NEPA Scene Staff

New Lackawanna Arts Fest offers interactive activities on Courthouse Square in Scranton on Aug. 4

New Lackawanna Arts Fest offers interactive activities on Courthouse Square in Scranton on Aug. 4
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From a press release:

With the rebranding of the former Arts on the Square to the Lackawanna Arts Festival, Lackawanna County is expanding its community reach and focusing on attracting new and different groups to the event, in addition to promoting the county as a cultural tourist destination by bringing the Lackawanna Arts Festival, First Friday art walk, and the annual Scranton Jazz Festival together this year to form the new Lackawanna Arts Weekend on Friday, Aug. 3 through Sunday, Aug. 5.

The successful arts festival, developed from a partnership with ScrantonMade, a public relations and event planning firm for artists and artisan vendors, is now in its sixth year and continues to grow with over 150 vendors, live music, food, and interactive art for all ages on Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton on Saturday, Aug. 4.

New items planned for this year include sponsoring a “Transformation Butterfly Installation” project and activity tent. The transformation project was developed through the ARTS Engage! Task Force, a group spearheaded by the Lackawanna County Arts and Culture Department that brings together county departments and community groups to create programming that utilizes the arts for social change. It originated from a discussion on the growing opioid crisis and how the arts can play a role in healing the community. A “transformation” tent would promote the positive, life-changing aspects of recovery and reduce the stigma of addiction.

A butterfly origami activity will be led by Verve Vertu Art Studio, an arts apprentice studio from Dallas, Pennsylvania. It specializes in working with persons who face emotional, physical, and intellectual challenges. Assistance for the exhibit will be offered by women from Clem-Mar House, a longterm recovery home in Luzerne County.

The ARTS Engage! Task Force decided to expand the idea of transformation to include the community at large as a way to collect and tell stories of personal and community change. Verve Vertu, in partnership with Moscow Clayworks, created 700 ceramic butterflies that will hang in the trees around the Lackawanna County Courthouse. Some of the butterflies were painted by veterans from the St. Francis Transitional Center and members of the West Side Senior Center, Abington Senior Center, Mid-Valley Senior Center, the Jewish Community Center, and the Dunmore Senior Center. Lackawanna County’s Area Agency on Aging is sponsoring a free van ride to senior centers for older adults to participate in the arts festival and see the butterfly installation. People are invited to take a butterfly home and to post a photo or tell a story on social media about their own thoughts and experiences with transformation, using the hashtags #nepatransform and #artsengage. The transformation project will continue throughout the end of the year with community projects and storytelling.

In the spirit of community transformation, refugee artists were invited to participate in the Global Tastes venture. A partnership with the University of Scranton, Lackawanna College, Catholic Social Services, and Terra Preta Prime, Global Tastes was a public event showcasing the food and culture of the area’s refugees over the past three years. This year, two Syrian refugees responded to participate in the festival – Samir Adbdo, an oil painter and former art teacher from Syria, and Bashar Attar, also from Syria, who works as a copper metal artist with roots in a traditional Bedouin art.

The Lackawanna County Arts and Culture Department, Visitors Bureau, ScrantonMade, First Friday Scranton, and the Scranton Jazz Festival created and marketed the concept of a Lackawanna Arts Weekend to encourage people living approximately one to two hours away from the area to consider coming here for the weekend. The organizations developed hotel packages and marketing strategies with the intent of marketing the community’s ever-rising variety of cultural, dining, and outdoor experiences.

See NEPA Scene’s photos of Arts on the Square last year here and the ScrantonMade Holiday Market at the old Globe Store here.

Photo by Tammy Heid/Robb Malloy/NEPA Scene