Arts on the Square

New festival showcases talent in our own backyard

The arts are an even better barometer of what is happening in our world than the stock market or the debates in congress.”
If you agree with the words of famous historian and journalist Hendrik Willem Van Loon, then the future is bright for Scranton and its surrounding communities. New events in the art world are popping up all the time. In fact, one of the largest artistic endeavors we’ve seen in a long time may be found in the Electric City this weekend.
Welcome Arts on the Square.
A partnership between Lackawanna County and ScrantonMade, a curated online shop showcasing the works of Scranton area artists, crafters and designers, Arts on the Square will bring 100 artists to downtown Scranton on Saturday, July 27, from noon to 8 p.m. The tented festival will showcase the work of a wide variety of fine artists and artisans and will include demonstrations and live entertainment, from music and dance to storytelling and improv shows.
We recently caught up with Maureen McGuigan, deputy director, the Office of Arts and Culture in Lackawanna County, and business owner Cristin Powers, of ScrantonMade, who are co-chairing the event. They hope this festival will become a longtime tradition in the city. “People love outdoor festivals in the summer and using our Courthouse makes sense because it’s absolutely gorgeous,” McGuigan said. “You can have an artistic experience and buy some beautiful things, and you don’t have to leave your hometown.”

Fisher Cat Fiber Upcycled Rag Rugs

Powers said they wanted to offer a unique mix of vendors that will appeal to a wide variety of people. “I just wanted there to be a little bit of everything,” she said. “There will be fine art and photography, crafts, design, jewelry and more.”
An added bonus is that most of the vendors are local artists, so those who support the buy local movement will feel good about their purchases. “I think there’s something to be said for buying work from local vendors at events like this or on First Friday,” Powers said. “Getting to hand your dollar to the person who made those items really feels good.”
Among the highlights of the festival is Art in the City: Text in Action, collaboration between three cultural powerhouses in Scranton: The Everhart Museum, the Scranton Cultural Center and the Lackawanna County Library System. Integrating visual arts, literacy and performance, the collaboration emphasizes street art, which is any art developed in public spaces, and localisms, which are local interests and customs. In this case, localisms are local linguistics or language.
The Art in the City tent will feature an ongoing interactive mixed media art mural that visitors may add text and color to throughout the day. There will be a comedy improvisation workshop, a writer’s workshop, live demonstrations and performances throughout the day.
“I have a very positive feeling about the arts scene, just from what I do on a daily basis,” McGuigan said. “There is so much going on; it’s really exciting.”
For more information, visit
If you go:
What: Arts on the Square
When: Saturday, July 27, 12-8 p.m.
Where: Courthouse Square, downtown Scranton