It doesn’t take much talent to become an artist or money to become a patron of the arts this weekend.
Anyone traveling the Art Trail through the Hazleton area today and Saturday can add a few brush strokes to a mural that will hang outside the Hayden Family Center for the Arts.
Mary Veronica Sweeney will turn her mural, “The Hazleton Way,” into a public art project. She invites people to paint with her at the open house of Hazleton LaunchBox, 15 W. Broad St., during the Art Trail hours — 5 to 8 p.m. today and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
When finished, the mural will hang facing CAN DO Community Park on the west wall of the art center, 31 W. Broad St., where a new entrance and canopy will be built.
Because of construction, the arts center won’t be open for the Art Trail, but anyone can donate to help pay for the work, which includes classrooms, an elevator, kitchen, plumbing, wiring and fire suppression system.
The Banking on the Arts Campaign for the art center has raised $1 million, much of it from the Hayden family.
PFNonwovens recently contributed $5,000.
But the campaign will accept gifts of any denomination.
To give, contact Krista Schneider of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress at 570-455-1509 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schneider thinks the Hazleton Art League will be able to move into the arts center by early next year.
For the Art Trail, the art league will exhibit works of three artists, Virginia Dignazio, Michael Delmonico and the late Frank DeBellas, at its gallery, 225 E. Broad St.
Folks can pick up a paper copy of all stops on the Art Trail at the league or retrieve a copy online at downtownhazleton.org.
The trail swings through Beaver Meadows, Hazleton and Conyngham and includes rest stops offering food, ice cream and craft beers.
“It’s more than just downtown because we wanted to make it more inclusive. There’s a lot going on,” said Schneider, adding the murals and art at Elevate Fitness and Wellness Center, 14th and North Church streets, are a late addition to the trail.
The downtown alliance, the art league and other partners are finishing an Arts and Culture Plan for the city. It will supplement a strategic plan that the alliance wrote five years ago, focusing on buildings such as the arts center and other physical features.
“We’re trying to fill in the gaps of where we left off with the strategic plan,” Schneider said.
The Dominican House, Hazleton Area Public Library, three local colleges, Greater Hazleton Historical Society and Pennsylvania Theater of Performing Arts, which is performing “The Addams Family” musical comedy at 7 p.m. today and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, all contributed to the plan.
“The idea is to have this plan, a partnership effort, that focuses on the actual programs, partnerships and specific strategies needed to nurture the vision we have for the downtown (of) cultural expressions, a celebration of arts and economic vitality,” Schneider said.
Even after three decades as a reporter at the Standard-Speaker, Kent Jackson still enjoys meeting people, learning more about the community and sharing stories with readers. He currently covers schools but has reported on local government, health, police and the environment. Regularly, he writes about outdoor sports, wildlife and conservation for the Wildlife page on Sundays. Contact: 570-455-3636; email@example.com