Kick off spring with Pajama Factory Mayfest

With the snow gone for good, flowers blooming, trees sprouting and birds chirping, May is a month of fresh starts and new beginnings.

Nature isn’t the only thing that emerges out of prolonged winter dormancy in the spring months; people do too – especially artists.

Artists work long and hard on new creations over the dreary winter months in their studios. When the sun starts shining, it’s time to show off their work to the world.

“Mayfest” will debut on May 10 at the Pajama Factory, 1307 Park Ave., to help accommodate the sort of shedding of winter for artists, and give onlookers an opportunity to feast their eyes on the vibrant art of all kinds – fashion, music, painting and more.

For the past two and a half months, Barb Andreassen – self-taught artist, PJ Factory building manager and tenant, with the help of several others – has been preparing for the first Pajama Factory Mayfest.

Generally an event of this magnitude would have been planned out a year in advance, but the idea sprung up only recently, when a few fashion and fabric artists wanted to hold a fashion show. It evolved from there, as Andreassen garnered support from more artists and community members.

Now, Andreassen hopes Mayfest will become an annual event, with plans already in the works for next year.

Mug full of hot tea in hand, Andreassen was still making arrangements and communicating with participating artists on Friday afternoon. Todd Rice, graphic designer and tenant, popped into Andreassen’s studio to see if the logo he designed for Mayfest worked well.

Photography tenant Dave Becker coined the “Mayfest” name.

“That’s the beauty of any event – the collaboration involved, and meeting other artists,” Andreassen said.

A grand opening of two new projects within the Center for Creativity, a nonprofit arts and community organization within the PJ Factory, will coincide with the Mayfest debut.

This includes the grand openings of The Clay Studio and Bicycle Recycle.

Deb and Dave Stabley, who are ceramics and wood sculpture instructors at Pennsylvania College of Technology, have been making such art for the past 30 years.

With the smell of fresh paint and wood in the air, the Stableys were hard at work in the studio on Friday, preparing for the grand opening of The Clay Studio, on the second floor in Studio 26 at Mayfest.

They will use the new space at the Pajama Factory to host various classes and workshops dealing with ceramics and wood sculpture.

On the ground floor, Rose Street stairwell is a musty room full of old, tattered and broken bicycles – many still covered in cobwebs.

The Bicycle Recycle program, run by Louisa and Dave Stone, aims to spruce up and rebuild these used bicycles to supply to the community.

In addition to these grand openings, several other events will be held at Mayfest, including the following:

Paper+ Studio: Printmaking Exhibition, 2 to 10 p.m., second floor – Woodcuts by the Bloomsburg University spring 2014 lithography/relief class.

Primavera (spring) cleanup, 2 to 5:30 p.m., second floor, Studio 21 – Fine artwork by Veera Pfaffli.

STRUT: A Runway Event, 6 to 8 p.m., The Clearstory (second floor banquet hall) – Local couture and designers, a fashion show and expo.

Du/e Corps/e nella Groundless Ground 2 to 6 p.m., second floor, Studio 10 – By R. Armstrong, Center for Creativity Gallery sound and video installation and live performances.

Fiber Arts Exhibit, 2 to 10 p.m., The Solarium, second floor.

Face painting for kids, 2 to 5:30 p.m.

In addition, Way Cool Beans, the factory’s very own coffee shop, will host live music.

Owner Todd Foresman is looking forward to Mayfest, hoping that it will draw in more foot traffic.

“I’m looking forward to it. (It’s) good for the factory and the community,” Foresman said, adding that Mayfest also serves as a way to help Pajama Factory as a whole attain more notoriety. Only about 30 percent occupied, Andreassen hopes to see the factory continue to grow.

“Typically people are amazed at what’s going on in here, and they say ‘this is great this is happening in Williamsport,’ ” she said, adding that the PJ Factory is more than just a place to give artists a place to work. It’s an artistic hub that promotes creativity, aiming to revitalize the neighborhood and uplift the community.

“(Mayfest) is a good kick off for spring after the winter we just had,” she said.