Monday, October 06, 2014

Partying in the Street of Art

On Saturday May 24th 2014, a group of artists stood before a large paneled wall running along the 600 block of the Main Street section in Stroudsburg, PA. Armed with brushes, paint, and imagination they began to adorn the street with murals paying homage to the businesses that were effected by a devastating fire that occurred on the site in 2006. This monumental endeavor became known as Project Street Art: Part I.

On Saturday September 27th 2014, another group of artists endeavored upon Project Street Art: Part II which consisted of creating murals of various designs and depictions upon structures located in 10 different sites in the Stroudsburg and East Stroudsburg, PA area. As with Project Street Art: Part I, the day of the painting event was filled with colors, imagination, creativity, and inspiring conversation. However, a great deal of music which was performed by a number of musicians who rotated from one site to another was added to the event which enhanced the experience greatly.

It was with Project Street Art: Part I and Part II as a backdrop did The SOHO in the Burg in Stroudsburg, PA host an After Party on Friday October 3rd which afforded art lovers throughout the community an opportunity to meet the artists who participated in the Projects and those who supported their endeavors. The large gallery was filled with conversations and excitement while the gathering of friends previously established and newly met munched upon the variety of tasty morsels provided by Flying Merswine Catering which is located in East Stroudsburg, PA. Lines of chairs were set up so those who were present could experience a celebratory ceremony which was designed to honor those involved in Project Street Art.

I arrived at the gallery as Shane Izykowski (founder and driving force of Project Street Art) was concluding his welcoming remarks to the audience and was in the process of introducing Jeff Kash, ESQ who is the President of The Pocono Arts Council with whom Project Street Art has partnered with. His words added insight to the significance of the endeavor while inspiring those who heard his thoughts to explore their own creative natures and how they could be utilized for the betterment of the community. The conclusion of his sentiments were followed by a series of awards and plaques distributed in recognition of the tremendous talent and dedication the receiver gave to the endeavor.

The presentations began with those who assisted the artists who created the murals in their work. Each recipient has gained the reputation in the artistic community through their own creative endeavors and their skillful hands lovingly assured the high standards of quality the murals they assisted with would be established and maintained. The presentations continued as individuals such as Fran O’ Hagan who provided food for the artists during the days of the events, Andrew Oldfield who provided help wherever he happened upon while riding on his bicycle, Tassy Gilbert who acted as a liaison and melded the partnership of The Pocono Arts Council and Project Street Art so their level of cooperation could be at it’s most productive, Sean Soulo of Sean Soulo Photography who served as the official photographer for the event, Flying Merswine Catering whose quality of their cuisine was evident in the emptiness of the trays they were contained in when I arrived at the gallery, and others humbly accepted their award as they reciprocated the love in which it was given.

Awards were also given to the musicians who participated in the Project Street Art II event as their presence added a dimension to the day they shared their talents with the visual artists and proved to be an inspiring backdrop to those who heard their songs. They included Juggernaut String Band, Woodrow, and Renard Cohen along with the many others who were not present during the ceremony. Awards were also given to the businesses who had given their permission to have their exterior was touched by the artists’ hands. They included Studio 8 which located on 6th Street, Lockwood Village which is located on Ann Street in Stroudsburg, PA, and many others.

Additional awards were presented to a number of individuals and groups before the artists who created the murals were called upon to accept their prestigious gifts. Those Artists who were present to do so included Jill Swersie, Rin Lack, Addam Rae Wolff, Sean Turrell, Nova Chan, Anna Kaszupinski, Joy Taney, and Adia Gibbs. Those who were not present due to creative commitments they endeavored to fulfill in other parts of the country included Illma Gore and The Chroma Dolls The loving arms of appreciation extended from the audience as their heartfelt applause filled the air with the soulful dreams the artists’ work had inspired.

The evening continued as special words were shared by those intimately connected with Project Street Art and are instrumental to its enduring success. They were Jody Singer, Sonia Leticia, Ashley Catherine Fontones, and Shane Izykowski. Their collective and individual insights to the intricacies of Project Street Art provided an everlasting understanding and affection for the endeavor among the gathering which enhanced their desire to support it and its future manifestations. This support was expressed in a number of spontaneous sharings from members of the audience which included some rousing words given by noteworthy artist Shawn Queenan and the gallery’s owner, Andrea Robbins Rimberg, who took the stage to express her exuberant, heart felt support while reminding the gathering that the work Shane Izykowski and his Project Street Art compatriots have done has changed the face of Stroudsburg, PA forever.

It was after these thoughtful sentiments did Shane share the much anticipated news of what Project Street Art will do next. The first announcement was the establishment of an Application known as the Art Map App that could be downloaded and accessed through the technology found on Smart Phones and similar electronic devices. The Art Map App will contain information about the sites of the murals that were created as part of Project Street Art Part I and II as well as art related events and opportunities initiated by the entire local creative community. The second announcement related to a calendar that is currently being produced featuring images of the murals that were created during the Street Art Projects.  The final announcement related to an endeavor Project Street Art hopes to embark upon in the near future which would be to increase the number of art galleries throughout Monroe County so local artists and art lovers could experience more exposure to the vast creative estuaries of the imagination.

It was with these final enticing glimpse into the future did the ceremonial aspects of the evening come to a conclusion. Those who stayed after the removal of the chairs to share their person to person expressions of thanks and admiration to those involved in the evening’s festivities danced and laughed during the remainder of the night away while music played from the apparatus skillfully maneuvered by DJ AddamBombb (aka Addam Wolff). The remainder of the evening also included a Photo Op session which took placed in front of a setting resembling a wall with the Project Street Art insignias upon it. Attendees were encouraged to pose to have their photograph taken by the event’s official photographer. The mixture of dancing, laughing, and posing eventfully led to the party’s conclusion with those leaving the scene filled with the anticipatory thoughts of the future of Project Street Art and it’s life giving effects on the local creative community. You’ll find more photographs taken during the Project Street Art After Party in the Special Events 2014 Gallery at

Project Street Art was initiated by members of Stroudsburg’s creative community who are led by Shane Izykowski. As mentioned earlier, Project Street Art has created an Art Map App that can be downloaded and accessed by Smart Phones and other devices, will soon produce a calendar reflecting their achievements, and will be soon assisting those who would like to establish art galleries in their abodes. Project Street Art welcomes all art lovers to participate in the planning and execution of their endeavors. To learn more about Project Street Art along with how you can participate and support their future endeavors, please explore their Facebook Page at

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