Pittston City kicked off the unofficial start to summer with the Fourth Annual Second Friday Art Walk on Friday, May 13. I had so much fun walking up and down Main Street that I forgot I was working.
The first place I stopped was Arts Seen Gallery, which I consider the hub of the downtown art world. My friend Maria Livrone, who I’ve known since the 1980s, is so much fun to talk to. She loves the downtown and is very excited about the transformation.
She and her husband Bill Zack used to own a gallery in Wilkes-Barre, too, but that was closed to focus on the gallery and market in Pittston.
Maria and Bill rent out wall and floor space to artists interested in selling everything from sculptures to paintings to photos. It’s a unique opportunity for artists to make some money. There’s no charge for rental space, but there is a commission fee.
Two pieces of art at the gallery are so unusual, they blew my mind. The one piece took the artist a whole year to create. They are metal sculptures made from everyday construction items like nuts and bolts. The pieces are must-see works.
Maria and Bill also own a studio in Kingston called Whimsy and The Welder – I’m guessing Maria is the whimsy, since Bill is a welder. The duo specialize in kiln-formed glass and metal art.
Certainly Maria and Bill are no fly-by-night artists. Their work has been seen in stores and galleries all over the country, in Canada and abroad. They have had pieces featured in magazines.
Bill is a graduate of Cornell University and secured an MBA from Wilkes University. Maria graduated from Misericordia University. Both are members of the PA Guild of Craftsmen. Maria is a master artisan in the guild.
Pittston City has commissioned the pair for artwork along the path connecting the second tier of the Tomato Festival Lot to the Pittston Memorial Library. Another commissioned project is adding artwork to the Pittston Area courtyard, located in the center of the high school.
When speaking to Maria, she’s very excited about downtown — not just about what’s transpired, but what is yet to come.
Pittston, part II
I recently toured the new Pittston Festival Association’s headquarters building. The building will be equipped with state-of-the-art electronics including security cameras. It will house two storage facilities that will hold equipment for all the festivals held in Pittston.
There are four booths built — the Tomato Festival committee will occupy one during the festival, and the other three could be rented out to vendors. So instead of seeing the usual festival tent on the second tier, it will be back further and in the building.
The building will also have a Tomato Festival office. This will be the headquarters for the festival and it will be the area where all the electronics will be held, including TV monitors to survey the grounds.
The most exciting part of the new building will be an added stage for outdoor concerts. The wrap-around stage will be situated in the corner of the parking lot looking out in the direction of the Tomato Bar and fire hall.
The permanent structured stage will have a heavy iron skeleton to support rigging for concert lights and sound systems. The proposed jazz festival in the works will use this facility as the main stage. There are secondary stages or side stages that will be placed in various parts of the city. The proposed sites will be announced in the future.
Vets for Vettes
One fun day that I love to see come around each year is the Vets for Vettes fundraiser at Ron Gitkos’ West Side Auto service station on the corners of Wyoming and Montgomery avenues in West Pittston. The event will raise money for the West Pittston American Legion. The American Legion uses the money for scholarships and other beneficial programs.
If you are a car enthusiast or love Corvettes, you have to get to this event. It’s from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 12 with raffles, music and food.
If interested in entering a Corvette, contact Ron at 570-654-2261.
Quote of the week
“Extreme hopes are born from extreme misery.” – Bertrand Russell, English theologian.
Thought of the week
“The dream, alone, is of interest. What is life, without a dream? – Edmond Rostand, French poet.
“The future starts today, not tomorrow.” – Pope John Paul II
Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at [email protected]