For a day, many of Scranton’s finest artists can be found on just four blocks.
Back for its fifth year, ScrantonMade’s Arts on the Square festival brings together more than a hundred local vendors and artists on Lackawanna County Courthouse Square in Scranton on Saturday, July 29, from noon until 8 p.m.
ScrantonMade partner, editor and creative director Chrissy Manuel is pleased the event’s draw has spread to all of downtown for the whole day.
“We were really excited when people were coming down with blankets and hanging out with their kids,” Manuel said. “We didn’t necessarily anticipate … people hanging out for the day.”
This year’s artist lineup includes more fine artists than usual who, like the organizers, celebrate the area in their work by drawing inspiration from familiar sites like the Electric City sign or the Everhart Museum.
“The artists are offering things that more people will want to put in their homes too,” said Cristin Powers, founder and marketing and event director for the festival. “It’s making art very approachable.”
Like in past years, the event features various art on display and for sale as well as live music throughout the day from four local acts plus Bethlehem-based headliner Start Making Sense, a Talking Heads tribute band.
Powers wanted the focus for this year to be on quality. The application process for vendors was tougher than in years past, and the festival consolidated two music stages to one.
“We hope this attracts a whole new group of people to the event that may not have come in the past,” she said.
In addition to the event’s activities across the square, local restaurants along the perimeter of the square and beyond become effectively part of the event.
Backyard Ale House, 523 Linden St., will bring its backyard to the front yard by offering food and drink during Arts on the Square, and DaVinci Pizza, 505 Linden St., usually closed on Saturdays, will open its doors, among other restaurants welcoming the downtown influx.
“I think (the festival) is a great way to come down and experience downtown Scranton as a whole,” Powers said. “You get to see how many local artists, crafters and business people are around here that normally you don’t get to see.”
In bringing the area together through events like Arts on the Square or its Holiday Marketplace, ScrantonMade practices its motto to celebrate artists, creative entrepreneurs and all things local.
“People really do want to shop local, and if you give them something exciting to do, they really do come out and support it,” Manuel said.
Both Manuel and Powers hope in doing their part to revitalize the area, they continue to help the already budding arts scene.
“We’re helping connect artists to a larger audience … and we hope to highlight them to the rest of the community,” Powers said.
“(The arts scene) was strong before we started,” Manuel added. “And our event helped connect the dots a little bit.”
— paul capoccia