Downtown Williamsport just became a little more musical, or poetic or dramatic, depending on which creative types take advantage of the newly-dedicated, outdoor stage between the Community Arts Center and the Williamsport Sun-Gazette building.

Community Arts Center Executive Director Rob Steele said the stage is free to use for a “very eclectic assortment of entertainments.”

“Music will be a big part of the offerings, but it is our hope that small dramas, poetry slams, comedians, magicians, jugglers and orators will

all become a part of the mix,” he said.

The dedication ceremony featured a performance by students from the Uptown Music Collective. Student ensembles from the music school will continue to perform on the stage throughout the 2014 outdoor season, according to Steele, but he hopes local businesses will sponsor performances by other talents in the area.

“We would welcome the opportunity to help coordinate commercial sponsorships of local talent on ‘Third Thursdays’ or ‘Second Saturdays’ if businesses are interested,” he said. “All sponsorship monies will be paid directly to the acts to further strengthen our vibrant arts community.”

Though the operational details of the stage still are a work in progress, all requests to use it should be directed to Rob Steele at

Steele said the space is open to many, but it cannot be used for “political purposes.”

“Our schedule is at times overwhelming but we will do our absolute best to help encourage a steady stream of events on the outdoor stage,” he said.

He’d like to see groups performing on the stage before a show inside begins, but that both stages never will be used at the same time.

The stage, officially titled the Susquehanna Bank Stage at the Community Arts Center, is a collaboration between that bank, the arts center and the Sun-Gazette. The bank funded the stage and the property on which it sits is owned by the newspaper, and has been leased to the arts center for almost a century.

Sun-Gazette Publisher Bernard A. Oravec said the stage will better the community.

“The Sun-Gazette and the Community Arts Center have a very good cooperative partnership and when either of our organizations needs support, we’re there for one another,” he said. “We have a great downtown and every new music and arts event adds to our quality of life.”