An artistic anniversary

Drawing Socials celebrate six years in Scranton

This year marks the sixth anniversary of the weekly drawing social held at AfA Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton. Started by local artist Ted Michalowski in 2006, the weekly event combines a unique live musical performance with an interactive drawing group sketching different aspects of the show. To help celebrate the occasion, there will be an anniversary celebration on Sunday, Feb. 5 at AfA Gallery featuring nine musical acts performing from 1 to 10 p.m.
When asked how it felt to be hosting the drawing social for six years, Michalowski said it feels “Downright super-fantastic!”
“There’s no greater excitement than being driven to do something, being passionate about something and being fortunate enough to have so many friends and collaborators there with me who share similar passions in their art, drawing and experimental music,” he said. “It’s a great thrill.”
As far as the music is concerned, there’s always something spontaneous and unexpected happening at the social, where musicians are encouraged to play in an uncompromising manner. Instruments are played with unconventional tools or any other objects that may be readily available to evoke a vast array of sounds. There may be a theremin thrown into the mix, triggering scientific questions about the instruments’ functionality. Michalowski knows that the musicians, and their sense of adventure, play a vital role in the success of the event.
“The music is the show. The music really is the focus, however, people are encouraged to draw or exercise whatever means of creative outlet they have. Whether it’s drawing, writing in a journal or making use of the AfA gallery wi-fi to do homework, the point is to welcome people to the show who are seeking a cultural dose.”
The Drawing Social Sixth Anniversary Fest line-up includes: Rogue Chimp, Brenda Fernades & Vigilant, Tribal Waves, Tyler Dempsey Ensemble, Skeleton Equation, Smeltzer-Stabinsky-Smith, Doug’s Myth, Draw Soc Improvisational All-Stars and Red Blue Green.
When thinking about if he wanted to hold the anniversary show the same day as the Super Bowl, Michalowski turned to his friends and musicians for their input. His drawing social companions lit up with delight. “It’s not that we are against the Super Bowl, it’s just that we work with a different demographic. I guess there is a subversive satisfaction to it. It’s about having something to participate in that’s exciting and daring and aims to open people up to the arts.”
— tom graham