Showcasing the arts

An­nual 3- day fes­ti­val set for next week­end

The Republican Herald - This Weekend - - Front Page - BY DANIEL P. PROSICK COPY EDI­TOR

A three- day fes­ti­val cel­e­brat­ing art on­medi­ums for ev­ery sense will grace the city and its busi­nesses in an ef­fort to drumup pa­tron­age and give lo­cal artists a chance to dis­play their­work next week­end.

The 2018 Block of Artwill be heldApril 27- 29 in Pottsville’s per­pet­u­ally re­vi­tal­iz­ing down­town, ac­cord­ing to Kay Jones, chair­woman of the Block of Art Com­mit­tee, which is a strate­gic part­ner­ship with Schuylkill County’sVISION, where she is pro­gram di­rec­tor. Ev­ery­thing is free and open to the public.

The Block of Art, which be­gan as a few artists’ idea to help lo­cal artists while driv­ing busi­nesses down­town, is “an op­por­tu­nity to come to down­town Pottsville and re­ally just en­joy it,” she said. “Even just the ar­chi­tec­ture down­town is art. It’s a beau­ti­ful city, a city that’s on the verge of this­won­der­ful re­vi­tal­iza­tion. Artists al­ways have been a big part of and will con­tinue to be a big part of it. And you get to meet a lot of peo­ple.

“It’s a very re­lax­ing, fam­ily- ori­ented, free event cel­e­brat­ing spring and cel­e­brat­ing Pottsville.”

The­week­end kicks off with “one big party” at 6 p. m. April 27 at the for­mer Porter­house restau­rant at The Ra­mada. There, Mayor James T. Mul­downey, county Com­mis­sioner Gary Hess and state Rep. Mike Tobash, R- 125, Pottsville, will greet the crowd. Then, mu­sic by The Moon­lighters in the big- band swing style will ring out. Dancing is en­cour­aged. At some point in the night, Artists in Mo­tion, Schuylkill Haven, will also per­forma piece, Jones said.

OnApril 28, the fes­tiv­i­ties will ex­pand fromone build­ing to the en­tirety of down­townPottsville from10 a. m. to 4 p. m. Mu­sic per­formed on the side­walk will ser­e­nade pedes­tri­ans­mov­ing fromshop to shop en­joy­ing dif­fer­ent forms of art in busi­nesses and win­dows.

“Therewill be art stops down­town, in­clud­ing City Hall,” Jones said, adding that Sage Cof­fee­house, Peter Nein’s gallery, Mud& Maker, Wheel, Crim­son House, Ma­maMil­lie’s, The Grey­stone, Some­thing Sweet, Bake ShopVI and oth­ers will be tak­ing part dis­play­ing magna opera.

Aside fromthe free­dom of wan­der­ing, city­go­ers can also visit two guided tours, one of which will trans­port them fromthe re­al­ity of Pottsville to the fic­tion­al­ity of Gibb­sville, cre­ated fromthe mind of one of the county’s most noted au­thors. At 10: 30 a. m. Satur­day, Gina Gargano, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Schuylkill Coun­tyVisi­tors Bureau, will host the John O’HaraTour of Pottsville. It will start at the vis­i­tors cen­ter, 1 Pro­gressAve., and­move along a route that served as set­tings in some of O’Hara’s writ­ing.

In the af­ter­noon, five down­town churches— Trin­ity Epis­co­pal, Trin­ity Lutheran, First United Methodist, United Pres­by­te­rian and St. Pa­trick Ro­man Catholic— will be open for two hours for vis­i­tors to take in the stained- glass win­dows.

“We have some of the most beau­ti­ful church win­dows you will ever see. When coal was king, a lot of the fam­i­lies put these church win­dows in. The Pres­by­te­rian church

has these mas­sive Tif­fany­win­dows, whichare amaz­ing, and a lot of peo­ple never see them,” Jones said. “Some of the best artwe have in the county are those church win­dows.”

And for all the sight- see­ing for adults, there is some­thing for the kids, too.

The Pottsville Free Public Li­brary is host­ing some­thing their­mom­mymight do— a paint ’ n’ sip. Ex­cept this time, the ta­bles are turned for a sippy cup ’ n’ paint. Achil­dren’s scav­enger hunt will also be held, where kids will have to go to stops along the way, and look for let­ters tomake up the awarded words. When aword is com­pleted, the child’s name is en­tered into a draw­ing for gift cards to down­town busi­nesses.

“M& T Bank spon­sors the chil­dren’s place at The Ra­mada, where kids can come and do a lot of art projects and an author will be there,” Jones said.“We in­volve chil­dren in the arts as much aswe can.”

An “Art Mart” will also be set up there for any­onewhow­ishes to pur­chase art.

The Block of Artwill cul­mi­nateApril 29, with a Brunch with theArtists.

“It’s kind of a foodie’s day. The Grey­stone does a brunch and The Maid’sQuar­ters does a chil­dren’s day” and serves tea, Jones said.

In or­der to pad their cof­fers, Ma­jes­tic The­ater and Block of Art will be do­ing an art auc­tionMay 11 at the Ma­jes­tic to help sup­port the an­nual event. Block of Art re­ceives fund­ing through a grant from the Penn­syl­va­nia Coun­cil on theArts.

“There’s been a lot of re­ally solid, ex­cel­lent growth in the arts in the county in the last num­ber of years, and it con­tin­ues,” Jones said. “Art’s been one of the ma­jor driv­ers eco­nom­i­cally,” in com­mu­ni­ties seek­ing to drive cap­i­tal into com­mer­cial cen­ters, she added, and thanks all the spon­sors, busi­nesses, part­ners and vol­un­teer­swho help make the event pos­si­ble ev­ery year.

DAVID MCKE­OWN / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Scar­let Cor­co­ran, left, and Henry Cor­co­ran, Pottsville, play with oobleck, a sticky, runny slime from Dr. Seuss’ book “Bartholomew and the Oobleck,” at The Arts Barn stand in The Ra­mada in Pottsville dur­ing last year’s Block of Art. This year’s fes­ti­val will be held April 27- 29 in down­town Pottsville.

DAVID MCKE­OWN / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Harpist Chelsea Smarr, Frackville, en­ter­tained crowds along Mar­ket Street in Pottsville dur­ing last year’s event.

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