News Column

City celebrates late artist, muralist with art events

May 30, 2014

By Gabriella O'Grady, Republican & Herald, Pottsville, Pa.

May 30--The City of Pottsville business community came together Thursday to celebrate the life of the late artist and muralist Dave Naydock.

Hundreds of people came out to enjoy Dave Day 2014 events held all day throughout the city and to support the Pottsville native's vision of an artists' community.

Dave Day was created "to promote art in and around Pottsville ... and to appreciate art in your community," Mike Naydock, 54, of Pottsville, Dave's twin brother, said. "I hope that the exposure to his art might inspire someone else."

Dave's artwork was on display at The Greystone Restaurant, 315 N. Centre St., where a crowd gathered about 3 p.m. to hear remarks from city Mayor James T. Muldowney. Muldowney said Dave was a dear friend to him and that he was honored to announce Thursday as the second Dave Day event, celebrated on the birthday of the artist.

Dave passed away Jan. 20, 2013, at Schuylkill Medical Center-South Jackson Street at age 52.

Dave painted murals professionally since 1983. His works include paintings near Pottsville Area High School and Schuylkill Medical Center-South Jackson Street and a mural across from Maroons Sports Bar on Centre Street.

Shortly after his death, his friends decided to create an event in memory of the artist. The first Dave Day was held last year on what would have been Dave's 53rd birthday.

Dave Day was declared a Pottsville holiday last year by the former mayor, John D.W. Reiley.

"I think Dave Day should be appreciated by all artists who loved art as much as Dave did," Angelina Alexander, 9, of Pottsville, said to the crowd of people gathered at the Greystone.

Others at Dave Day events recognized Dave's passion for art.

"He was a passionate artist who poured the history of Schuylkill County into his art in the most contemporary way," Michelle Halabura, an organizer of the event and director of community relations for Schuylkill United Way, said. "He became a mentor to me immediately upon our meeting. He was instrumental to my growth as a community organizer and as a person."

Halabura met Naydock when she reached out to him in 2008 to work on an art show she curated called "Route 61: Schuylkill County Revisited" at the GoggleWorks art center in Reading.

The art show was about "artists who were changing perceptions of what it meant to be an artist from Schuylkill County," she said. "Dave embodied everything I wanted for the art exhibit."

Halabura focused much of her time making the community aware of Dave Day events and hanging art at the Greystone and other locations for this year's celebration.

The Sage Coffeehouse & Tea Garden, 26 N. Centre St., featured some of Dave's art and photography by Johnathan Paroby, while Mud & Maker, 6 S. Centre St., had several Naydock works along with pieces from local artists that were part of the "Dave Day Found Objects" show.

Those businesses held special significance in Dave's life.

"Dave was at Sage everyday," Lorraine Koury, 45, of Pottsville, Dave's companion of 12 years and an organizer of the event, said.

Mud & Maker was a studio location for Dave when it was The Mad Potter.

Other locations open for Dave Day were All Things Good, 209 W. Market St., and Hucklebucks, 114 E. Market St., for "Dave Trivia Night."

A lot of people were willing to work together to put their talents to use, so it was not so overwhelming," Koury said about planning Dave Day.

Many remembered Dave on what would have been his 54th birthday with a smile.

"He was a gregarious guy. He knew a lot of people and could talk about any subject you wanted," Mike Naydock said.

Mike Naydock said one of his favorite pieces that his brother painted was called "Department Store Santa," which was an abstract deconstruction of a picture of a department store Santa Claus.

Mike Naydock hopes next year's Dave Day will go even better than the previous two years.

"Next year's Dave Day is on a weekend so we can get to do more over the two or three days," he said.

Halabura hoped that at the end of Dave Day, the community would have an appreciation of the art.

"It is important to support artists who do what Dave did," she said.

"I'm glad people came out and hope they tell someone else about it," Mike Naydock said.


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Source: Republican & Herald (Pottsville, PA)

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