Complaining about potholes is not unique to northeastern Pennsylvania, but there’s something about the way local cynics take the pockmarked streets personally that needs an attitude adjustment. The innovative minds behind The Pop Up Studio will take the metaphor to the streets on Saturday at 8 p.m. with an event titled Pothole: Positively Filling Negative Space. Counting on the element of surprise as one of the event’s ingredients, studio representatives hesitated to share specific details on what participants will find on Sherwood Court between Vine and Olive streets and Colfax and Wheeler avenues that evening.
“We want to take what is generally a negative word — pothole — put it into a different context for one night, and then celebrate that context,” the studio’s Michael Muller offered via press release.
Founded in September 2011 by Muller with Ruth Koelewyn, Valerie Kiser and David Bosley, The Pop Up Studio invited the community to bring cups of “Sugar” to share at its first event set amid a towering fort of cardboard in February. An event titled “Soft” followed in March, and last month it held a colorful Scranton-wide team scavenger game titled “Hunt.”
Interaction with the community is already underway with a challenge to Facebook followers to transform their “favorite” pothole into an unexpected playground. The Pop Up Studio got the ball rolling when it filled a depression in front of a local nursing home with ice cubes and bottles of beer.
“There was a woman waving to us from her room, laughing and beaming from ear to ear. She was obviously amused that something so utterly silly was happening outside,” Kiser recalled.
The contributions that followed found toy trucks excavating, Barbie dolls taking a dip, a swimming monster in the style of Loch Ness, mythological action figures posed in battle, a serene Buddha shrine, a bird’s nest, and a toilet reconstructed on the street.
It’s hoped that the photos might “momentarily disarm some of the negative connotations people have with potholes,” Koelewyn offered.
In any case, the community can take their light-hearted intent as an indication of the “down to earth” vibe to be found at Saturday’s event. All ages are welcome and there is no charge to attend. Participants are advised to park at Nay Aug Park and walk to the nearby Court. Visit www.thepopupstudio.org for more information.
Ready … Set … Create!
A fundraiser for First Friday Scranton planned and executed by Leadership Lackawanna’s Class of 2012, StArt! (short for STorefrontART) is an art contest in the vein of Project Runway set to happen live before our very eyes at the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce on Friday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Participating artists John Bert, Ryan Hnat, Amy Kiser, Sean Langan, Heidi Van Leuven, Shannon Rowlands, and Brianna Wells will be on the clock to create a piece of art to impress a panel of celebrity judges including Colleen Carter, of the Lackawanna Valley Heritage Authority, Michael Gilmartin, of Nada and Company and photographer Michael Straub. Jeannine Luby, of Laugh to Live, is the emcee. Live music will be performed by Chelsea Collins, Tom O’Connor, and Dan Rosler.
Winning artists will have two additional weeks following the event to put the finishing touches on a display that will be seen as part of June’s First Friday Scranton art walk. A second contest will invite First Friday participants to vote on their favorite work. “It is our goal that the art work displayed will help inspire new businesses to consider renting space downtown as well as promote local artists,” StArt group member Christopher O’Connor, an affiliate of Keystone College, stated in an announcement of Friday’s festivities.
Additional project members include Elizabeth Bohan, Theresa O’Connor, of The Vintage Theater, Maggie Calpin, of Nibbles & Bits, The Scranton Plan staff member Kristin Driesbaugh, John McGloin, of Palumbo Construction Management, and Jennifer Radzwillowicz, an employee of Lackawanna County.
Admission to the all-ages, alcohol-free event is $5 at the door and includes food and drinks. Visit www.leadershiplackawanna.com or firstfridayscranton.com for more information.
Alison Maslow’s photograph “Resonance, knowing” is on display in an exhibit that opened last weekend at Marquis Art & Frame in Wilkes-Barre. In addition to works by the Shavertown resident, In the Details also features recent works by artists Erika Baez and Omar Rodriguez Jr. Baez developed her tromp l’oeil technique as an apprentice at The Ani Art Academy Waichulis after graduating from Baruch College with a B.A. in graphic design and photography. A native of Scranton, Rodriguez attended Luzerne County Community College before moving on to study with the Ani Waichulis studio. Maslow is the current president of the Wyoming Valley Art League. In the Details will remain on display through July 7. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call 823-0518 for more information.