Arts: One of city’s greatest treasures

Williamsport has highlighted the arts — in its downtown and its culture — more than most cities its size.

The emphasis is about to take another visual step forward.

A mosaic celebrating the arts will be unveiled downtown this spring.

The artist is David Stabley, a professor at Pennsylvania College of Technology. His mosaic will be installed on the brick building at the northeast corner of Fourth and Market Streets.

It will be the latest installation of color and art and the fifth installation by Public ARTWORKS, a subcommittee of Lycoming County Celebrates the Arts Alliance.

The move to spotlight the arts in Williamsport has its origins in the First Friday celebrations that started downtown in 2001.

Casual observers are probably most familiar with the visual smorgasbord that engulfs the area in the 200 block of West Fourth Street across from the Community Arts Center. Or they are familiar with the dramatic piece of carved brick on the Trade and Transit Center at 100 W. Third St.

Other dominating pieces are at Trade and Transit II and at Market Square, where the Bases Loaded exhibit highlights Williamsport’s Little League tradition.

There are art pieces along the River Walk, and there are sculptures and paintings throughout downtown, from along the streets to inside the James V. Brown Library.

There are at least 43 pieces of art in public places throughout the city. While many represent modern-day commissions, some date back more than a century and are indicative of an early arts culture and appreciation here. We wonder what still life artist Severin Roesen, who settled here in 1863, or those who populated Millionaires Row during its heydey would think of the visually stunning Williamsport of today.

Are you looking for something to do on one of these beautiful spring days ahead? We suggest you use the list published in the March 24 edition of the Sun-Gazette — a real keeper — to take a self-guided tour around town.

All of the pieces celebrate the city’s unique history and give vitality to its present.

They remind us that we live in a special place that is physically represented by locally produced, unforgettable art.

The arts presence in Williamsport is truly one of the city’s greatest treasures.