WILKES-BARRE — Just as New York City has SoHo and Paris has Montmartre, now Wilkes-Barre has the second block of South Main Street.
Not that the second block hasn’t been there for decades, but organizers of the city’s Third Friday Art Walk have designated the area, bordered by Northampton Street to the north and South Street to the south, as Wilkes-Barre’s “Art Block.”
“We wanted to focus on where the biggest concentration of our audience was,” said Art Walk chairperson Anne Rodella, explaining the second floor gallery at Marquis Art & Frame and the Wyoming Valley Art League’s Circle Centre for the Arts are typically the biggest draws during the monthly Third Friday events which take place from mid-spring to late summer.
Now that the Sordoni Art Gallery has relocated to the same block, she expects that compact area will become an even greater hub during the Art Walks, set to begin this year on May 18 and continue through Sept. 21.
“The biggest change is we’re focusing our outdoor portion in the second block,” Rodella said, predicting art lovers will enjoy helping to paint a mural or watching a large-scale puppet pageant outdoors.
“We will still produce our Third Friday map (that includes such venues as King’s College’s Widmann Gallery, off North Main Street, Rodano’s restaurant on Public Square and the Osterhout Library on South Franklin Street) but any business that falls outside the second block will be invited to come join us, if they want to bring some portion of an arts display. Everyone is welcome. No one will be excluded,” Rodella said.
Art Walk events are popular across the country, Rodella wrote in a news release. “Not only do they encourage a wider appreciation of the arts in the community, they also foster patronage in neighboring restaurants and businesses.”
During the September 2017 Art Walk, Rodella said, the Sordoni Art Gallery experimented by offering a live demonstration of the artists of the Keystone College Mobile Glass Studio, which “was met with wild success.”
This year, a Rhode Island-based group known as the Tape Artists will create a temporary mural out of painters tape while conducting leadership workshops during the third week of July, and plans are in the works for other artistic endeavors to take place in the Art Block.
Art Walk dates this year are 5 to 8 p.m. May 18, June 15, July 20, Aug. 17 and Sept. 21. The events are free to the public.
Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT.