A party for art

First Posted: 11/11/2014

It’s almost party time at the Afa Gallery and at least two Abington area artists are in on the fun.

Annmarie Ciccarelli, of Dalton, and Joe Statuto, of Clarks Summit, each donated a piece of artwork to the Holiday Art Auction, the non-profit’s biggest fundraiser of the year, scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22 at the gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton.

Up for bid in the auction is a vast selection of media, including oil, watercolor, sculpture, pottery, batik, photography, wood, acrylic, mono prints and more. The evening will feature live music by Friends of Doug Smith, hors d’oeuvres, desserts, champagne and open bar. Tickets are available at the door for $40 and reservations can be made by calling 570-969-1040.

Ciccarelli, who attended the annual event in years past and looks forward to it each year, described the atmosphere as “full of energy.”

“The gallery is beautifully decorated,” she said. “It’s always a great assortment of delicious food. You can grab a drink and mingle as you walk around and view the artwork, pick out your favorites and get ready to bid.”

Ciccarelli’s donation to the auction is a mixed media piece on muslin, titled “Missing.” It is 60-by-20 inches and custom framed. The piece is one of several in “Sketch Book Scraps,” a series of works she created by systematically revisiting experiences she recorded in journals and sketchbooks over the last 20 years.

“The journals and sketchbooks have been destroyed in order to create a new expression of the events and experiences which took place in the chosen time period,” she said. “Change in nature throughout the seasons is a recurring theme throughout my journals. Birds and migration remind me to be flexible and leave things behind, and return when the time is right.”

Statuto’s donation is a digital photography composite, titled “Echo Chamber.”

“It’s actually one image,” he said, “but it’s used over and over to create the pattern that it is.”

The original image is a photograph of exposed rafters in a ceiling at the Eastern State Penitentiary museum in Philadelphia. The auction piece is a 20-by-24-inch framed print with total dimensions of 27-by-31 inches.

Statuto, whose photographic work includes photojournalism, weddings and fine arts, is also a painter. He said he draws his inspiration for both art forms from nature and master pieces of the impressionist era.

“The bottom line, I guess, is everything really comes out of nature,” he said. “So whenever an artist is looking for direction or is kind of lost, by going back to nature, it’s usually the best way to get back to your roots.”

In addition to the artwork to be auctioned off, a raffle will be held for “Pears Again,” an award-winning 11-by-17-inch pastel by this year’s event’s featured artist Joe Kluck, of Simpson. The piece won first place in the July 2014 Endless Mountains Council for the Arts. Raffle chances are three for $5 and available from Afa Gallery members or at the gallery.

The Afa, or “Artists For Art,” Gallery is described by both Ciccarelli and Statuto as the “cornerstone” of the Northeastern Pa. art community.

“There is always something fun going on at AFA,” Ciccarelli said, “from the Weekly Life Drawing Group, First Friday, Holiday Parties and of course, the Holiday Auction. It is a welcoming space to view current art, opportunities to volunteer and get involved in the art community, meet new people and catch-up with old friends.”

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