Scranton residents, meet your colorful neighbor.
Neo-expressionist artist Hunt Slonem, known for his vibrant and colorful paintings, bought the Col. Louis Watres Armory on Adams Avenue in 2015 and gave the space a multicolor makeover that includes bright wall treatments, quirky and rare items, antique furniture and dozens of his paintings. This month, his influence moves into another historic building in the Electric City when an exhibition of his paintings opens at the Everhart Museum.
On display Friday, Sept. 28, through Monday, Dec. 31, the exhibit kicks off with a artist reception today from 6 to 8 p.m. at the museum, 1901 Mulberry St. Tickets cost $50 and include light fare, cocktails and a tour of the exhibit. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 570-346-7186, ext. 510. 
Slonem is best known for the way he combines expressionist techniques with mysticism. He focuses on animal subjects, including bunnies and tropical birds in bright colors.
It’s a rare chance to see an influential artist’s work that the public has seldom seen, museum executive director Aurore Giguet said. Slonem’s work hangs in museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim. Now, the Everhart joins that list.
The Scranton museum will display large-scale paintings from early in Slonem’s career that were inspired by time he spent in Mexico, enrolled at Universidad de las Americas. There, Slonem explored archaeological sites of ancient Aztec buildings, which featured colorful and gold-painted canvases as well as pre-Columbian ceremonial objects.
“Hunt uses expressive textural brushstrokes of intense color to create light, playful compositions that are calming and joyful, and you can sense that he has a spiritual connection to the work,” Giguet said. “We are excited to show a series that has been hidden and unseen for many years.”
On Saturday, Sept. 29, Slonem will sign copies of “Gatekeeper: World of Folly,” which will be for sale at the museum along with the artist’s previous books, “Bunnies” and “Birds.” “Gatekeeper” is a 300-page walkthrough of the 102,000 square feet inside the Watres Armory that Slonem has transformed into a vibrant explosion of color, prints and textures. The book also highlights rare and precious items he accumulated over the years from around the world as well as what he calls “collectorating” — or collecting and decorating — that makes his sanctuary a sensory playground. The Everhart will host a dinner with Slonem inside his colorful castle in November, and while that already sold out, Giguet said the museum is thrilled to give residents a peek inside through the exhibit and book signing, as well as the chance to meet the man himself.
“What Hunt has done to the Watres Armory is truly amazing,” Giguet said. “It is a feast for the eyes, and his new book, ‘Gatekeeper,’ really captures the lush, extravagant interiors. It is our pleasure to hold a book signing and to invite the public to meet this remarkable force of nature.”
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Artist Hunt Slonem (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

If you go
What: Hunt Slonem exhibition and book signing
When: Preview reception today, 6 to 8 p.m.; exhibition, Friday, Sept. 28, through Monday, Dec. 31; book signing, Saturday, Sept. 29
Where: Everhart Museum, 1901 Mulberry St., Scranton
Details: For more information, call 570-346-7186.

‘American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times’
A look at the 35th president of the United States will go on display inside the Everhart Museum’s Gallery 7 from Friday, Sept. 28, through Monday, Dec. 31. The exhibit, “American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times,” features a collection of photographs of President Kennedy’s public and private life. Curated from public sources to private family albums, some images are iconic, and others have never been seen before. A reception for the exhibit will take place next month.

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