Complete guide to the 2017 Celebration of the Arts

Celebration of the Arts Guide 2017

The Lewisburg Celebration of the Arts returns with a Saturday festival featuring a new layout, “Chair-ity” auction and a museum on wheels.

More than 10,000 visitors are drawn to the borough for the annual showcase, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The festival gives them plenty to see. More than 130 artists are slated to display their wares along seven blocks of Market Street — from Front Street west to Seventh Street. It’s the main event of a two-week celebration of the visual and performing arts in the Susquehanna Valley.

There’s an indoor exhibit and sale at the Packwood House Museum and photography show at the Himmelreich Memorial Library, both of which have opening receptions Friday. Saturday’s festival is followed by Sunday’s Plein Air Event, with outdoor painting at three scenic sites in Lewisburg including the Dale Walker Engle House.

Live performances, gallery openings and free workshops are scheduled over two weeks leading to the Celebration’s curtain call with Lewisburg Live! on May 13 — where eight musical acts perform throughout the night at borough cafes, eateries and taverns.

“It is really focused on the arts and people’s experience with the arts,” said Lewisburg Arts Council member Sara Kelley on what sets the festival and the entire celebration apart from other spring and summer art festivals.

There’s another experience in store for visitors. Saturday’s arts fest will cater to the needs of those in the mood for a showcase of the culinary arts — barbecue, fried food, authentic Mexican dishes, Egyptian cuisine and, oh, so much more. There are 30-plus vendors set to sell food and drink at four different locations within the festival area.

The day is also marked by live music, a Middle Ages Encampment and a Community Commons area to meet representatives of area nonprofits, both at Hufnagle Park.

Barbara Baker is the celebration’s featured artist. A member of the arts council herself, she said she had not a clue her fellow members were planning to promote her work in the medium of colored pencil. Instead, she planned to nominate others.

“I was shocked. They did it behind my back,” said Baker, whose work is on display at Faustina’s Gallery, 229 Market St. “I feel honored but it’s kind of scary for me. I don’t usually set up a booth. But I’m going to have fun.”

Lewisburg Area High School’s National Art Honor Society will be featured in Hufnagle Park, where student works will be offered in a silent auction. Proceeds benefit the Lewisburg Children’s Museum.

It’s not pottery or paintings the students created, but repurposed chairs from the former high school. The chairs are decorated in a number of themes — outdoors, outer space and the style of famed graffiti artist and painter Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Some are modified to fit the theme. Erik Temple, 18, a senior, built a tree branch from one corner of his forest-themed chair.

“The chair is made of wood so it’s kind of going back to its origins,” Temple said.

Using a chair as a canvas, so to speak, presented unique challenges the young artists hadn’t encountered.

“The way you had to think, what parts will people see when someone is sitting down,” said Hope Woolway, 19, a senior.

The 2017 VanGo! Museum on Wheels will be revealed when the 31-foot Winnebago pulls in to the festival at Seventh and Market streets. The traveling exhibit comes from the Susquehanna Art Museum, which chose original, museum-quality works to display including interactive animation, videos, 3D printing and digital painting.

Saturday’s weather is forecast to be cloudy early with a chance of showers in the afternoon. The high temperature is predicted to be 78 degrees.

Parking can be a challenge. With that in mind, organizers from the Lewisburg Arts Council arranged for a pair of shuttle buses. Visitors can park at the former Wal-Mart on Route 15, next to Weis Markets, and catch a ride downtown every 10 to 15 minutes. There are four stops in the festival area. The shuttle runs back and forth from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Cyclists can ride into the festival and get free valet service at the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail’s intersection with Market Street from Earl’s Bicycle Store and Walk It! Bike It! Lewisburg.

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