HONESDALE—“Show me your community. What does it look like?”
Should this question find its way into your ears from the mouth of a friend or family member not of the area, what would the answer be?
Given the vast diversity of local landscapes, from heavy forest, to cultivated farmland, to denser-populated towns dotted around, and to the spattering of surface water features in Wayne County and the surrounding areas, what does community here look like?
Putting that very question to residents and the population at large, The Cooperage Project (1030 Main Street, Honesdale) compiled a collection of 222 photographs over the summer and wove them into The Tapestry, a hometown art installation/fundraiser adorning the building's interior from September 14 through October 12.
A summation of the themes and overall feeling of The Tapestry is also available in a condensed, 50-photo coffee table book available for purchase.
“The idea,” explained Katharine Brown, Chair of the Cooperage's Board of Directors, “was that this is a project that weaves together people and places, and the outdoors and indoors, and all of this weaving together of community.”
The Tapestry captures aspects both magical and mundane from the Northern Pocono Mountains and Upper Delaware River region through the eyes of everyday resident photographers, both amateur and professional alike.
“We had everything from a parking meter to sunsets on the cliff, and everything in between,” said Executive Director Ryanne Jennings. “So, people really do think differently about what the community means and what makes up our community's tapestry.”
Program Manager, Arrah Fisher added, “As someone who's only been in the community for two years, there's a lot that we have here that's beautiful. The people here, the community members, and the natural beauty...the products and the services that are offered.”
Brown conjured the idea for the community art installation around two years ago, reaching out to Jennings and Fisher to manifest it.
Jennings explained they hoped The Tapestry would “...integrate some more people into The Cooperage Project and what we're about and all the things that go on here.”
She added, “It's [The Cooperage] a place for everyone and we wanted to extend it as a collaborative installation for the community to participate in.”
Community members can get their first glimpse of The Tapestry next Saturday, September 14, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at The Cooperage's Across the Delaware event, “that'll feature artists from both sides of the Delaware River from the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance community and the Wayne County Arts Alliance,” said Jennings. “So, it's the perfect time to debut this.”
Submissions to The Tapestry were “...more than we expected.” said Fisher. “And hopefully it will build and we get more photos. I think the bigger the project, the better for everyone.”
Speaking to the community-minded nature of The Tapestry, Fisher added, “I think it's also great to see all of the things that we share and have in common in this time, especially when there's a lot that can divide us. But to see we all live in this beautiful community and take advantage of all that it has to offer.
Brown added, “We're all so busy in our day-to-day lives here and making things work, but it's [The Tapestry] just a moment to step back and realize really how lucky we are to live in a place like Wayne County and see it through other people's eyes...”
Encouraging as many residents and visitors as possible to stop in, see The Tapestry, and take a piece of it home with them, Jennings noted “I think it'll be a really beautiful exhibit.”
The Tapestry will remain in place throughout September, visible during all the programs and events held at The Cooperage until October 14.
Upcoming events include an acoustic bluegrass jam on September 18, game night on September 19, a Shakespeare viewing and contra dance later in the month, and other.
A full list of upcoming calendar events for The Cooperage is available online under the “Happenings” tab at thecooperageproject.org.
Individuals may also request to view The Tapestry specifically on a non-event day by calling the office (570-253-2020) and scheduling a time.
Given the wealth of community submissions to The Tapestry, Brown, Jennings and Fisher hope to be able to repeat the project in the future, calling for different themes and ideas.
Prints and books for purchase
In addition to uniting the community in a shared artistic experience, as a fundraiser The Tapestry will help The Cooperage bring the community together in its myriad programs.
“I encourage readers to support The Cooperage Project by purchasing the book or a print,” said Jennings. “All the proceeds will come back to The Cooperage Project and help with kids lunch parties, all the performances, Pop-Up Club, and all the things that we have going on.”
Individual prints are available for $25 or two for $40.
Books are available for $35 each or two for $60.
One hundred fifty books were printed locally by Quality Printing, with many already reserved for purchase.
“ If we sell out, we'd love to print more if there's still an interest,” said Fisher.
Jennings noted a book or print is “...a nice gift. It's a nice memento of our community.”
Brown added to this stating, “It's also nice for people that journey here if they have a second home, or if they've come to Honesdale annually to visit family. I feel like it's a nice-sized memento of the area.”
For more information about purchasing pieces of The Tapestry and other financial support of The Cooperage, call 570-253-2020 or visit thecooperageproject.org.