable — so they could move their props aside for a rental of the building. "We see that space as something that should be used by the people of Radnor," she said. "I think the creative possibilities are endless."


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karin kennedy October 09, 2012 at 11:48 AM
I think this is a great use for the space and still allows for events like weddings and private functions. It's a win win for everyone involved.
Catherine October 09, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Sam, so far, we've been able to read about three proposals for the Willows space. (And, thanks for e-publishing them) Are there others? When will Radnor make its decision and will it permit a small group of community members help in the process?
Sam Strike (Editor) October 09, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Here is the list of submitters that I received from a Radnor Township source. I plan on providing as much as I can on this story. ·         DePallo Design & Planning/100th Street LLC Development Group LLC ·         Open Aire Affairs ·         Perfect Setting Catering ·         Jeffrey Miller Catering & The Lake House Inn ·         Kline Studios ·         Shortt Corporation ·         CF Holloway ·         Rob McManus ·         Cross Street Partners
Donna Sullivan October 09, 2012 at 01:00 PM
I think this is a fantastic idea!!!! Kline studios sounds perfect As I would like to see a local small business use this space!
Jen Buckland October 09, 2012 at 01:11 PM
This sounds like a wonderful idea for Radnor township. There is nothing more important than keeping the Arts and children together!
Barbara White Waterman October 09, 2012 at 01:17 PM
I like the idea of "The Arts " at the Willows. Most importantly, it will still enable weddings and functions. I do not find " The Manor " suggestion at all appealing. It is reminiscent to me ,of years ago driving from Radnor to "The Manor " in West Orange , NJ. Upon arrival, I used the ladies room. To my amazement , there were many bridesmaids in an assortment of dresses. It is then I realized the bride was sharing her day with atleast 3 or 4 weddings going on at the same time. I just can't imagine that scenio at " The Willows !" Please Radnor Township Board of Commissioners make a decision that keeps this beautiful 47 acre tract of land and mansion a park setting . My father was President of the Board in 1973 and worked tenaciously, with the other commissioners to acquire this tract for Radnor Township Residents !!!
Richard Kline October 09, 2012 at 02:42 PM
The arts idea is a good one. It is good for children to learn about the arts,especially in these times when school budgets are being cut. It makes for a well-rounded person. Thumbs up for the arts.
Cynthia spadaro October 09, 2012 at 05:27 PM
What a fantastic idea! Our family moved into the area 2 years ago. We are finding it difficult finding a music and dance program for our 2 children. Our family loves the willows and we go there often. It would be such a great idea to bring the arts into such a beautiful place, where the children can also enjoy the park before and after classes. Please don't tear it down!!
Joe Spadaro October 09, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Creating a multi-use concept that would focus on the arts as well as providing for event space that could showcase local artists and children’s community theater is a great idea for the Willows. Having a comprehensive arts program in such a beautiful and unique setting would be a fantastic asset for all Radnor residents.
Marie October 09, 2012 at 06:07 PM
I would never have thought of such an idea! The Willows would be an amazing setting for the arts, something that some children are no longer exposed to in many of our schools. Children need to discover what they are capable of and develop self confidence through various forms of art. It creates a well rounded child. And what better place than in a calming, relaxing and beautiful environment, the Willows!
Sister Amedeo October 10, 2012 at 06:43 PM
What a beautiful environment for the Arts. let's keep the Willows alive with the youth of our world !!
Dan Webster October 11, 2012 at 03:35 PM
The township is never going to tear the Willows down or convert it from its park-like setting, but the building might fall down if some funding source isn't found to keep up with the very significant capital requirements of the property. I like the Willows, but regardless of how you feel about the arts, I'd be surprised if revenue from this use would make much of a dent in the capital requirements for the Willows. If a funding source isn't found, that means the burden stays on the existing Radnor taxpayers, but remember that we also have $139 million of unfunded liabilities that eventually need to be funded. Sorry to rain on the parade...
Lauren Deets October 11, 2012 at 05:22 PM
I think Kline Studios would be a wonderful addition to the willows. What a wonderful environment to foster the love of music and arts in children and there families. It may not bring in the revenue that is needed to upkeep the building, but it would be bringing in revenue at times that the facility would not be in use. I hope that this idea can be brought to life at the Willows!
Josie October 11, 2012 at 06:58 PM
It would be wonderful to see this lovely old building used to promote the arts by educating our children! Too many school districts are cutting old the arts, it would be refreshing to see the building used this way instead of simply becoming a sometime wedding venue.
Connie Minnich October 16, 2012 at 02:22 AM
What a beautiful way to use such a beautiful building. I think that a program that encourages children and the arts is a program that we can all get behind. This would also be a great way to introduce more people to the Willows which in turn could generate more rental use of the building.
karin kennedy October 16, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Dan, you would be surprised how much money parents pour into these after school activities; especially with entire school districts cutting all music, art education. Besides, they did say that their equipment was portable and would allow for rental on weekends. And like Connie said below, the more people that are exposed to the willows, the more likely they would be to rent the facility as well.


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