Showcasing the arts
Annual 3- day festival set for next weekend
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.
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.
Harpist Chelsea Smarr, Frackville, entertained crowds along Market Street in Pottsville during last year’s event.