This mother’s day will be extra special for Malika Vaughn, as it’s marks a little more than one year since she purchased and opened the Soft Illusions art gallery on Main St. with her mother Diane E. Vaughn, a painter who teaches art for the Philadelphia School District. The younger Vaughn says that being raised by her mother in a single parent household strengthened their relationship as mother and daughter, best friends, and now, business partners. “We always dreamed of opening a gallery,” says the younger Vaughn. “Now, we talk about the business every day. My mom is a true artist and she raised me not to follow but to lead.” Soft Illusions features the paintings of Diane E. Vaughn and other artists. The gallery is hosting an artist reception tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. for its current exhibit “Hidden Treasures,” which also showcases the art of Andrew Little and Michelle Lucas. Malika Vaughn says all are welcome to unwind with free hors d’oeuvres and drinks in the gallery’s soothing ambience.
“My mom’s art work is very serene,” Vaugh says. “We look for other art that is soulful to display and compliment my mother’s work.” Featured arist Andrew Little is a colleague of Diane Vaughn, whose paintings are described by Malika Vaughn as being rich in emotion and feeling. Michelle Lucas, meanwhile, creates art through a combination of painting on processed paper to create a three-dimensional feeling, Vaughn says. Having grown up near Manayunk in East Falls, Malika Vaughn says she’s felt at home since setting up their gallery space with her mother on Main Street, and the neighboring businesses and residents have embraced Soft Illusions too. The 600 square-foot space can also be rented for events. Vaughn says it can accommodate 60 people for parties and 30 people for dinners, with a patio and backyard that visitors enjoy. “It’s a very open space, but intimate too,” Vaughn says. “People tell us it’s relaxing and calming all the time.”