PITTSTON — The end of the 2017 Second Friday Art Walk series was the start of a new vision for the city’s summer staple.
During the final art walk of 2017, Jenkins Township resident Joleen Lezecki ran damage control — the Second Friday Art Walk committee member spent Friday evening traversing the length of Main Street in the city making sure artists had what they needed and patrons were enjoying the festivities.
Lezecki joined the committee at the behest of performance art coordinator Rose Randazzo. Next year, Lezecki will take over that role.
“I’d like to grow it,” Lezecki said when asked about her goals for the art walk. “We haven’t really talked about it yet, but I have a list of things I want to present to the committe and hopefully between all of us we can decide what we think might be good. I have so many ideas that I’m so excited about.”
Randazzo said she wanted to bring “new energy and a new prespective” to the art walk, which will enter its fifth year in 2018.
“The art walk’s always evolving,” Randazzo said. “To be able to do that, be fresh, be different, you have to bring in new people, new personalities, young people. Joleen is perfect for the role.”
The step back will also allow Randazzo to take a step forward in other facets of her life.
“My son is in his sophomore year at Scranton Prep and I want to spend as much time with him as possible,” she said.
Randazzo said she’s excited to experience the art walk as a visitor — that future visit, Lezecki said, may include a wider artist range.
“I’d like to see more younger artists,” Lezecki said. “I’d like to see maybe some of the schools get involved.”
Randazzo isn’t the only long-standing organizer stepping down. Maria Livronge, owner of Pittston City’s Art on Main gallery and founder of Second Friday Art Walk, is removing herself as visual art coordinator in favor of an advisory role within the committee.
“My husband and I are artists as well and we have our own business,” she said. “We do glass and metal work, and my plate was too full.”
Livronge nominated someone she called “energetic and capable” for the position: photographer Mary Kroptazich.
Kroptazich, of Duryea, said she contacted Livronge to find out how she could become actively involved in the event she spent two years capturing still images of.
“She was excited and happy that somebody wanted to participate more,” Kroptazich said. “After meeting with her several times, she decided she wanted to hand the reins to me.”
Kroptazich said she hopes to get more artists involved and bring a broad range of artistic styles to the festival. Her philosophical approach is inclusion.
“No matter what they sell, whatever kind of craft somebody’s into, don’t be scared to reach out, to come to us, to showcase,” she said. “Don’t be scared, that’s the main thing. It seems like a lot of artists don’t think their work is good enough, and I want people to know it is.”
Gerry Stankiewicz has shown at Livronge’s Art on Main for the past two years, but on Friday, the Wilkes-Barre resident personally sold his work at Second Friday Art Walk for the first time.
Stankiewicz, an illulstrator specializing in pop culture, said creatives should take Kroptazich up on her offer for 2018.
“It’s probably the best way for somebody to get their work out there,” Stankiewicz said. “It’s a good start for them.”