Festivals, art projects enliven cities

Festivals and public art projects are the topics of the week.

The first Waterfire of the summer will be Saturday in downtown Sharon, Pa. Just like last year, three Waterfire festivals are scheduled (the others are Aug. 23 and Sept. 27).

Waterfire was an instant hit when it debuted last year. The daylong event includes artisans and craftsmen, raku firing, open-air painting, a farmers market, a birds of prey exhibition and a dozen musical performances. Admission is free.

The highlight is the ritualistic lighting at dusk of 50 braziers anchored to the surface of the Shenango River and filled with aromatic cedar. It’s a unique spectacle that creates an air of anticipation that builds as the evening sets in.

Go to waterfiresharonpa.org for information.

In Youngstown, the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Italian Festival will be July 24-27 on the parish grounds near Choffin Career Center.

This authentic Italian festival ($4 to get in), modeled after those in major cities, includes entertainers, tons of food and an extensive children’s area.

Patrons can park at these nearby lots: Choffin Career Center, Levinson Tire, Advantage Vinyl, P&L Heating, Humility of Mary Health Partners and St. Cyril’s church. A fleet of golf carts will ferry folks to the grounds.

Go to mtcarmelitalianfest.com for information.


A fundraiser will be Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. at Nove Gatto Gallery, in the Erie Terminal Building, corner of West Commerce and North Phelps streets, downtown, to raise money to paint a mural on an abandoned market near Youngstown State University.

YSUscape, a student organization devoted to beautifying the campus and surrounding neighborhoods, is sponsoring the mural project, with help from McKelvey Gallery, which is in the Knox Building, downtown.

The mural would be on the side of a building that once housed R&S Market, just north of the campus, on Elm Street, across from Dorian Books.

YSUscape hopes to raise $3,000 for the project, with any excess funds going toward other beautification projects.

Admission to the fundraiser is $8 ($5 for students and youths).

The fundraiser will include food and beverages from local restaurants and businesses, including Martini Bros. Burger Bar, V2, Avalon Downtown, MVR, Suzie’s Dogs and Drafts, One Hot Cookie, YSU Athletics, Kravitz Deli, Giant Eagle, Rust Belt Brewing and Friends Roastery.

The mural will be painted by art students at YSU, as well as Anthony Marchionda of YSU-scape. Offering artistic guidance on the project are Jacob Harver of the Knox Building and local artists Jason Van Hoose and Lezlie Thordike.

Marchionda is a telecommunications and marketing student at YSU, and the son of Dominic Marchionda, principal of NYO Property Group, a downtown real-estate developer.

Nove Gatto Gallery itself is a partnership between NYO, whose projects include the Erie Terminal Building and the McKelvey Gallery.


NEXT Best Art, a nonprofit organization, is working to turn a display window at Silver’s Vogue Shop on West Federal Street in downtown Youngstown into a public art space.

The window gallery, on the west wall of the store, faces Phelps Street. It will feature works by contemporary artists from around the world.

NEXT Best Art launched a Kickstarter campaign that will end at noon Aug. 1. If funding is attained, work on the project will begin in August, and the gallery will open in September.

For information, go to Facebook.com/nextbestart. To donate, go to Kickstarter.com and search NEXT Best Art.

The space will have three exhibits per year, with internationally recognized artist Franz Spohn preparing the first: an installation piece in his signature mosaic style that will pay homage to the former Idora Park.

NEXT Best Art was founded by artist James Pernotto, whose studio has been housed above Silver’s Vogue Shop for more than 30 years. His goal is to open his own gallery.

Courtney Waskin of Youngstown is managing the nonprofit group. Email her at info@nextbestart.org.


Anita Lin, former artistic director and executive director of Ballet Western Reserve in Youngstown, has been named to the Advisory Committee on the Arts for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Lin, of Youngstown, was recommended for the seat by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)

“Ms. Lin has excellent experience in the performing arts and will do well advising the administration on such matters,” Brown said in a press release.

Lin is currently the director emeritus of BWR. She is a former dancer for the Cincinnati Ballet.


The weekly Jazz in the Park series begins Sunday and runs through Aug. 31. All concerts in the series, presented in conjunction with the city parks department, are from 3 to 7 p.m.

First up will be B-3 at the B&O Station park, 530 Mahoning Ave., just across the river from downtown. The rest of the schedule is:

July 27: Rick Ward and Co., B&O Station.

Aug. 3: TBA, Lincoln Park.

Aug. 10: Howard and the Point Five Band, B&O Station.

Aug. 17: Matt Corey, B&O Station.

Aug. 24: TBA, Lincoln Park.

Aug. 31: Stoned Soul Picnic, TBA.

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