Music & art on a sunny day

Another hundred years of beauty, serenity, and leisure in Ways Garden – that hope for the next century was the theme of the 57th annual Ways Garden Art and Craft Show, held on a beautiful Sunday at the garden at Maynard and West Fourth streets.

“We’re embarking on getting ready for the next 100 years,” said Bob Esposito, park commissioner. “We’re hoping to put a fountain in the park this year, and there’s a proposed rose garden and event lawn drawn up by a landscape architect.”

The Ways Garden committee hopes to raise $170,000 to supplement the endowment provided by J. Roman Way in 1913, to both maintain the garden, with a part-time gardener, and install several improvements.

“We want to go back to our Victorian heritage – it’s become more a park than a garden over the years,” Esposito said. “People have come here over the years specifically because they heard what a beautiful spot it was. We had two weddings taking pictures here yesterday, and people have come here for that for years and years.”

Improvements that have started include a carpet bed of flowers planted around the flagpole, a shade garden around the monument and the beginnings of a conifer garden.

The show, sponsored by the Bald Eagle Art League, featured numerous artists and artisans displaying their works and wares.

Joe Cesa, a watercolorist, has been coming to the show “for many years.” He pointed out a painting of basketed berries enveloped in flowering vines.

“This is about as loose and abstract as I get,” he said. “Some people like it and some people don’t. You have to do what you like.”

Sharon Miller, of Allenwood, brought out her arrangements of “succulent” plants to the show for the first time. The plant varieties, which thrive on very little water and last a long time in pots, in wreaths, or even in frames, are “fascinating more people,” she said. “I can’t paint, but I can paint with plants.”

Christy Rhoads had her photographs of local wildlife on display, with a bald eagle couple that nests along the Susquehanna River prominently featured.

“Right now (the eagles) are quite mean because the eggs have hatched and they’re very protective,” she said. “I don’t go down there too much to shoot right now.”

Emily Green, a 2009 Williamsport Area High School graduate, was awarded the Eve Archer Award as the people’s choice of favorite artist at the show.