NEPA Scene Staff

Fire at the Furnace Week in Scranton features 300 artists, 20 exhibits, and 14 hot iron events May 28-June 2

Fire at the Furnace Week in Scranton features 300 artists, 20 exhibits, and 14 hot iron events May 28-June 2
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

From a press release:

300 artists, 20 exhibits, and 14 iron pours and theatrical performances will be packed into one week of industrial arts fun in Scranton.

People of all ages are invited to celebrate the unofficial start to summer and Scranton’s industrial past at Fire at the Furnace Week, starting on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28 and running through Saturday, June 2. In conjunction with the eighth annual International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art, exhibit openings, iron pours, and theatrical performances will be held at the Scranton Iron Furnaces (159 Cedar Ave., Scranton) and venues throughout the city. There is no admission fee to most events.

Thursday, May 31 highlights:

12:30 p.m.-2 p.m.: Confluence: Art on the Trail opening reception, an exhibit featuring nine large-scale iron sculptures installed along the downtown Scranton Riverwalk.

4 p.m.-8 p.m., progressive tour of exhibition openings: In keeping with a post-industrial arts theme, the tour features multiple juried exhibits with an eclectic mix of photographs, sculpture, and mixed media pieces. The itinerary includes:

4 p.m.-4:45 p.m.: Data Dreams and Improbable Objects, a Mary Bates Neubauer solo exhibition at the Linder Gallery at Keystone College (1 College Rd., La Plume)

5:15 p.m.-6 p.m.: New Frontiers at the Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science, and Art (1901 Mulberry St., Scranton)

6 p.m.-7 p.m.: Intent: A Tool Show at the Suraci Gallery at Marywood University (2300 Adams Ave., Scranton)

6 p.m.-7 p.m.: Transformed: Digital to Corporeal at the Kresge Gallery at Marywood University

6 p.m.-7 p.m.: Ferrous Wheel, a ICCCIA Steering Committee exhibition at the Mahady Gallery at Marywood University

6 p.m.-7 p.m.: Partners in Process, selections from the Maslow Gallery, at Marywood University

7 p.m.-8 p.m.: Liquid Earth at the Hope Horn Gallery at the University of Scranton (301 Jefferson Ave., Scranton)

Friday, June 1 highlights:

6 p.m.-9 p.m., First Friday Scranton: The celebration of post-industrial-themed art continues in venues throughout the downtown Scranton. Be sure to explore Burst Mode: Photography and Iron, AfA Gallery (514 Lackawanna Ave., second floor); That’s What She Said, AfA Gallery (514 Lackawanna Ave., first floor); Traces of Beauty: Mark Making with Iron, Marquis Art & Frame (515 Center St.); The Days of Ore, Camerawork Gallery (lower level of the Casey Laundry building, 515 Center St.); and Behind the Conference (518 Lackawanna Ave.).

8 p.m.-10 p.m., multiple iron pours and performances at the Scranton Iron Furnaces: Enjoy the Manhattan Iron Project’s fiery demonstration with live music and a homemade, hybrid cupola furnace; the Message Furnace, an interactive performance in which members of the audience place notes inside the furnace and watch them go up in flames; the Welsh Dragon iron pour, a theatrical demonstration featuring the Welsh Red Dragon and the iconic light bulb in the Electric City sign atop the Scranton Electric Building on Linden Street; and much more.

Saturday, June 2 highlights:

10 a.m.-10 p.m.: Fire at the Furnace Week concludes with a full schedule of activities at the Scranton Iron Furnaces. Here are some of the activities scheduled:

All day, Ring of Fire: Steamtown National Historic Site presents a fiery demonstration of the method used to replace locomotive wheels using flame.

10 a.m.-1 p.m., iron tiles: Guests design their own iron tiles in the morning, and artists will create their castings in the furnaces on site. Tiles will be ready for pickup at after 5 p.m. Cost: $5 donation.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Blacksmithing demonstration

6 p.m.-8 p.m.: Family-style barbecue with Barry’s B3Q Smokehouse. Cost: $20 per person, tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite.

8 p.m.-10 p.m., Iron Wedding and multiple iron performances: Be a guest at the Molten Iron Wedding of artists Nicole Bovasso and Nik James and enjoy several unique iron performances, such as Shelter Belt: Building a Forest of Burned-out Cast Iron Trees, in which artists create iron casting molds from naturally hollowed logs, and Phen Wheel VI: Human Powered Centrifugal Cast, where artists pour iron on a moving wheel powered by a stationary bicycle to create a thrilling circle of sparks.

This programming is made possible through the support of sponsors and partners, including a generous grant from the Willary Foundation, the Lackawanna County Convention and 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 and a complete schedule, 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