News Column

Annual festival in Schuylkill Haven celebrates art, music, community

June 6, 2014

By Eric Peddigree, Republican & Herald, Pottsville, Pa.

June 06--Artists will open their studios as runners take to the streets of Schuylkill Haven on Saturday to support the local art culture.

The fourth annual Rock the Block will be held at the Walk In Art Center, 220 Parkway. The celebration will be split into two events, a 5K run/walk and an open house at the former shoe factory.

Nena Mazzei-Schmidt, Walk In Art Center executive director, said the event serves not only as a fundraiser, but also as an opportunity to show people what is happening at the art center and in the local art scene.

"It's a community event more than anything," she said.

The event will kick off at 9 a.m. with the 5K run/walk around the Schuylkill Haven Historical Trail. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. at the art center parking lot. Cost will be $25 or $18 if the center runs out of official event T-shirts.

Mazzei-Schmidt said last year's race drew 220 participants. She said it's hard to predict how many people will take part in the race every year due to the rush of morning registers.

"We have a lot of people at the last minute," Mazzei-Schmidt said.

The race will begin at the art center parking lot and progress through the borough's downtown to The Island. Mazzei-Schmidt said the runners will get the opportunity to watch the paddlers participating in the Schuylkill River Sojourn embark on their journey. The 16th annual trek to Philadelphia begins Saturday from The Island. The 5K participants will then make their way back to the art center for snacks and beverages.

Special medals will be awarded by age group, which will be divided by gender.

The second part of Rock the Block is a open house for artists on the center's third floor. Admission is free. Mazzei-Schmidt said Rock the Block is an expanded version of the monthly open house, which is held on the first Saturday.

Slated from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., the event will feature an art fair, children's art activities, food and drinks, and live music from acts such as Dave Derbes, Dave Evans and Hank Ahrensfield.

"What we do is to make sure people know we are here," Mazzei-Schmidt said.

Mazzei-Schmidt said the open house was moved inside the art center this year after hot temperatures affected last year's event. The move also prevents any threat of rain.

"If it rains, Rock the Block is indoors so it won't be a problem," she said.

The Walk In Art Center is a nonprofit artist incubator, featuring studios, classrooms, a multipurpose room and museum. Among the center's goals are education, tourism and historic interpretation.

For more information about the Walk In Art Center or Rock the Block, contact Mazzei-Schmidt at 570-732-3728 or nena@walkinart


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Source: Republican & Herald (Pottsville, PA)

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