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2021 Scranton PorchFest

Marywood Art Showcases a Book of Kells Storefront at the 2021 Scranton PorchFest

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The Book of Kells at The Workshop, Scranton PorchFest 2021

Marywood Art Department Showcases a Book of Kells Inspired Storefront at The Workshop for the 2021 Scranton PorchFest

The COVID pandemic forced the city of Scranton to shut down its annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in 2021, but that didn’t stop the creative folks of the SCRANTON FRINGE from concocting a fun new way the city can celebrate in a safe, socially distanced way.

Marywood’s Art Department Chair, Associate Professor Christine Medley, jumped at the chance to include her downtown Scranton printmaking studio’s storefront, The Workshop, as a participant in the festivities.

“Coming off the success of the inaugural Scranton Ice Festival in February," said Medley, "it was great to have another opportunity to participate in a community art event again. Because of the pandemic, First Fridays in Scranton were not happening for a good 6 months, and then unofficially with very limited participation. The Workshop typically participates in First Friday, many times featuring Marywood student exhibits, so PorchFest seemed like a great opportunity to involve students to create something fun.”

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On the opening day of the event, Professor Medley thanked the Marywood Art department faculty and students on Facebook for help in getting the storefront ready for the event. The Book of Kells decoration inspiration came from her Marywood colleague, Dr. Christa Irwin, Associate Professor of Art History, who said, “The inspiration for the window design came from the 9th century Irish illuminated manuscript, The Book of Kells, famous for its intricate and extensive decorations. The manuscript is always a favorite of students and myself in Art History I!”

Lucky for everyone, Professor Medley has traveled to Ireland and acquired a stained glass coloring book featuring Kells drawings, which they used as their coloring pages and source of imagery for the big window design and snakes.

Dr. Irwin’s 8yr old daughter, Grace, also participated by lending her expert coloring skills to the storefront decorations, sharing, "I really liked coloring the sheets and filling in all of the details.” 

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In addition, Professor Medley was quick to thank the Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County (CTC), which provides instruction in seventeen different career areas, for printing the banner above the door. The banner was designed by Marywood senior graphic design major, Autumn Bohner. Professor Medley also thanked junior graphic design major, Nick Arcarese, for his Celtic snake window cling design and help constructing snakes. The Celtic snakes were screen printed on paper and cardboard, then assembled by Professor Medley, Professor Irwin and daughter Grace, and student Nick Arcarese. The snakes played to the story that St. Patrick drove them all out of Ireland. Professor John Meza assisted with the installation.

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L-R: Nick Arcarese, Junior Graphic Design major; Dr. Christa Irwin, Associate Professor of Art History at Marywood University

If you haven’t heard of SCRANTON FRINGE yet, definitely check them out. They are advocates and agents of culture, and they're always creating new ideas to foster community and creativity. Their newest creation is Scranton PorchFest, a city-wide event centered on community, Scranton PA's diverse cultural history, and a joyful celebration. As a city-wide event, anyone with a porch (or storefront, or yard, or garden or fence) can join in.

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Taking inspiration from work in New Orleans, the organizers were encouraging people to transform their homes (or storefronts, yards, fences, etc.) into HOUSE FLOATS or PORCH/STOREFRONT FLOATS. From there, they handle all the publicity. Their ultimate goal was to connect artists/creatives with potential paid work that benefits the city. Each homeowner and business owner is 100% responsible for their own designs including any financial arrangements between any hired creatives. In addition, the organizers invite everyone in the community to contribute tax deductible donations to support the artists. To make a donation, visit the PorchFest Partners at the Scranton Area Foundation.

The 2021 Scranton PorchFest takes place March 20-28, 2021 throughout the city of Scranton PA. A free MAP of all the locations of the participants was created to guide visitors through the storefronts. The Workshop is located at 334 Adams Avenue, between Linden and Mulberry Streets. Stop by to see this beautiful design and #shoplocal! #ScrantonPorchFest

For more information about Marywood’s participation in this event, contact the Art Department by phone at 570-348-6278 or by email to art@marywood.edu. #MarywoodArt

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