The last First Friday Scranton of this year was recently held on December 2, 2011. It was an extremely festive event in which almost forty venues participated. Those in attendance witnessed a celebratory explosion of art that catered to both young children and refined adult tastes. Of course if you happened to miss any of the shows or events check http://firstfridayscranton.com/first-friday-scranton-map/ and be sure to stop in.
The festivities began with Lackawanna’s annual tree lighting ceremony held at Courthouse Square. A larger crowd gathered there to initiate the Christmas season. In addition, Main Street Scranton, a project of Scranton Tomorrow announced the recipients of the annual Downtown Holiday Decorating Showcase Awards. The awards recognized the efforts by downtown businesses to create a festive atmosphere by decorating for the holiday shopping season; just one more reason to venture out into downtown Scranton. Slightly further up Lackawanna Ave., the Lackawanna County Children’s Library hosted a story book hour accompanied with hot chocolate to warm the yuletide spirits. A healthy crowd listened to “The Polar Express” while enjoying a Nay Aug Park Mural by Liz Kluesner. Just like the days of ‘yore.
The celebration of giving and its expression in the arts was located in other venues as well. New Visions Studio & Gallery held its holiday art sale and offered many opportunities to share art as a gift. There was and still is a fine selection of modestly priced paintings and photographs that inspired the viewer. As a cathartic lens, two other venues also encouraged visitors to look inward. At City Lights the Marywood University Art Therapy Association presented mixed media that explored the psychology of art in practice, while Starbucks hosted an exhibition of drawings by children from Marley’s Mission. The children here moved past practice and used art as a conduit and were accompanied by an energetic “flash mob” that caught most by surprise when they started dancing in the middle of Steamtown Mall.
The Member’s Show at AFA Gallery showcased a variety of local artistic achievements highlighted by jewelry artist Paul Nielsen winning the Youshock Award, which is presented annually to a member of the AFA Gallery. The artists represented the variety of expressive elements the arts hold dear ranging from painterly abstractions and representational pieces to three-dimensional works that focused on form. The assemblage of a group of artists was also represented across the street at Artworks where their talented Wednesday night painters revealed a glimpse into the process of painting through the many colorful watercolor, acrylic, and mixed media works.
Identifying yourself within the created work was a key focal point for Thomas Wise’s exhibition at Laura Craig Gallery. The thrust of his watercolors was bent on a realism that captured the relationship he had with his objects. As a realist he focused on his love for the objects he depicted, through skillful rendering and richly painted surfaces.
Whether it was a celebration of festive proportions or indulging in minute retrospection First Friday Scranton December 2011 held our attention and hopes to do the same as we head towards a new year. Until then make sure you stay in the know by visiting us on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for a great year!!!!
– Jeff Boris, Executive Director
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