NEPA Scene Staff

Free ‘Wake Up with the Arts’ breakfast highlights small businesses in Lackawanna County on June 30

Free ‘Wake Up with the Arts’ breakfast highlights small businesses in Lackawanna County on June 30
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From a press release:

The Lackawanna County Arts and Culture Department will celebrate the diverse array of small businesses in Northeastern Pennsylvania with a free “Wake Up with the Arts” breakfast, workshop, and panel discussion on creative entrepreneurship on Thursday, June 30.

The new website, a local directory of creative businesses and services along with an e-commerce platform, will also be launched. The site will enable people to search for creative products and services in the region.

This project was piloted in July of 2020 as an easy way to help small businesses compete with big box stores in the online shopping market. It then emerged as a partnership between Lackawanna County, Anthracite Events, Shantytown Design, NEPA Strong, and the Lackawanna County Visitors Bureau.

The arts breakfast will be held on Thursday, June 30 at 8:30 a.m. at the Scranton Cultural Center (420 N. Washington Ave., Scranton) and is free, but registration is required. The breakfast’s panel features experts from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, University of Scranton Small Business Development Center, Dan Kimbrough of Park Multimedia, illustrator Chrissie Bonner, and Meegan Possemato of On&On. Artist Travis Prince will serve as the moderator. Breakfast will be catered by local restaurant Chef Von & Mom, and musicians Doug Smith and Jimmy Waltich will perform a variety of music selections.

There will also be special guests representing area agencies that focus on small business development and entrepreneurship, speaking about the resources their operations can offer. To register for the breakfast, email or call 570-963-6590, ext. 3176.

Since its inception, the arts breakfast has served as a creative networking event, focusing on educating, motivating, and inspiring the public to use the arts, area artists, and art organizations, businesses, and agencies to enhance the quality of life in Lackawanna County’s communities. It also showcases the artistic talent in NEPA due to the fact that the tables at the event are decorated by local artists and organizations.

On Friday, July 1, there will be a downtown walking tour of First Friday Scranton at 6 p.m., starting at Crocus Cafe (323 N. Washington Ave., Scranton) with vendors, music by Dani-elle Kleha, and a demonstration of Shop NEPA Today. A market and celebration on Lackawanna County Courthouse Square will run from 5 p.m.-9 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Sector Impact Report estimates that, as of 2019, arts and cultural production accounted for $27.1 billion and 3.4 percent of the Pennsylvania economy. But due to the pandemic, nearly $4.4 billion in creative industry sales in Pennsylvania was lost, making it more important than ever to support local creative businesses.

Located in the Electric City Trolley Museum (300 Cliff St., Scranton), the Lackawanna County Arts and Culture Department advocates and supports high-quality arts opportunities and programs for people of all ages throughout Lackawanna County. The department provides services to artists and arts organizations in the region and awards grants to qualified artists and arts organizations.

In 2004, an Education and Culture Tax was implemented, and programs were developed for the purpose of enriching the county through arts and culture through an additional mill on assessed property value, which generates approximately $1.3 million in funding for arts and culture. Lackawanna County is the only county in Pennsylvania to have such a funding stream. This fee has been able to support artists and organizations, provide free programming, and offer technical assistance to artists and arts leaders in the community.

In 2008, Lackawanna County launched the Arts Engage initiative, a partnership with the Office of Family and Youth Services. This initiative was established to fund organizations to enable them to conduct free or low-cost public arts programming. Children and adolescents within OFYS services are placed in these programs as an alternative to traditional therapies to develop prosocial skills. The success of this program led the Arts and Culture Department and other county departments to discuss how the arts can be used as a vehicle to help solve social challenges and other issues facing the community while and increasing well-being and health.