Downtown Arts Collaborative values artistic expression

By Michelle Reed

Contributing Writer

The newly renovated Campus Theatre and the recently opened Downtown Art Gallery are just two of the many factors contributing to Lewisburg’s fast-growing art scene. With the help of the Lewisburg Downtown Arts Collaborative, the borough might soon be an exciting destination for art lovers.

“In a broad sense, the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership [LDP] supports regional and community development that fosters the vitality of the downtown core of Lewisburg. As a consequence of its strategic planning process, the LDP identified four strategic collaborative partnerships that support this mission. One of these efforts is focused on economic development, bringing together leaders from the region to focus on strategies to support business development and economic growth. In the course of developing this initiative, the LDP identified a strong and vibrant visual and performing arts environment as one of the inherent strengths of Lewisburg. Clearly, a collaboration focused on the arts made sense. A strong and diverse arts scene is something that distinguishes this community. There is an opportunity for Lewisburg to become an ‘arts destination,’” said Linda Sterling, executive director of the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership.

The Arts Collaborative was established with the goal of encouraging and developing the arts in Lewisburg.

“The Arts Collaborative is intended to support the arts and make the arts more visible,” said Emily Conners ’14, Arts Collaborative liaison. “We are extremely lucky that there are so many great arts happenings in Lewisburg and we want to promote access to such great cultural events.”

Creating a network of artists who practice various types of media–studio art, poetry, music performance, film and more–is one of the objectives of the collaborative.

“The collaborative will allow arts organizations, both big and small, to be connected easily and efficiently, creating opportunities for collaboration to occur,” Conners said.

The Collaborative also aspires to form stronger bonds between the arts at the University and in the greater community.

“The Arts Collaborative intends on strengthening the link between the arts at Bucknell and the arts downtown by including artists and art supporters from all areas of Lewisburg,” Conners said. “Students will benefit from the Arts Collaborative because the more that the arts are promoted in Lewisburg and the more that different artists are connected, the more students will be exposed to many different forms of art than they are already exposed to, which could enhance their Bucknell experience with the arts.”

Rebecca Willoughby, a lecturer in the University’s English department, is excited about the growing relationship between the University and the Collaborative.

“It’s a benefit to all Bucknell students–whether they are in the arts or simply enjoy the arts–to build this bridge between what’s happening in the arts on campus and what’s happening in the surrounding community,” Willoughby said.

“We are thrilled to partner with Lewisburg in our mutual desire to promote the arts and to enhance the reputation of Lewisburg and Bucknell as premier regional arts locations,” said Carmen Gillespie, professor of English and University Arts Coordinator.

“Ultimately, we trust that this initial effort will foster additional relationships and partnerships that will encourage and promote the arts in this community. We hope and expect that groups and individuals who engage in this collaborative effort will find new ways to work together, enriching the community in the process,” Sterling said.

For information on upcoming arts events in downtown Lewisburg, check out the events calendar at www.lewisburgpa.com.


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