Rich Howells

After moving from Wilkes-Barre to Scranton last year, Arts Seen Gallery closing on May 27

After moving from Wilkes-Barre to Scranton last year, Arts Seen Gallery closing on May 27
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In April of 2015, the Arts Seen Gallery was forced to move from its location on Public Square in downtown Wilkes-Barre to make way for a market and café. It reopened in the 500 block of Lackawanna Avenue in downtown Scranton just two months later on June 5 as the Arts Seen Gallery Co-op & Café, adding coffee, sandwiches, salads, pastries, and other treats along with local artwork and live entertainment.

Unfortunately, after its five years in Wilkes-Barre and barely one in Scranton, the artist-run collective has announced that it is closing next Friday, May 27 and is running a sale on artwork until then.

“We want to thank all of our friends for the support you have given us this past year and want you to know that we will miss you. Please stop by to say goodbye, and remember to take our artists’ business cards so you can stay in touch,” general manager Kim Kulagina wrote on the gallery’s Facebook page.

Arts Seen will be open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. until May 27. The café is also selling all of its equipment, so restaurants and other businesses can contact Kulagina at 570-604-2543 if they are interested in purchasing any of it.

Run by Kulagina and café manager Tamara Pilger, the 2,200-square-foot gallery could house up to 30 artists at a time and charged them a modest rent of $50 per month to display their work in a 50-square-foot space, taking 10 percent commission from sales to cover the building’s rent, according to a press release from its grand opening last year.

As a nonprofit cooperative corporation with 25 members, Arts Seen worked hand in hand with artists and hoped to cover remaining costs with the café portion of the venue.

“We felt that adding the café would increase foot traffic for the artists to help in getting their names out there and also be an aid in hosting events where we can serve food and drinks and get to know people in the community better. What a better way to meet an artist whose work you’re interested in than to sit and have a coffee with them? We noticed in Wilkes-Barre that the customers really enjoy speaking to the artists on duty and will generally buy one of their pieces after meeting them,” the release explained.

The gallery’s popular monthly Be Seen Open Mic, held during every First Friday Scranton art walk, will become the Anthracite Open Mic and move to The Wonderstone Galley (100 N. Blakely St., Dunmore) starting on Saturday, June 25 at 6 p.m. Sign-ups are at 5:30 p.m., and there are 12 spots available. For more information, see the Facebook event page.