Destination ARTS!, the initiative that is going to transform Main Street in Waynesboro, PA, into a work of art, has begun the countdown. July 19 is now less than four weeks away, and there’s still so much to do!
“The community is coming together to make this happen,” notes Andrew Sussman, Committee Chairman of Destination ARTS! and Co-President of the Arts Alliance of Greater Waynesboro (AAGW). “It is a lot of work, but it is also very exciting, and the results are extremely gratifying. But we cannot let up for a minute if we are to meet our deadline.”
The first signs of the transformation are beginning to appear. Buildings are being repaired and cleaned, windows are being washed, and materials for displaying the art are being prepared. As you stroll down Main Street, you see Destination ARTS! signs in the windows of the vacant buildings which will be turned into art galleries. Signs promise, “COMING SOON!” Constant updates and photos are being posted to the AAGW website and Facebook page to allow people to follow the progress. Videographer Andrew Gehman is capturing the process as well, for archival purposes and a possible documentary.
There are already more than 30 people on the Destination ARTS! committee or actively involved in helping, and another 100 are being primed to act as “docents” to monitor and work in the galleries when they are open. Others are going to participate as musicians, street performers, art and craft demonstrators, and children’s program organizers. Then, there are the people helping with accounting, insurance, and legal matters; inventory and materials control; and database creation and management (to keep track of all of the art and schedule the many volunteers).
Even so, volunteer coordinator Elena Kehoe says that more people are still needed: “We need help getting the galleries ready, setting up shows, people to assemble and move supplies and equipment, help with programs and events, marketing and publicity, fundraising, and of course a small army to be our gallery volunteers during open hours. ”
Those hours are ambitious. Starting July 19 and running at least through the end of October, the galleries are scheduled to be open every Friday from 5:00 – 8:00 pm, Saturday from 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, and Sunday from 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Other activities are being planned for the last two to three hours of each day. “We want people to know that when they come to Waynesboro over the weekend, there will be something interesting and entertaining for them to do on Main Street,” Sussman explains. “And afterwards, we hope they will take some time to eat in our exceptional restaurants and award winning chocolate stores, and visit all of the other wonderful things that are going on at Renfrew Park, Pen Mar Park, the Appalachian Trail, and elsewhere in the area. ”
Meanwhile, the Art Selection Committee is hard at work, contacting artists from across the country and reviewing applications from those who wish to participate in the show. The art will begin to arrive in early July and will be stored at the Furniture Market warehouse in town. Businessman Harry Morningstar is a supporter of the DA effort, and his large storefront showroom is being nearly emptied so it can be used to showcase a very special exhibit called “Home Grown Art” — featuring the work of professional artists who grew up in the Waynesboro area and may or may not still live there. Other gallery buildings will be used to showcase sculpture, ceramics, photography, and other special exhibits.
The curators of the show are Marjorie Tressler, Tom McFarland, and Jeanie Woods, and as they fill the first seven galleries, they will already be thinking about the next ones to open. The gallery exhibits will change every six weeks, ensuring a continuing freshness to the event. “Every artist we have spoken to has enthusiastically agreed to participate,” says Tressler, “We will be showing the work of some of the most highly respected artists in the Mid-Atlantic region. All of the art will be for sale, and I hope that people will return to see the exhibits often.”
In addition, Cindy Smith, who is on the AAGW Board and is also president of the Waynesboro Studio Art Club, is organizing a large Storefront Initiative which will bring art to an additional 8 to 10 windows in town. “As you walk down Main Street,” says Smith, “we hope that art will be seen everywhere.”
“The goal, ” says Sussman, “is to bring vibrancy back to our downtown, and what is more vibrant than art and music? We want Waynesboro to be a true destination for the arts, and for people to experience the natural beauty and history of our town and its surroundings.”
AAGW hopes that you will put July 19 on your calendar now, with plans to be in town for the grand opening of this unique event.
For more information: Highlight the link on the left and click on “ABOUT THE ARTS EVENT” or e-mail: email@example.com
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