The Face of Irish Music: Photographs by Robin Hiteshew

Irish traditions and folklore are steeped in the fabric of Lackawanna County.

To celebrate this vibrant part of our community, the Lackawanna County Commissioners Patrick M. O’Malley, Jerry Notarianni and Laureen A. Cummings are sponsoring a unique exhibit and panel honoring Irish Culture. The Face of Irish Music: Photographs by Robin Hiteshew opens on First Friday April 7 at the Lackawanna County Government Center at The Globe, Wyoming Avenue, Scranton, from 5 – 8 PM.  Mr. Hiteshew will be in attendance along with the Sligo-style music of renowned fiddle player Brian Conway, who is featured in one of the portraits.

The exhibit documents decades of musicians playing traditional Irish songs.  It was recently on display at the Pennsylvania State Capital Building for the month of March. It is funded by the Consul General of Ireland New York, The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, and the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, Philadelphia.

Mr. Hiteshew began photographing Irish music and musicians soon after he joined the Philadelphia Céilí Group in 1978, a non-profit organization whose mission is to present and preserve traditional Irish culture. The artworks were taken over a 36-year span and celebrate the vitality of Irish music in Ireland and the United States.

On Saturday, April 8, from 11 a.m. – noon at the Government Center a panel on Dancing in the Kitchen: The Role of Music in Irish and Irish American Culture will examine how traditional Irish music has shaped the identity and culture in Ireland and the United States. Distinguished panelists include: photographer Robin Hiteshew, musician Brian Conway, poet John E. McGuigan, and cultural anthropologist Dori Panzer.

Both events are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Maureen McGuigan, Deputy Director of Arts and Culture, at 570.963.6590, ext. 102, or email

Arts & Healing

The world of art impacts people in a number of different ways – socially, recreationally and spiritually.

Continuing in that vein, a panel of distinguished speakers from a variety of disciplines will examine the impact the arts have on healing.

The Lackawanna County Arts and Culture Department and the Lackawanna County Arts, Culture and Education (ACE) Council will present an “Afternoon with the Arts: How the Arts Help us Heal” on Saturday, April 1, in the Ladies Parlor on the second floor of the Scranton Cultural Center, 420. N. Washington Avenue, from 1 pm – 3 pm.  The program will run from 1 pm – 2 pm and be followed by a reception. Both activities are free and open to the public.

The panel discussion will be moderated by arts therapist Erin Joyce and feature Mary Lou Chirbirka a visual artist who runs Good Grief Art, a program to help people during the grieving process;  Donna Doherty, Physician Liaison with Traditional Home Health and Hospice; and Dr. Mladen Jecmenica, a physician with The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education.  Mark Reinhart, a musician, Qigong practitioner and owner of Three Pure Rivers Studio, will perform at the reception.

The group’s discussion will center on the healing quality of various arts disciplines and how they can aid in all levels of recovery for serious trauma, loss, and dealing with the stresses of everyday life.

 “Afternoon With The Arts” is modeled after the successful “Wake Up With The Arts” program, an annual breakfast now in its ninth year and features a national arts industry speaker.  The concept of Afternoon with the Arts is to integrate the arts into dialogues across multiple disciplines.

The Lackawanna County Arts and Culture Department was formed in 2004 and is supported through an education and culture fee that generates approximately $1.2 million for the purpose of enriching the County.  The office offers community grants, public arts programming, workshops and lectures and oversees the operation of the Electric City Trolley Station and Museum.

To register for the workshop, contact the Lackawanna County Arts and Culture Department at 570.963.6590, ext. 106, or email

2017 Lackawanna County Arts & Culture Recipients Announced

The Lackawanna County Commissioners Patrick M. O’Malley, Jerry Notarianni and Laureen A. Cummings announced the 2017 arts & culture organizations and individuals who have received grant support for their various community projects, events and activities.


Financial assistance was awarded in two forms: program stream grants and community project grants.


The program stream grants are larger awards to arts and cultural non-profits who receive a yearly allocation from the Lackawanna County Arts and Culture Department.  Their operations are reviewed every other year to gauge need, their projects and general growth.


Community project grants are one-time disbursements for a specific activity administered by an organization or individual.  Applicants may reapply every October for this form of funding.


The applications for both revenue streams are reviewed and scored by a panel to help determine if the programs, projects or activities should be funded. Both grant programs are modeled after the process that The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts utilizes.


The financial resources for the grants come from the Arts, Education & Culture tax, which is assessed annually at a rate of approximately 1.0 mill.


Also at the February 8 awards ceremony, the County’s Arts and Culture Department and the Pocono Arts Council will be recognizing the Pennsylvania Arts Council’s “Partners in the Arts” Project Stream Award recipients from our region.

The amount awarded for 32 program grants this year was $214,200.  The total for 22 project grants was $50,000.

Local anchor institutions The Everhart Museum and The Scranton Cultural Center – received their annual education/arts & culture allocation of $240,000 each. The Lackawanna County Library System received $60,000 to operate the County Law Library, with $180,000 being held for emergency capital expenses/improvements.


The 2017 program stream grant recipients are:  Abington Business & Professional Association (Ice Festival) – $4,000; Actor’s Circle – $6,000; Anthracite Heritage Museum & Iron Furnaces – $7,000; Arcadia Chorale – $3,000; Artists for Art Gallery – $6,000; Ballet Theatre of Scranton – $7,000; Boys and Girls Clubs of NEPA – $5,000; and Broadway Theatre League – $15,000.


Also, Catholic Choral Society – $3,000; Choral Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania – $3,500;

City of Carbondale – Pioneer Heritage Festival – $4,000; Classical Guitar Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania – $1,200; Electric City Television – $30,000; First Friday Scranton – $6,000; La Festa Italiana – $7,000; and Lackawanna All County High School Band – $1,000.


Also, Lackawanna Historical Society – $20,000; Lackawanna River Corridor Association River Fest – $3,000; Lackawanna Heritage Valley – Heritage Explorer & Santa Train – $1,000; Lyric Consort – $3,000; Mostly Opera – $1,500; N.E.I.U. #19 – Poetry Out Loud Program – $1,000; North Pocono Cultural Society – $3,500; and Scranton Civic Ballet – $7,000.


Also, Scranton Jazz Festival – $10,000; Scranton Music Association – $3,000; Scranton Public Theatre – $3,500; Scranton Shakespeare Festival – $6,000; St. Patrick’s Day Parade Association – $6,000; St. Ubaldo Festival – $6,000; The Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic – $16,000; and United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA Illumination Arts After School Program and Arts projects at Project Hope – $15,000.


The individuals and organizations receiving 2017 community projects are: Scranton Fringe Festival – $2,900;

Ghostlight Productions – $2,800; Doug Smith – $2,800; Lisa Cassella – $2,700; Marylou Chibirka – $2,700; Julie Esty – $2,600; Rosemary Hay – $2,600; and Michaela Moore & My Colley – $2,600.


Also, First Presbyterian Church – $1,900; Waverly Community House – $2,500; Ihor Shablovsky – $2,350; Covenant Public Concerts – $2,350; Friends of the ARC Auxiliary – $2,300; Shannon Keith – $2,200; St. Joseph’s Center – $2,100; and Margo Azzarelli – $1,100.


Also, Marywood University – $2,000; Leela Baikadi – $2,000; Matthew Rupcich – $1,800; Sujata Nair-Mulloth – $1,900; West Scranton Hyde Park Neighborhood Watch, Inc. – $1,900; Mark Dennebaum – $1,900.