NEPA Scene Staff

Scranton Iron Furnaces host Fire at the Furnace Week activities May 28-June 2

Scranton Iron Furnaces host Fire at the Furnace Week activities May 28-June 2
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From a press release:

In celebration of the eighth annual International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art coming to Scranton in May, a series of events designed to spark interest in the region’s industrial past will be held at the Scranton Iron Furnaces and venues throughout the city.

Members of the community are invited to Fire at the Furnace Week, starting Monday, May 28 and running through Saturday, June 2. Volunteers have planned a full week of special activities, including 20 exhibits featuring the work of 300 artists. Highlights include the Ferrous Flyer train, a special excursion from Scranton to the Poconos hosted by the Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society; narrated and theatrical iron pours; a progressive tour of exhibit openings; the grand opening of Confluence Sculpture Park on the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail; First Friday exhibits and blacksmithing demonstrations; and a public wedding of cast iron artists at the Scranton Iron Furnaces (159 Cedar Ave., Scranton). All Fire at the Furnace events are open to the public, and there is no admission fee for most activities.

This programming is made possible through the support of sponsors and partners, including a grant from the Willary Foundation, the Lackawanna County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Keystone Iron Works, the International Sculpture Center, and the Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society.

Featuring a “Post Industrial Iron” theme, the International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art will honor and celebrate the work of professional cast iron artists, scholars, and students from around the world. Hundreds of cast iron artists will participate in exhibitions, iron pours, demonstrations, lectures, and workshops. It is a great honor for Scranton to serve as the host city for this international program, as the selection process was quite competitive with well-established arts communities from across the country, including Boston, Massachusetts, and Bethlehem, all vying for this opportunity.

Iron casting made its debut in the academic environment in the early 1960s, inaugurated by Julius Schmidt, who was teaching at the Cranbrook Academy of Arts in Detroit. He began searching local commercial foundries for technical support and, through cooperation with the industry, he learned how to build and operate a furnace suitable for the needs of a sculptor. The idea behind the conference was conceived by Professors Wayne Potratz, University of Minnesota; Thom Gipe, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville; Cliff Prokop, Keystone College in La Plume, Pennsylvania; Meredith (Butch) Jack, Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas; and Jim Schwarz, Southwest State University in Marshall, Minnesota at the University of Minnesota’s Annual Iron Pour, which has been running for over 40 years now. Since its founding, the ICCCIA has taken place every four years.

For more information about the conference and details on Fire at the Furnace Week, visit or the Facebook page.

See NEPA Scene’s photos from the sixth annual Fire at the Furnace at the Scranton Iron Furnaces here.

Photo by Alex Seeley Photography