“Art on the Piers" to highlight Lewisburg arts programs, engage the community – Sunbury Daily Item | Ad On Picture

The Lewisburg Arts Council are preparing for their finale of this year’s annual two-week celebration of the arts as they will once again host Arts at the Piers on Saturday May 14th from 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. All planned activities take place in the atmospheric and charmingPiers area, located off Cherry Alley off North Fifth Street in downtown Lewisburg.

Arts at the Piers caters to regional arts organizations that want to find a way to highlight their activities in the community by providing an opportunity to connect with groups that offer artistic and cultural activities. This fun day of interactive art for all ages features demonstrations, talks, flyers and grab-and-go activities.

Participating organizations this year include: The Lewisburg Garden Club, Strictly Ballet, The Exchange, Lewisburg Chapter of National Art Honors Society, Lewisburg Arts Council Artists’ Guild of Lewisburg, Bluebird Atelier and the West Branch Chorus.

Due to construction at Hufnagle Park, the event has been moved across the street in The Piers – and its name has been slightly changed from Arts in the Park to Arts at the Piers.

This past spring, many arts organizations struggled with visibility and outreach as the pandemic canceled nearly all activities and events.

“This made it very difficult for people, especially newcomers to the area, to get a sense of the many opportunities to participate in artistic activities – either as art lovers or as artists – that the Central Susquehanna Valley offers,” said Della Hutchison, President of the Lewisburg Arts Council and Co-Chair of the Lewisburg Arts Festival. “That was my inspiration for Arts in the Park.”

Hutchison pitched her idea for a different kind of “art fair” to the Arts Council, and Arts in the Park was added to her two-week Celebration of the Arts program.

“For someone looking for summer camp for their children, or someone with musical skills who wants to join a local group, or someone hoping to meet others who share their artistic interests and make new friends, Arts in the Park was a must the answer.”

groups with programs

In conjunction with Arts at the Piers, Saturday’s Lewisburg Architecture Photography Tours and Urban Sketching Day.

The Lewisburg Photography Club’s primary activity during Arts at the Piers is a series of architecturally guided photography tours of downtown Lewisburg led by Photography Club members. The purpose of the tours is to highlight the rich and varied architecture of downtown Lewisburg.

“Downtown Lewisburg’s architecture is a photographer’s dream,” said Daniel Hyde, Chairman of the Lewisburg Photography Club. “Walk a few blocks to see and photograph Federalist, Greek Revival, Toscan Villa, Gothic Revival, Victorian, Beaux Arts and Art Deco styles.”

Tours begin at 11:00 am from the Lewisburg Arts Council marquee in The Piers area and run hourly thereafter until 3:00 pm. The tours are aimed at photographers, but non-photographers are also welcome.

“The piers themselves are significant industrial architecture and wonderful to photograph,” said Hyde. “The piers are 30 abandoned concrete piers in a curved array that once supported a siding to a large coal barn for the Reading Railroad. They are at least 100 years old as shown on a 1925 map.”

After touring and photographing The Piers, the group will be taken on a walking tour of Market Street to the Susquehanna River Bridge and back by a photography club member. The guide will point out interesting architecture and architectural elements worth photographing.

outdoor events

After the Lewisburg Arts Council Board decided to only hold outdoor events this year due to COVID-19, they formed a committee to plan activities that would go hand-in-hand with their 8-year Plein Air Day.

“We have expanded the traditional definition of en plein air to include other artistic activities that can be conducted outside,” said Barbara Baker, Chair of Plein Air Events for Celebration of the Arts and Chair of the Artists’ Guild of Lewisburg. “We decided to include photo activities and urban sketching events.”

Urban sketching is a popular wearable art that involves sketching local life with minimal material. Artists are free to come to Lewisburg any time of the day, choose a location and draw or paint on a sketchbook or canvas, and then move on to another location.

“We tried this for the first time in 2021 and got a lot of interest,” Baker said, “so we decided to take it up again and encourage participation by running a workshop on it.”

The Lewisburg Arts Council offers a range of events throughout the year and most of these events give people a chance to enjoy the arts through their eyes and ears.

But Hutchison believes Arts at the Piers is different because it offers an opportunity to engage in art-making as an active participant, not just a passive spectator or listener.

“I’d love for everyone who stops by to go home inspired, either to take up a new art form or to re-engage with a lost art form,” she said. “And I would be more than happy if groups that didn’t attend this year would come forward and say, ‘How can we be a part of this exciting, worthwhile event next year?'”

Hutchison believes one of the big takeaways from the pandemic is how important art is in our everyday lives.

“Involvement in the arts has boosted morale, boosted self-esteem, and given people opportunities to connect with others when so much seemed disconnected,” she said. “We need art and the arts in our lives, maybe more than ever.”

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