PITTSTON — With the art revitalization taking place in Pittston, painter Jan Lokuta is asking local children play a part in it.
Lokuta will be hosting children ages 3 and up, along with interested adults, from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7 at St. Michael the Archangel Byzantine Catholic Church to paint a sketch of the actual church.
“From the Western side of the Fort Jenkins bridge in West Pittston, I went and did a sketch of the church in the late afternoon when the sun was setting,” he said. “The sun is lighting up the scene and then I take that sketch and transfer it to a panel which is 3-foot by 4-foot and then I have kids participate. I supply the paint and equipment and I have them paint the panel.”
The project will take place and will coincide with the church’s 100th anniversary.
Lokuta said he is expecting anywhere from 12 to 20 participants and said how the painting turns out is all up to the kids.
“I try to keep (the sketches) simple, without a lot of detail and the large format makes it easier for kids to paint,” he said. “Any mistakes or last minute highlights I will do that after the day is over. I try to leave the kids’ creation as close to what they applied to the panel as possible.”
After the painting is completed, Lokuta said, he will give it back to church pastor Fr. Gary Mensinger.
Lokuta has been hosting painting sessions like this since 2008 for such well-known events as the Wyoming Valley Riverfest, the Pittston Riverfest, the Wilkes-Barre ChalkFest and the West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival.
He said he likes to depict scenes along the Susquehanna River, which he said makes the Wyoming Valley “very distinctive.”
Paintings he has done with local children can be found in places such as the Greater Pittston YMCA, the Nescopeck State Park in Drums and the Wyoming Valley Montesorri School in Kingston.
Although Lokuta is from Milford, he has ties to the greater Pittston area, having grown up in Dupont.
St. Michael’s, he said, holds a special place in his heart.
“My mother’s family belonged to that church and my parents were married in that church,” he said. “Since I was a kid I would, on occasion, attend Divine Liturgy services. I’ve been familiar with that church my entire life.”
Lokuta hopes to share his love for the church with other local residents and said he can’t wait for the event.
“People just have to show up,” he said. “We will be in the church hall, below the church, and I’ll be there from 12 to 3 p.m. People don’t need special talents or training, all they need is an interest in creating something to help celebrate the history of the church.”