currents

Peeking through

Outdoor art project takes off in Wayne County

By LYLE T. GALLOWAY
Posted 7/14/21

WAYNE COUNTY, PA — The sidewalks of Honesdale and other areas in Wayne County are looking a bit more colorful thanks to a new art project.

The installations are part of a summer outdoor art …

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currents

Peeking through

Outdoor art project takes off in Wayne County

Posted

WAYNE COUNTY, PA — The sidewalks of Honesdale and other areas in Wayne County are looking a bit more colorful thanks to a new art project.

The installations are part of a summer outdoor art project started by the Wayne County Arts Alliance (WCAA) called “You Are Here.”

“They’ve been talking about a summer arts project because we haven’t had one in years. We came up with this idea and it was perfect for an outdoor activity,” said WCAA member Ellen Silberlicht.

Sillberlicht grew up in Honesdale. Before she left the area years ago, she remarked about the lack of art in town. Upon returning, she was determined to bring art to the area.

The project consists of 35 brightly painted wooden panels with two holes cut out, much like the photo doors at carnivals and fairs. Many of these photo panels line Main Street in Honesdale; others are scattered throughout the county in areas like Hawley, White Mills and one as far north as Damascus.

The project is intended to be a wholesome, scavenger-hunt-like affair, where families and groups can take the day and seek each one out. It’s also a good way for tourists and visitors to explore the region and all it has to offer.

“With the pandemic and the way the world is, I think it’s all about joy; we need more joy in the world,” said Silberlicht.

Thirty-six local volunteering artists lent their passion and their paintbrushes to the project. One such individual was Narrowsburg-area artist Brandi Merolla.

Merolla is known for vintage pop art-inspired designs. For her board by the Dime Bank in Honesdale, she chose to depict the zany world of Golden Age cartoons.

“I kind of let it take me where it takes me; I wanted some movement and animation in my piece. I’m really captivated by 1930s and ’40s cartoons,” said Merolla.

Merolla was proud of the work done by the WCAA, so when she heard about the project, she signed on to volunteer.

“I think it’s fun, it engages the public and I love that you kind of have to walk or drive to different locations,” she said.

She remarked that the project reminded her of a similar one that she worked on: the Sullivan Catskills Dove Trail, in which brightly painted doves were placed all throughout Sullivan County for the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Festival.

Wayne County-area businesses received letters in the mail from the Wayne County Arts Alliance regarding placement in front of their buildings. Each paid a sponsorship.

Some of the placement of the boards was randomized, but for others, it was more intentional. For example, a board with a conductor and a steam locomotive overlooks the Wayne County Historical Society. A rendition of a worker and a mule is located at the Dorflinger Factory Museum, a reference to the D&H canal. Funnily enough, a board depicting two dung beetles sits by the office of Dr. Reynolds, a gastroenterologist. Painted on the back of the board is a list of interesting facts about—you guessed it—dung.         

Located on the back of each board is a QR code. When scanned, it will lead the user to a page with a list of panels and artists, along with a map with the location of each panel.

The wood used for the project was generously donated by Home Depot. Dirlam Brothers provided the paint. The Wayne County Community Foundation also provided the WCAA with a grant to fund the project.

It wouldn’t be a community art project if only the artists were having all the fun. The Wayne County Arts Alliance is looking to get more audience engagement from the people putting their faces through the boards. They are encouraging people to shoot and submit short videos depicting the two figures on the boards interacting.

“During the pandemic, I learned how to create videos and edit them... There’s one that we did where there’s two spaceships, so my two friends did something about finding this new place, Honesdale,” said Silberlicht.

After creating their videos, people are encouraged to post them to Instagram under #waynecountyarts.

Silberlicht hopes that the project will return again next year, whether the panels are placed at the Wayne County Fair or re-sponsored.

The panels will stay up until Honesdale’s Harvest and Heritage Days in October, but they will have to be taken down before the snow falls.

To see a full list of locations of the boards, visit www.waynecountyartsalliance.org/you-are-here.

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