Community Classroom: So much happening at The Gathering Place

Community - Classroom - Emily Rancier

My head is spinning. So much is happening at The Gathering Place, I can hardly think. A highly successful Ice Festival is but a fading memory. The beautiful art work painted on our windows has been scraped and scrubbed away. Posters are popping up in their place, letting the world — well, at least Clarks Summit and the surrounding area — know what’s happening at TGP now, this month and next.

First up: “Abstraction,” the new art exhibit opening at 6 p.m. Friday, March 23. It’s an exciting show, full of variety, playfulness, color — all the things that excite the imagination. You’ll see familiar names like Hank Fells and Earl Lehman, Mel Wolk and Brook Wandall, as well as works by Marilyn Steele, Georgio Chatzikyriakos, Sarrah Dibble-Camburn, Michael Swanson and many others. Sixteen artists are represented in our gallery. Do come out from 6 to 9 p.m. on the fourth Friday of March and enjoy the show. Hopefully, by then no snow showers or squalls will hamper your journey or keep you away. We are working on being open more hours during the day as well as the hours our classes run; stay tuned.

We have two ongoing programs which have brought many new people to The Gathering Place: the W.I.S.E. program for older adults and Open the Dialogue, an interactive discussion of the opioid crisis. The former I have found helpful, informative and friendly. The latter has brought out over 50 people, all brave enough to engage in a dialogue which will hopefully help stem the insidious invasion of drugs in our children’s lives. It is through the tireless work of our committee people Paula Baillie and Anne Armezzani that important topics like these are being brought to our community members. Kudos to them!

More people to acknowledge: Trudy Montella and Tracey Khalife who have diligently worked to make sure our building is top-rate and ship-shape. We can now say our kitchen stove, refrigerator and 3-bay sink are all in house ready to be installed. The Gathering Place holds its first cooking class in the kitchen this Wednesday. It’s quite exciting to know we are this close to being “done.” We thank all the loyal people who have been with us from the beginning and have supported us in so many ways. We couldn’t have done it without “the village.”

The Art Market will be known as The Marketplace from now on to encourage a wider selection of goods for sale. Food, produce, flowers, small antiques and vintage items as well as arts and crafts will be considered. Let us know if you are interested in trying this venue out and seeking new exposure for your work or business. The next marketplace will be from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. May 14, the day before Mother’s Day. Music from the Singers’ Roundtable enhanced the March event and we hope they’ll be back so you can come and listen to, as well as see, what is being produced locally.

A reminder: Noontime Talks at the Gathering Place are gaining momentum. Jim Remsen returns Thursday, March 22 to talk about Visions of Teaoga; Brian Keeler and his art takes center stage on Tuesday, March 27; Sarah Piccini presents examples of women’s fashions “under the skirt” on Wednesday, March 28; and Dennis Martin will tell HER-story and HIStory on Wednesday, April 4. Bring your lunch and learn something new.

Don’t miss another history talk at 7 p.m. March 26 about Louisa May Alcott, portrayed by Jennifer Ochman. This should be a fun way to learn more about this fascinating woman who was more than a famous author. Bring your middle school-aged children with you for this personal history lesson.

There are so many opportunities to work with and learn from local artists this month and next. Don’t miss your chance to engage with Earl Lehman (collage painting and acrylic landscape painting), Mary Chibirka (oil painting-florals), and Kristie McMahon (wire jewelry). See the brochure or website ( for dates and times.

Overwhelming response to Italian, Pysanky eggs, crochet and all cooking classes has forced us to close these classes early. That is a GOOD thing, but I’m afraid disappointing to many who were turned away. We will try to repeat these popular classes in the future. Keep abreast of the latest on the website, and hope to see you soon at The Gathering Place.



Emily Rancier

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or by email at

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or by email at