PITTSTON — Close friends and acquaintances of Kevin McGroarty got the chance to honor him one more time at a private opening of the Kevin J. McGroarty Memorial Exhibit Friday at the John P. Cosgrove Center of the Pittston Memorial Library.
The exhibit was sponsored by Luzerne County Community College.
A native of Wyoming Borough, McGroarty may now be best known for his self-written obituary when he died July 22, 2014, at the age of 53. But he made his mark in the advertising world as a founding partner of Pyramid Advertising in 1983 and then a principal owner of Rhino Media until 2008.
He also ran a freelance graphic design business called Guns for Hire in West Pittston.
Over 60 pieces of McGroarty’s art were on display, including 10 original pieces loaned to the exhibit by those to whom McGroarty had given them.
Tom McHugh, chairman of the LCCC communications art program, said the purpose of the event was to start a scholarship in McGroarty’s name called the Kevin J. McGroarty Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Communications Arts Scholarship.
“It’s meant to provide a full ride to a student to major in one of the programs in the (communications art) department,” said McHugh. “Since Kevin was a master at all, including painting, computer graphics and audio and video, it was appropriate we had the scholarship in his name. Not only was he an alumnus of LCCC, but he’s hired some of our students and was an adjunct faculty member, as well.”
The exhibit was free, but donations through raffle baskets will go toward the scholarship.
Pittston resident Jane Adonizio served as hostess for the event and shared stories of her friendship with McGroarty, as did those in attendance.
“It meant a lot to me,” she said of being the event’s emcee. “Because he did have so many good friends, but to be asked to be the bridge between some of his friends and the college was a humbling and awesome honor I would have to say.”
Former Pittston mayor Michael Lombardo developed a professional relationship with McGroarty before they became good friends.
Lombardo credited McGroarty to helping his mayoral campaign in 1998.
“When I ran for office, Kevin was on my committee,” Lombardo said. “He did a bunch of ad layouts, rewrote some tasks and then I really got to know him well. It only cost me a case of Pete’s Wicked Ale.”
Pittston is undergoing a major growth in art revitalization that includes the Second Friday Art Walk event in the summer as well as the new Inspiration Mural, Lombardo said, and McGroarty was there for the beginning for the plan.
“I think he helped us get organized and he motivated us,” he said. “He was one of those guys that always knew how to get there from where you were. I think he was a critical part and Rose (Randazzo) would say the same thing. It’s hard to do art things just because you like art, and he always gave us the appreciation piece of being an artist.”
Laura Katrenicz, special assistant to the president of LCCC, spearheaded the event and said it was all about reaching out to friends of McGroarty’s through word of mouth and social media.
Being a close friend of McGroarty’s, Katrenicz was thrilled to see the turnout of over 100 people.
She said it is undecided if the Kevin J. McGroarty Memorial Exhibit will become an annual event.
“There’s certainly no decision not to,” she said. “It hasn’t been discussed yet, but it would be awesome. I personally would love to do that.”
The exhibit will be open to the public during Pittston Memorial Library hours until March 12.