SCRANTON — Artworks Gallery & Studio has moved from Lackawanna Avenue to a larger building on Penn Avenue, sporting three times the gallery space and allowing more room for multiple studios. An exclusive pottery studio with a kiln for firing clay works has been planned by the Artworks team while new and diverse art programs, including print making, silk screening and lynol cuts will also be added to the gallery.
“We are able to provide more opportunities for our individuals and to have a good community,” said gallery manager Delia O’Malley.
Artworks is a licensed day program for adults with intellectual disabilities. Besides being a bigger place, the new building offer a creative environment with an individual based schedule suited for each person’s needs or skill level.
“This particular location is an alternative choice for people that may not want to work in a traditional work setting,” said Kaitlyn Harrison, gallery and program coordinator. “The uniqueness of the program is that everything that we do here is for visual arts.”
The Artworks program teaches students not only how to create art but also the professional practice aspect of becoming an artist if that is their career path. It shows students how to create an inventory list, how to promote and market themselves and how to create business cards.
The gallery showcases pieces from professional artists and Artworks’ students, alternating on a monthly basis during First Friday Scranton.
“Bringing professional artists to this area allows our students to see some professionalism,” said Harrison. “It also gives them a full admiration to see ‘that artist I really like, something to do’.”
The first art display in the new building is an exhibit called Jam Fan, featuring iconic rock photography of San Francisco-based photographer/film maker Jay Blakesberg alongside the drawings and paintings of Mark Loughney.
The walls are currently filled with both photos of rock and roll legends such as Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young. There are pictures of more current bands such as Radiohead and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Loughney’s artworks include ink/colored pencil drawings of various musicians such as Col. Bruce Hampton, Ralph Stanley and BB King.
Blakesberg, whose photos have been published in many publications, including Relix and Rolling Stone, revealed a slideshow presentation called Chasing the Light on Sept. 5 featuring highlights of his 40-year career of being a rock photographer. Having grown up in suburban New Jersey in the 1970s, he talked about surviving “teenage wasteland” and looking for “the spark.”
“The spark is what inspires us,” he said. “The spark is what moves us along. It makes us want to make art or see music or dance or have fun. We always want that spark in our lives. If we lose that spark, you’re never going to touch the magic.”
Blakesberg recalled going to a Hot Tuna concert at Capital Theater in Passaic, New Jersey with his best friend “Lozzy” and two other friends, after which they followed band member Jorma Kaukonen’s limo to get his autograph. They met up with Jorma in a delicatessen in mid-town New York City where Jorma signed their ticket stubs and $10 dollar bill, which they spent at the deli.
“And then I said, ‘Hey, Jorma, how about a smile?’ Blakesberg asked before taking his picture. “And that’s the photograph he gave me.”
The audience laughed as he revealed Jorma’s funny-looking smile amid his shoulder-length hair.
Blakesberg mentioned he submitted the photo to the editor of Relix Magazine, which he enjoyed reading from cover to cover, and remembered the excitement he felt when the photo was published in the magazine.
“To be 16 years old, when I took this photo, and be published in print, was a mind-blowing experience,” said Blakesberg. “Nowadays, we’re published every 30 seconds in our little devices like Snapchat, Instagram, (and) Facebook.”
Loughney, a PA-based artist whose ink/pencil drawings of musicians are based on Blakesberg’s photographs, is currently in prison
“Mark actually introduced us to Jay in previous exhibits,” Harrison said before Blakesberg’s presentation.
Artworks Gallery Studio had an opening reception for First Friday Scranton on Sept. 6. Dave Brown and the Dishonest Fiddlers entertained with live music in the gallery and a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held with State Representative Kyle Mullins and board members of Keystone Community Resources, of which Artworks is a subsidiary.
Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-991-6405 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.