PITTSTON — With approximately 100 fire hydrants in the City of Pittston, work is cut out for the artists helping with Arts on Fire: Pittston City.
Arts on Fire: Pittston City is an effort to raise money to paint hydrants with designs and themes. Fifteen hydrants from Kennedy Boulevard to Sullivan Park and the Pittston City Little League field have been selected. The first hydrant painted sits directly outside the Pittston City Fire Department.
Currently, several hydrants have been started with one completed.
During a recent trip to Philadelphia, Brian Matyjevich, a member of the Pittston Parks and Recreation Committee, noticed hydrants near that city had been painted. That’s when the wheels began to turn. Matyjevich spoke with Main Street Manager Rose Randazzo and city officials and, in the next couple weeks, several fire hydrants throughout Pittston City will be transformed into works of art.
“As far as I know, the most successful program like this was in Harrisburg about 10 years ago,” he said. “They did 51 hydrants. The quality wasn’t as great as ours can be. We’re the new art town so we will commission artists to do them.”
Kristen Rinaldi, a key contributor to Michael Pilato’s Inspiration Mural on Main Street, will be the first artist to put her paintbrush to a hydrant. Rinaldi finished the first hydrant with a fire theme, just outside the Pittston City Fire Department. Franks Christopher, an artist from Florida who is finishing a mural on the side of Boden, will be tasked to finish two hydrants in the next few days.
Christopher will work on an Italian-American Association theme hydrant directly across from the Columbus Statue on South Main Street. He will also work on a Greater Pittston Ambulance Association hydrant at the corner of Market Street and South Main Street.
According to Matyjevich, supplies for each hydrant will cost about $20. Each hydrant will be painted by a commissioned artist with an expected cost of around $150 going to the artist. A GoFundMe page has been created to help offset the project’s costs.
Matyjevich hopes to have $3,000 to start. Approximately $1,500 has already been raised for the project.
“What’s great about this project is the hydrants are throughout the entire city,” said Matyjevich, who expects to have the majority of hydrants in Pittston City painted. “We can start getting the artwork and start reaching the neighborhoods.”
Themes will play a major role in what each hydrant represents. For example, hydrants around the Pittston City Little League field may have a baseball theme.
“We’re working on some common themes like the Tomato Festival, St. Patrick’s Parade and Irish Festival,” he said. “The ones closer to the homes, we’ll do a theme of that area.”
Themes have played a major role in the several hydrants already started.
The hydrant located in front of the Pittston City Fire Department is painted all blue with flames coming up from the bottom. The hydrant near the Columbus Statue currently depicts the Italian flag. The one near the Greater Pittston Ambulance Association will depict an ambulance with the association’s logo.
Matyjevich made it clear that, if a business opts to donate to the cause, they won’t just have their logo on the hydrants.
“This is art,” he said. “Maybe we’ll get a logo in there somewhere, but this is art.”
Matyjevich urges local businesses and organizations to participate in the cause. With a donation, an organization can buy a hydrant painting. Paint Pittston Pink has already commissioned a hydrant, Matyjevich said.
Anyone interested may contact Matyjevich on the Pittston City Pictures Facebook page or by email at [email protected].
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick