By Bill O’Boyle, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE — The Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association on Wednesday took time to honor the local artists who volunteered their time to paint holiday scenes on windows throughout downtown.
John Maday, president of the downtown group, dispensed from the usual business to honor the artists for their work in helping to give the city’s downtown a warm, holiday feel.
Maday said some 27 windows were painted on downtown businesses this year. He said since the “Window Wonderland” program began in 2010, artists were recruited from within the organization and from interested parties who have became aware of the project and volunteered their time and talent.
“Some of the artists have been with us from the beginning and continue to paint the same windows,” Maday said. “We are also fortunate to have so many artists to paint the windows.”
“Hopefully, it can also offer an opportunity to encourage potential customers to visit one of the businesses involved and possibly others,” he continued. “Our organization’s goal is to promote, market, improve, develop and advance the economic well-being of Downtown Wilkes-Barre and this project is designed for that purpose.”
As a video slide show played in the back of the room, each artist was called to the front at Rodano’s on Public Square and given a small gift.
Sharif Branham, of White Haven, has volunteered for the program every year. He loves to paint Christmas scenes that include Santa Claus and Christmas trees. He said his daughter, Tasmin, also volunteered this year.
“I’ve always loved art,” Branham said. “And the kids enjoy seeing the windows all painted for the holidays.”
Stephanie Boback, of Nanticoke, works at the F.M. Kirby Center. Boback has painted the Kirby’s windows the last two years and plans to keep doing it.
“This project is something that everyone can enjoy, even if you’re just passing through the downtown,” Boback said. “It really adds to the city’s beautification.”
Cathy Fiume, who works at the Diamond City Partnership, coordinated the painting project. She said the goal each year is to have the windows painted before the downtown Christmas parade in November.
Maday closed the meeting by announcing upcoming events: Winter Along the River, Feb. 18; St. Patrick’s Parade on March 11; and an Easter egg hunt on Public Square, March 24.