FIRST FRIDAY REBOOT
First Fridays in downtown Williamsport will look a little different from now on.
“We’re trying to get back to a more ‘fine arts’-centered event,” said Judy Olinsky, chair of the Lycoming County Arts Alliance First Friday subcommittee. “Artists in Williamsport and the surrounding areas have so much to offer and we want to showcase that during First Fridays.”
To that end, a bit of an overhaul is in store for the layout of the monthly event, highlighted by a focus on fine arts – painting, photography, poetry and the like – along West Fourth Street.
Beginning on Sept. 5, people will see several new additions to the evening’s festivities and a reimagining of others, Olinsky said.
“For example – we will now have a featured artist of the month, whose name will be displayed on the electronic sign outside of the Genetti,” she said. “It’s a great way to get the name of some of our local artists out there.”
Inside the hotel will be the ST’art Gallery, where local high school students will display their own original works, and just outside, along William Street, will be another new addition in the form of the easel mural.
The 4- by 8-feet, double-sided easel will be painted by a different artist or organization every month as a “performance” of sorts, Olinsky said.
“People will be able to watch an original work of art being created,” she said. “It will be fascinating to watch.”
If patrons aren’t interested in waiting for the art to be finished, they’ll have a chance to look at other artwork outside of the Sun-Gazette building, next to the Community Arts Center – or check out a pop-up gallery in the Woodlands Bank parking lot.
“We thought that the whole drive-through lane is perfect for setting up an impromptu gallery to show even more art,” Olinsky said.
A different gallery every month – from Williamsport and surrounding areas – will display some of their works on portable walls that will line the drive-through lane, giving people the chance to see what exhibits are on display and where without leaving West Fourth Street.
For September, the pop-up gallery will include works from Valley Gallery and Gifts, 2880 Quarry Road, Jersey Shore, featuring art by Lynn Kibbe, Mickey Mapstone, Stephanie Calhoun and Cheryl Lamey.
“We’re very excited about that addition,” Olinsky said.
For those who are interested in some literary artwork, a poet’s corner is planned for the corner of William and West Fourth streets, where a different poet-in-residence each month will read original works and organize other poets to read as well.
Just down the block on William Street will be an area for “special events,” which will range from performance art to fashion displays.
“The details are still coming together, but what we hope to have for September’s event is a live fashion show with works from local designers,” Olinsky said.
As if there weren’t enough opportunities to take in some new art, there’s also the CH’art Gallery planned for outside of Plankenhorn’s Stationary, where original works by local elementary school students will be displayed, and the CollegeTown Gallery, where students from the region’s colleges and universities will display artwork in the lobby of the Community Arts Center.
In addition, the Cinema Center will host performances by local dance companies, and the backdrop to it all will be the sounds of the Uptown Music Collective performing on the Susquehanna Bank Stage.
The additions and changes have Olinsky and the other organizers of First Friday very excited.
“It’s going to be such an experience,” she said. “We’re thrilled to be putting the focus on fine art and artists, to give the public a chance to see more and to give the artists a chance to reach even wider audiences.”
Artists and galleries wishing to participate in First Friday may email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to register.