Sunday, May 24, 2015

The 2015 Arts on Main Festival

It was a beautiful late Spring day throughout the town of Stroudsburg, PA as its annual Art On Main Festival took place on Saturday May 16th. Although there seemed to be a considerably fewer amount of participants than in previous years, the offerings the event did have were pleasing to the eye and held a thoughtfulness about them which allowed the day to be an enjoyable one. These included artists such as McGoy of “Windows of Art and Things Less Ordinary” and Lauren Livingston and Artisans Erica Reinhardt of “Treasures to Trinkets” and Erica Metrock of “The Forgotten Fountain” who were centered around the town's courthouse in which a weekly event titled, “PoconoArts Squared” enjoyed its 2015 debut. Pocono Soap were also at the PoconoArts Squared area giving demonstrations in the creation of Bath Bombs. A number of galleries were open to share their their creative offering with the public throughout the day including some who held Artists' Receptions in the late afternoon and evening hours which were fun to attend.

I began my day visiting The Soho in The Burg Gallery whose exhibit, “Springing in the Rain” was on display and will be until May 30th. A gallery staff member, Stephen Washington, was outside the venue creating a painting on a canvas while one of the establishment's Artists, Joyce Bambach, presented her work along the gallery's outer wall. The gallery's owner, Andrea Robbins-Rimberg, was inside the establishment greeting visitors to the art with the exuberant energies she has become well known for and making all who met her very glad that they did. The gallery will hold an Artists' Reception on Saturday June 6th beginning at 4pm for their next exhibition titled, “Eye Candy” featuring the work of local artists. The exhibit will continue to be on display until July 30th. Artists are invited to participate in the exhibition and may do so by dropping off their work at the gallery on June 4th and 5th from noon until 5pm. You can learn more about The Soho in The Burg Gallery by exploring their Facebook Page at or their Website at

It was after I left The Soho in The Burg Gallery did I venture to the area of town where the artists and the artisans of PoconoArts Squared were gathered. My visit with them proved to be a pleasant one as I visually partook of their offerings and engaged in some meaningful conversations with the vendors. I also briefly visited the nearby PoconoArts Community Cultural Center whose work for their Annual Members Show filled the walls with their beauty and aesthetic depth. I took a few photos and left vowing to return when the Artists' Reception began a few hours later. I walked the sidewalks of Stroudsburg until I heard music in the distance.

I followed my ears until my eyes were blessed by the sight of the duo known as “Woodrow”, which consists of Theresa Ratcliff on vocals and Brian Brancamp on vocals and Guitar, in the vacant parking lot of Brite Cleaners. The duo played a number of tunes with the transcendent style and interpretations they have become well known. The Classic Rock melodies they rendered filled the heart as the memories they induced brought back the wonderments they incurred so long ago. I then left the couple to return to The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center as the time for the Artist's Reception for their 2015 PoconoArts Council's Membership show was drawing neigh.

A huge gathering of artists and art lovers filled the room as over 70 pieces populated the gallery's walls. To say the work was exceptional would be a gross understatement as the care and love for the medium employed in each piece was amply evident in every aspect of the work. The thought that each artists endeavored to out do themselves for this year's exhibit filled the senses of all who were present. There was an unparalleled beauty in the pieces that were only transcended by the conversations they inspired that gave even more meaning to the exhibit. It was during the reception did guitarist Barry Field set up his equipment outside the gallery to play a gentle assortment of jazz and other musical genres. This enhanced the experience of communing with the art even further.

The exhibit was a juried one and praises came from the gathering directed toward the jurors who met the nearly impossible task of choosing the best of the perfectly rendered pieces to receive the awards the The Pocono Art Council offered. The Jurors were Gairre Henry, Alison Cesare, and Thomas Burke. Awards were given to outstanding works in several categories. The recipients in the category designated as “Oils” were Lauren Livingston who received the 1st place award, Karen Duncan who received the 2nd place award, and David Cook who received the 3rd place award. The recipients in the category designated as “Acrylics” were Steve Kager who received the 1st place award, Stephen Kruger who received the 2nd place award, and Doug Gilbert who received the 3rd place award while Frank Joest was awarded Honorable Mentioned. The recipients in the category designated as “Watercolor” were Will Rothfuss who received the 1st place award, James Gloria who received the 2nd place award, and Paula George who received the 3rd place award while Joan Sayer was awarded Honorable Mentioned. The recipients in the category designated as “Works on Paper” were Mark Ciocca who received the 1st place award, Armando Baez who received the 2nd place award, and Linda Mann who received the 3rd place award. The recipients in the category designated as “Photography” were Clavertis Miller who received the 1st place award, John Yetter who received the 2nd place award, and Laurinda Faye Rubin who received the 3rd place award. The recipients in the category designated as “Mixed Media” were Adia Gibbs who received the 1st place award, Jan Swift who received the 2nd place award, and Janelle Stensby who received the 3rd place award while Pam Mading was awarded Honorable Mentioned. The recipients in the category designated as “Fine Crafts (Functional)” were Lenore Fiore Mills who received the 1st place award, April Field who received the 2nd place award, and Leslie Mulligan who received the 3rd place award. Jorge Cruz received the award in The 3-D Works Sculpture and Non-Functional Category for his piece titled, “Eva” and Leah Gottlieb received the award for Best of Show for her sculpted work titled, “I'll Stand By You.”

In addition to the PoconoArt Members' exhibit being presented in The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center’s Artspace Gallery, their Studio Gallery offered a collection of Assemblages created by the late Morris Berman which were donated to PoconoArts by his daughter, Ilona Marmer. The work incorporates found objects to divulge the contradictions of modern life which depicts both the whimsical and poignant if it. The display of Mr. Berman’s work is an ongoing one and can be explored during the center’s business hours.

The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center is part of The PoconoArts Council which is an organization designed to build the communities in which it serves artistically and culturally by providing leadership, service, and education. It does so by offering avenues for artists to display their work through the center and other galleries, educational opportunities for those who would like to explore and/or enhance their creative natures, and encouragement to those who seek to express and/or support the arts. The PoconoArts Council Members' Exhibition continues until May 25th. Their next exhibition will be their Small Works show with an Artists' Reception scheduled for Friday June 12th beginning at 5pm with the work continuing to be on display until June 27th. Local Artists are invited to participate in the exhibit and the Drop off date is Thursday May 28th from 4pm until 6pm. You’ll be able to learn more about The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center and all it has to offer the creative community from The PoconoArts Council Facebook Page at or from their Website at

As I was ready to leave The PoconoArts Community Cultural Center to continue my adventures relating to the Arts on Main Festival, a sudden and fierce thunderstorm that engulfed the streets of Stroudsburg, PA. I waited alongside the denizens of the gallery stayed within its dry accommodations while waiting for the downpour to cease and partook of the opportunity to share more of our thoughtful love for the arts with each other. The rains subsided and I moved from the center's studio gallery into the main Artspace gallery to leave the premises. I was met by the bluegrass trio known as The Lost Ramblers as they played a tune or two within the room to the delight of those who gathered around them. I then left the gallery and continued upon my Main Street adventures.

It wasn't long until my travels through the still drizzling weather conditions led me to the Origins Gallery who held an Artists' Reception for their exhibition titled, “3 Volley” which is a retrospective of three late creators who all walked different paths in life. The exhibit featured the never before seen work of Hank Aldrich who was a friend of the gallery's co founder Jody Singer, Emilio T. Ranieri who was the grandfather of the gallery's co founder Ashley Fontones of BeastyFeast, and Ed Cormier who was the father of Kevin Comier of Burnt Toad Studios The work was as varied as the artistic approaches found in each artist's renderings. They ranged from ink and crayon drawings to photography to watercolors and Litho prints. The images encompassed the beauty of a flower growing as if from the soul's garden as well as images depicting the horrors of the bloodsport known as war. Together, the pieces on display created a sense of wonder among those who wished they had an opportunity to have known the artists during their lifetimes. However, their wishes were compensated by their ability to thank their survivors for the work and the memories they shared.

Emilio T. Ranieri served in the 70th Heavy Tank Battalion Company B and was a former NYC Sanitation worker, Cab driver, and Kentile Worker in Civilian life. After his death in August 2005, a large amount of ink illustrations and superb photography taken during his time as an insurgent stationed in Yokohama and South Korea after the Korean War were found and are a part of the exhibit. Ed Cormier served in the US Army and was stationed in Germany after the end of the Second World War. His work includes experiments in portraiture and official military photography as seen through the eyes of stoic youth searching for hope after the war. Adolf “Hank” Aldrich served in the Merchant Marines in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters in World War II. His recently discovered lithographs and water color paintings reflect the prolific life of the architect/print maker/film maker.

In addition to the art presented throughout the gallery, the reception hosted an interactive art activity which entailed purchasing a paper cutout of an image and affixing it to a surface that would later be painted in a manner connecting the images to create something magnificent. The evening also featured the band known as “PFENDT” who consists of Tom Pfendt, Nicholas Desouza, and Dee Allen rendering “progressive jams that pull the blues from your soul and pour them into the room like you've got nothing to hide.” This description is quoted from the press release about the musicians that was shared by the gallery prior to the event. However, these words not only reflect the way I would have described the experience but does so in a much better manner. In other words, I couldn't have said it better. Smiles.

The event also included the gallery's now famous Art Raffle that enabled attendees to partake of an opportunity to win some Art at the cost of a raffle ticket. The raffle itself incited a great deal of excited anticipation as each ticket was randomly chosen and their digits were read to the eager gathering until a match was made and the winner would enthusiastically claim his or her prize. The proceeds from both the interactive art activity and the art raffle were used to benefit the Freeland, PA VFW and The Origins Gallery. The Art Raffle conclusion led to a number of announcements relating to the gallery and the art community as well. They were met the astonishing ears of the gathering whose excitement of all that is planned to become manifest filled their hearts and imaginations. It was in this state did the company begin to share their farewells and relished their communal memories of the evening. And, the memories the evening created would prove to be wonderful ones as the combination of the Art, Music, and Conversation created a 3-Volley experience among the gathering.

The 3-Volley exhibition featuring the works of Emilio T Ranieri, Ed Cormier, Adolf “Hank” Aldrich will be on display at The Origins Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA until May 31st. Their next exhibition is titled, “Napkin Shmapkin - Whatever Happened to Saturday Morning Cartoons?” and will feature the work of local artist Artists who have created images on framed napkins. The Artists Reception is scheduled for Saturday June 6th beginning at 6pm and the exhibit will be on display until June 30th. Artists are invited to share their work for the exhibit by dropping their endeavors off at the gallery on Thursday June 4th from 5pm until 8pm and Friday June 5th from 2pm until 6pm.

The Origins Gallery in Stroudsburg, PA opens its doors to emerging and established artists and performers as they host bi-monthly (mostly) themed art exhibitions featuring artists from the local and surrounding areas. They also offer performances given by quality local talent which include musicians, poets, and actors along with a variety of workshops and classes designed to magnify the creative instinct that lies within. You can learn more about The Origins Gallery and how it serves the community by exploring their Facebook Page at or their Website at

As I journeyed home from my full day in Stroudsburg, PA, I reflected upon all I had experienced during the Arts on Main Festival. The art and music that was presented throughout the day was seasoned with the camaraderie all art lovers share. This made it an enjoyable and enriching day which I look forward to partaking in next year with the hopes that the festival will be expanded to and beyond those presented in the past. You’ll find more photographs taken throughout the day in The 2015 Arts on Main Festival Gallery at

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

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