Osterhout Free Library Hosts Variety Of Art Events

March 15, 2018

The library may seem like an unusual place to view art, but at the Osterhout Free Library art prevails.

From its self-guided art tour to its monthly DIY Craft Nights, the library makes sure to keep its doors open to artists of all kinds.

When the organizers of Wilkes-Barre’s Third Friday Art Walk reached out to the library to be a venue for the arts event, Youth Services Coordinator Elaine Rash jumped at the opportunity.

“People don’t always think of the library as an arts venue, so we make sure to have special events for each art walk,” Rash explained. “The library is normally closed during the hours of Third Friday, so we thought it was good to do something different that isn’t just going to the library to check out a book or use a computer for schoolwork. It can be a place to see art on display.”

During each Third Friday event, the Osterhout Free Library, 71 S. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre, caters to a variety of artists, often focusing on poets and authors to conduct readings, but it also hosts local musicians like Zayre Mountain as well as visual artists.

In addition to the featured artist each month, the library is home to a self-guided art walk within the central library. Many of these paintings were accumulated over the years from the “Friends of the Library,” who aim to purchase a piece of artwork annually from the Fine Arts Fiesta to hang at the Osterhout. Other paintings were commissioned, including the paintings of the landmark windows in the Children’s Department — each window matches the exterior of the library and features a scene from a classic fairytale.

“We wanted to do (the art walk) so people would be aware of the artists that exist locally,” Rash said. “It’s great that we can have it in a sort of confined space (downtown)... to be able to walk from venue to the next to see art and music. It’s a great way to see downtown Wilkes-Barre.”

During every July art walk, the Osterhout also holds a “Family Fun Day Extravaganza.” This event kicks off earlier than the normal art walk, as it takes place outside and is for the whole family. These events offer children’s art activities, games and free popcorn and snow cones.

For many other programs at the Osterhout, art finds its home as a learning method. At toddler storytime events, each child creates a craft project associated with the story to help them learn and understand the context in a new way. At adult DIY Craft Nights, participants can learn to create items ranging from flower vases to cactus planters.

“The arts have always been important to me,” Rash said. “I used to be involved in local theater, so I was anxious to see the library contribute to this great event. People walk from one place to another, they see various types of art and we’re kind of in the middle of it all here (at the Osterhout).”

Contact the writer: cjacobson@citizensvoice.com; 570-821-2061; @CVcljacobson on Twitter

Osterhout Free Library

Address: 71 S. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre

Hours: Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Saturdays in July and August, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Closed Sundays

Contact: 570-823-0156 or reference@luzernelibraries.org

Online: www.osterhout.info or Osterhout Free Library on Facebook