AFA’s mission is:
• to foster an appreciation of the visual arts
• to present the visual arts to the Northeastern Pennsylvania region
• to provide support to regional artists.
Artists for Art was founded as a regional visual artists' organization whose purpose is
to promote the appreciation of the visual arts, and to provide support for regional
AFA is a venue for rotating monthly exhibits of artwork by regional artists. The works of artists from outside this region are also exhibited to broaden the community’s exposure to the arts.
Other art related events such as workshops, poetry readings, lectures, figure drawing sessions and performance art also take place at the Gallery.
On the Second Saturday of every month, AFA hosts a series of educational programs. This includes workshops, artist talks and demonstrations from our exhibiting artists and artists in the community.
AFA Gallery’s Third Tuesday Life Drawing group provides self-guided sessions with a nude model for artist of all experience levels. These two hour long sessions provide opportunity for artists to improve their observational drawing skills as well as getting a better understanding of the human form at a nominal cost. Fees for this event are $2 for students, $5 for members and $7 general admission. Artists are required to bring their own materials (paper, pencil, charcoal, etc.) Tables, chairs and easels are provided by a generous grant offered by the Scranton Area Foundation. All are welcome, students under 18 require a parental permission slip.
AFA was founded in 1988. A local artist had a studio on Lackawanna Avenue in Scranton.
A number of fellow artists got together and began to think about how beneficial it would be to create a network of artists in NEPA. They felt there were a number of artists in the region but didn’t know each other very well. This group decided that each person would invite five other artists to a meeting in one month.
The following month 30-40 artists got together in the studio. They decided to form an organization for artists —to get to know each other and expand the places for exhibitions by networking.
In 1989, the name “Artists for Art” was chosen. They decided to become incorporated, elect officers and create a defined mission/purpose, which was threefold:
||To present the work of regional visual artists to the community
||To foster an appreciation of visual arts in general — that is, to raise awareness of the visual arts
||To provide services for local visual artists
They took on various projects (i.e. raised $5,000 for the St. Frances of Assisi Kitchen), participated in the WVIA auctions, showed work as a group in the Lackawanna County Courthouse and various hospitals. They also coordinated an art lecture series at the Scranton Children’s Library, which was very successful. AFA also hosted a number of social events and parties, as well as founded the Riverworks Show (coordinated by painter Lou Pontone), which worked to revitalize the Lackawanna River, and included a River Day on the Lackawanna and a series of traveling shows in five or six venues.
The next step was a strategic planning session. The Lucen Center for the Arts in Scranton had received a grant for strategic planning. Ty Welles got to know the consultant who was leading it, and he agreed to meet with AFA’s active members for a discussion on future plans. According to the strategic planner, the worst thing AFA could do financially, etc. was to open a gallery. After he left, AFA started looking for gallery space.
Peter Cupple had bought a building on the 500 block of Lackawanna Avenue in order to save it from demolition. He agreed to rent the first floor to AFA. While working together to create the Gallery space, AFA members developed a camaraderie which is still present in many of the members today. The monthly newsletter was also developed around this time as a way to keep this growing group connected to their cause.
There are many activities and organizations associated with AFA. Some of these include First Friday Scranton, Kadampa Meditation Center, Scranton Fringe Festival, Everhart Museum, Lackawanna County Arts & Culture Department, Here We Are in Spain, Northeastern Biennial, #ScrantonLove Public Art Project, Second Saturday, Third Tuesday Life Drawing, Girls on Guard PA and many more!
The funding for AFA comes from a variety of sources. Membership dues, proceeds from fundraising including our Annual Auction, and commissions from works sold in the gallery are all important sources of revenue. Additional funding comes through corporate sponsorship and grants from sources such as the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and Lackawanna County Arts and Culture Department. Above all, AFA is supported through the donation of goods and services from our members. All of AFA’s activities, from structural organization to routine maintenance of the building, are done on a volunteer basis. The time, expertise and energy donated by AFA members are crucial to the survival of the organization.
Conor O'Brien, President
Mark Ciocca, Vice-President
Jay Paulukonis, Treasurer
Sierra Simko, Secretary
Dr. Peter Cupple