NEPA Scene Staff

Meet fellow artists and talk future artistic ‘Aspirations’ at Tamaqua Community Arts Center on June 7

Meet fellow artists and talk future artistic ‘Aspirations’ at Tamaqua Community Arts Center on June 7
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From a press release:

Public art initiative Tamaqua’s Raw Aspirations will be hosting an artist meet and greet in the heart of Tamaqua on Thursday, June 7 from 6 p.m.-9 p.m., starting at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center.

Through a partnership between the Tamaqua Community Arts Center and the Arts Barn Educational Center (3 Berry Rd., Schuylkill Haven), Raw Aspirations seeks to encourage residents to not only think about, but also verbalize and bring to fruition their hopes for the future. To begin the self-guided tour, artists will pick up a map at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center (125 Pine St., Tamaqua) that will direct them to the location of each sculpture, as well as food, music, and other fun experiences along the way. The experience will draw them into not only an admiration for the arts, but also into a world of possibilities.

The walking path is approximately one mile on flat surfaces and will include some reminders from the past two projects, “Dear Tamaqua” and “Tamaqua Has Heart.” Walkers can enjoy interactive displays, art, food, and music, as well as the ability to talk with artists, discuss their inspirations, take pictures, and leave behind aspirations for the future of Tamaqua.

Deborah Cooper, director of the Arts Barn, will bring to Tamaqua five of her artists, all experts in designing and creating large scale sculptures made of raw/natural materials. Artists include Barry Middleton of Pottsville and Joanne Minnick of New Ringgold, who have created “Keystone Common,” a curved, keystone-style mahogany and steel bench with an inlaid copper sun. The piece took over 50 hours to create. Deborah Powell Kramer of Kempton designed “Totems of Tamaqua,” five glass totems of varied heights ranging 4-6 feet tall, all made from donated clear and colored glass containing symbolic spirit animals. Her piece took over 65 hours to complete.

Joanne Minnick and husband Charlie of New Ringgold created “Mary’s Dream,” her second piece designed from stainless steel and copper, depicting children dancing in the sun; their piece took over 90 hours to create. Todd Gladfelter of New Ringgold carved the “Busy Beavers” bench from a 16-foot tree, taking over 40 hours to make, and Mark Golomb of Bloomsburg created the “Wire Willows,” made from twisted aluminum and steel, taking over 30 hours. This tree stands seven feet tall and is adorned with solar lights that glow in the dark and wind chimes. Each of these artists will also include an interactive component to their display, such as handcrafted building blocks, a spirit animal seek and find, totem building and mosaics, wood carving, wire bending, and dancing to wind chimes.

In addition to highlighting the artists who designed and created the five sculptures, other art partners will provide an interactive display. Some of those include Irene Miller with pottery, multimedia art with Amy Mogish, Kim East with mosaics, and Kevin Smith, director of the Wagon Works/Seed House/Stone Hedge Gardens, will offer an open house at the Wagon Works studio (27 Pine St., Tamaqua), as well as showcasing his steel drums and didgeridoo instruments. Other components include saw playing with Stewart Walton and Music Together with Marina Kuchnar. Food truck vendors include the Traveling Curbside Grill, Lion’s Den Catering, Hang Loose Bar & Grill Catering, LaDolce Casa Italian Restaurant, Tamaqua Youth Ministries, the Revive Community Fellowship, and volunteers from the Arts Center.

Raw Aspirations focuses specifically on expanding the dialog of raw thoughts and ideas for the hope of the community. In the past four years since Dear Tamaqua asked these questions, many groups have developed and the community experienced a growth of volunteers taking initiative, drawing attention to a better future. It continues to open new doors and push the envelope of individual and community creativity, dreaming of a better future and the desire to develop one around a healthy community. Whether it is increased local businesses, recreation, tourism, beautification, and safety efforts with neighbors or stronger partnerships and increased resources with surrounding communities, the more it draws attention and encourages others to be part of something, the better the chances that the community will thrive.

To learn more about this project and how to support its efforts, contact Leona at 570-668-1192 or e-mail The Tamaqua Community Arts Center and the Arts Barn Educational Center are nonprofit organizations which provide the local area with a wide variety of offerings in fine and performing arts.

Photo by Kyle Whitley