Art comes in many different forms in downtown Carlisle, whether it is made with a paintbrush, a spatula or a set of film equipment.
This eclectic mix of arts served as foundation for the Downtown Carlisle Association’s May First Friday event. The “Art Walk”, which Friday kicked off the 2016 First Friday series, allowed participants to tour a variety of businesses in the downtown Carlisle area – each featuring a different artistic special, activity or showcase.
“I think that this event is important because it shows the cultural depth of our community,” said Carlisle Arts Learning Center (CALC) Executive Director Becky Richeson. “It shows that we are not just focused in one area. We have many different types of artists across downtown and we care deeply about all of the arts.”
“I think it is important, when talking about art, to show things that get people thinking,” said Harmony Society Owner Amber Martin. “I think the cool thing about the First Friday ‘Art Walk’ is each store or business has their own idea of what is important or what their clients might like or what pushes boundaries.”
Tour participants experienced everything from balloon art displays at Bosler Memorial Library – created by children from the Meet the Artists program – to sculptures at Harmony Society created by Enola artist Chad Whitaker as part of his “the dream containments” display.
“The (sculptures) are all from reclaimed materials – used bed sheets, used frames (and) different stains and varnishes,” Whitaker said
“(The Clothes Vine) has a lot of good quality and fashionable clothing and I brought in some of my jewelry to kind of accent and compliment what they already have offered here,” said Myrriah Jannette, a jewelry and stained glass artist whose work was featured at the Clothes Vine.
Displays each served a different purpose, covering a range of themes and aesthetics.
“Basically I create art that has a connection to the common man,” Whitaker said. “I don’t want to make art just for artists. I want to make art that people from the community can see and appreciate and take something from. They have details that you can put your own history into by saying, ‘I can relate my childhood to this form, this shape (or) this texture.’”
“We did (the balloon pieces) around two and a half weeks ago,” said Bosler Memorial Library Youth Services Assistant Elaine Klock. “There is a lot of information on how (art) can help to develop social development in preschool children and (teach them) about shapes. Visual art can be a very important part of learning.”
But the art also served as a vehicle to spread awareness of the downtown Carlisle business community in general, while strengthening its ties to residents both current and new.
“I think that art is just good for people’s overall happiness – to look at it and feel it and talk about it and to support local artists,” Jannette said.
“I think the sense of community is the main goal of the First Friday events,” Richeson said. “We belong to a great community and the community likes to support other members of the community. Through the different themes of the First Friday, it is all moving towards building a better sense of community.”
Featured attractions and participating businesses included Trout Gallery at Dickinson College, The Clothes Vine, Harmony Society, Helena’s Chocolate Creperie and Café, Whistlestop Bookshope, Bosler Memorial Library, Carlisle Theatre, Georgie Lou’s Retro Candy and Gifts, Southside Deli, Marjorie’s Gems, Lili’s Place Country Market and Café, Artist Market of Pomfret Street, Pat Craig Studios, CALC, Jack and Jill Interiors, Market Cross Pub, The Greatest Gift, Nancy Stamm’s Galleria, 2nd Time Around Consignment Shop, American Artisan Gallery, Happenings on the Square, DCA Information Booth, East Side Neighborhood Association, Spring Leaf Financial, Castlerigg Wine Shop, Cumberland County Historical Society, Todd Hall of the Historical Society and Tutto Bambino.
The First Friday series will continue on June 3 with a “Kids Night Out” themed event.
For more information on downtown Carlisle events, visit http://www.lovecarlisle.com/category/events-2/.