First art opening a success for Alabaster

On Nov. 1, Alabaster Coffee Roaster & Tea Co. opened a display of work made by Lycoming College student-artists. On Nov. 7, Joshua Troxler, curator of the show, moved tables and chairs from the main section of Alabaster and gave some of the students their first opportunity to experience an art opening.

“At Alabaster, we’ve never held specific art openings. We’ve had events that showcased certain things – written word, performance, things like that – but this was the first time the shop actually posed as a traditional gallery space,” Troxler said.

Students showing work included Ethan Bierly, Joe Troxler, Faith Emrich, Geena Woodley, Tori Cox, Steph Engle, Amaraja Sholder, Bryan McGinnis, Jehiel Boner, Matt Amendolara, Elizabeth Hughes, Leah Handwerk and Emily Shumann.

“There were (art) majors and non-majors, freshmen to seniors,” Troxler said.

Lycoming College professors Lynn Estomin (graphic design, digital imaging, web design and interactive media), Seth Goodman (painting, drawing, two-dimensional design and color theory), and Michael Darough (traditional black and white photography, digital color photography, studio lighting and history of photography) were at the opening to show their support see their students’ work.

“At points,” Joshua Troxler said, “people just came in off the street just to see what all the commotion was.”

Troxler has been curating the space at Alabaster since the beginning of 2013 – a time during which he said his intention has been to put “consistent, quality art on the walls and to get things moving. I wanted to take baby-steps – to slowly ease art at Alabaster into people’s lives.”

With Alabaster established as a regular contributor to Williamsport’s First Fridays, Troxler said it was important to make the quality of the art reflect that.

Troxler, a graduate of Lycoming College with a degree in art, approached the school’s art department and offered the space for student work two months out of the year. “I think one really important part of this show was giving artists who may not have chosen a career path yet that boost, that extra opportunity to get some feedback from the community.”

The work itself says good things about the health of Lycoming College’s art departments. A range of media, styles and subject matter are all represented across the entirely two-dimensional show.

Emily Schumann’s “New York” shows an attention to detail on both the large and small scale; pigeons dominate a composition where isometric skyscrapers and the Brooklyn Bridge are merely backdrop. Even taxis, as ubiquitous and bright in Schumann’s composition as they are in New York City, are minified by the giant, but nearly achromatic birds. The pigeons appear to lift the city by tethers, to remove some of the bridge’s cables in their giant feet.

Amaraja Sholder’s untitled piece could be interpreted as a play on the Greek myth of Daphne, in which the title character pleads with her father (a river god assigned different names in different versions of the myth) to help her escape the affections of Apollo and is turned into a laurel tree. The image seamlessly morphs from the matted image into the white mat itself. A woman’s face and flowing hair are depicted within the “main” composition in various shades of blue. The lines from the hair are then continued off into the mat, where they form the outline of a tree set against a starry night. Leaving the piece untitled adds a layer to its ambiguity; it’s just as likely to have been inspired by an ancient Greek myth as it was a dream.

The Lycoming College Student Artwork Exhibition at Alabaster Coffee Roaster will be on display through Dec. 4.

Troxler, along with fellow Lycoming College alumnus and art major Tyson Buttorff will design an installation that will show through the month of December. January will bring a collaborative photography and design exhibition, featuring the work of several artists, including photographer Cameron Goodworth.

To find Alabaster online visit or

For booking information, or details about upcoming shows, email