LA PLUME — Red and tired eyes, paint-splattered hands and stiff limbs described most people scattered around the Theatre in Brooks at Keystone College on Tuesday.
It was a little before 10 a.m. and, despite the fact that most of the art students had been there since 6 p.m. the evening before, they sat focused on their work.
The 24-hour Draw-a-Thon is a student-based project of the Keystone College Art Society to raise awareness and funds for The Gathering Place, a new community center coming to Clarks Summit.
Rainy Pritchett, art society president, said the event also served to give people an inside glimpse into an artist’s world and the intensity of the creative process.
“It’s a prime example of what all artists go through in order to dedicate themselves to the art,” she said.
The event ran from 6 p.m. Monday, May 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 3 and featured five teams, with a total of 10 student artists. Each was required to stay until his or her team’s piece was completed. Participants were, however, allowed a maximum two-hour break per eight-hour time period, which could be taken all at once or staggered.
Each team was tasked with creating a large-scale work of art, within the theme of “gatherings,” with a winning entry to be permanently displayed in The Gathering Place. Judges included The Gathering Place representatives and members of the local art community such as Dori Waters, Renee Emanuel, Bill Teitsworth and Earl Lehman.
One team was comprised of Mikayla Lewis, of Vestal, New York, and Raven Lydon, of Simpson. Wanting to create something in the category of graphic architecture, they chose to draw a cathedral, a place of sacred gatherings.
Lydon said she liked the concept of the event because it revealed “the artist’s process to an outsider.” The graphic design major explained this is important because art is often seen as “useless” or “just a hobby,” rather than a lifestyle.
To Lewis, art is a conduit between one’s dreams or aspirations and reality.
“It’s the closest you can get to being superheroes,” said the drawing and painting major. “With art, there’s really no limits.”
Another team, made up of Ethan McConnel-Drozdis, of Greenfield Township and Matthew Nealon, of Scranton, both graphic design majors, created a mash-up painting of Pokémon and Clue characters.
Although tired, Drozdis said he was glad he signed up after hearing about the event from a professor.
“It seemed like a really fun thing, to draw for 24 hours, to see if I can take it,” he said.
Another team was comprised of Stefiny Thomas, a ceramics and sculpture major from Towanda and Amy Cone, a graphic design major from Tiverton, Rhode Island.
The only team of three consisted of Vinny DeSimone, of Honesdale, majoring in graphic design, and Shannon Anderson, of Nutley, New Jersey, and Matt Maslousky, of Scranton, both drawing and painting majors.
Lindsey Lockwood, a freshman graphic design major from Milford, participated in the event solo.
Student and faculty committee members who organized and ran the fundraiser included Melanie Rosato, event coordinator; Pritchett, assistant coordinator; Gina Szymczyk, assistant coordinator; Lydon, assistant coordinator; Lewis, assistant coordinator; Drake Gomez, faculty event advisor and Dave Porter, faculty club advisor.
Local musicians helped keep up the excitement throughout the event, with live performances by Pulak, an alternative band from Scranton; Static in the Attic, with rock ‘n roll sounds from Carbondale; Keystone’s own jazz band, and South Side Bandits, rockers from Scranton.
Various companies and local businesses supported the event as sponsors, so all the money raised could go to The Gathering Place. These included Pepsi, Jordan’s Towing, Jim Morell’s Towing, Panera Bread, Lacapra Stone, Dim Line Clothing, Giant Supermarket, Embassy Vinyl, PDQ and The Halfway House.
Suggested donations of $2 were collected at the door in lieu of admission, and a basket raffle rounded out the fundraiser. Those who were unable to attend the event but wish to make a donation may still do so online at gofundme.com/draw-a-thon.
For more information about The Gathering Place, visit gatheringplacecs.org.