Creating an Art District in Wilkes-Barre


WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)  Art is one of those things that can bring people together– and inspire creativity in all of us.
    Perhaps why a local city is working to create a space… Just for the arts.
    Our Dave Kuharchik has more.
The arts tend to bring us together.  Perhaps draw us to places we wouldn’t typically visit.  There is a movement in downtown Wilkes-Barre to organize a formal arts district.  The idea intrigues some people who visit the Diamond City.
    “I do like displays & theatrics. I would come down to watch – I think it’d be a fun time. I’d think it’d be a reason to your friends & family to come down, so I’d love to see that.” Said Peter Constanzi, who likes to visit Wilkes-Barre
  The first step in a possible downtown Wilkes-Barre arts district would be to define a territory.
  Howard Grossman is with the Wyoming Valley Art League: “What we’re trying to achieve is putting together the right geographical area starting with South. Frankilin Street, but also looking at South Main Street because you have Kenny Marquis’ Frame Shop,and we have the art league here, we have the Sardoni Galley moving.”

One of the main reasons for having a formal arts district here in Wilkes-Barre is to bring people out to enjoy the beauty that the downtown has to offer.

  “I think the Wyoming Valley Art Leauge believes it’s part of downtown revitalization.  We’ve seen it happen in other communities across the country.” said Grossman “You really have the makings of a strong arts district the can be helpful in not only maintaining, but improving the atmosphere of downtown, improving shopping & so forth.”
   Robert Anderson is a writer and performance artist who has successfully developed arts districts in other cities.  He agrees that arts districts drive tourism.

“If Wilkes-Barre wants to thrive as a city, I think that having an arts district would be a very, very important part of that.”   “if you go to a city, if you go to a community that has a very strong arts district, you will sense it.  You will know it.  That place has a soul.” Noted Anderson.

    Anderson adds that our enjoyment of the arts dates back to the beginning of our existence.
  Anderson: “we’ve had the performance arts around as long as we’ve been alive.  The performance arts are a reflection of who we are, who we want to be, who we have been, and who we really are underneath the surface.”
   Wilkes-Barre’s downtown business association, Chamber of Commerce, and the Diamond City Partnership are all behind the formal arts district idea. 

The next step – get the support and approval of elected officials.

   “We want eventually city council and the mayor’s office to buy into the idea of an arts district.  We eventually want to make a presentation to them once we have our whole package together.” added Grossman



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