ARTS THRIVE event organizers. From left to right: Mary Lynn Brannon, Cathy Arvonio, Lee Ann Cerra, Doreen Coleman, Roxann Farber, Ruthanne Jones and Janan Loomis.

ARTS THRIVE event organizers. From left to right: Mary Lynn Brannon, Cathy Arvonio, Lee Ann Cerra, Doreen Coleman, Roxann Farber, Ruthanne Jones and Janan Loomis.

The arts are back in Carbondale.

After missing a year due to COVID-19, the Women to Women: THRIVE will host the 3rd annual free community ARTS THRIVE event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in downtown Carbondale.

The event will showcase artists and artisans across a variety of disciplines including fine arts, visual arts, culinary arts, mixed media, healing arts, painting, photography and more. This year’s event will also allow vendors for the first time as well.

Open to all ages, the event will have interactive and educational components, with attendees able to watch demonstrations and learn about how the artists create their work. The interactive aspect is what makes the event so unique and helps bring awareness to the diversity of art, organizer and THRIVE member Mary Lynn Brannon said.

“Anyone that applies as an artist or artisan must agree to be interactive with the public, and that’s what we want them to do,” Brannon said. “We want the painters to talk to people and show them how they paint and how they learn to paint.”

The event, organized by 15 THRIVE members who are associated with the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, has more than 30 artists and vendors signed up. This year, many are coming from areas such as North Central Pennsylvania, Brooklyn and Philadelphia.

“We’re getting a lot more outreach this time,” Brannon said. “The last two years were mainly just local folks, but it’s bringing more people into the Carbondale area, and we like that.”

Indeed, bringing people into Carbondale and showing them what the city has to offer is another goal of the event.

“It brings people to Carbondale

who would normally not come to Carbondale,” Brannon said. “It gets the word

out that there are things going on in the upper valley.”

Carbondale City Clerk Michele Bannon echoed her statement.

“It gets people familiar with the city, and it shows them what Carbondale has to offer.”

The event will feature a mixture of

both professional and amateur artists

and artisans, as well as vendors who

are all excellent at what they create and produce. One participant is Mayfield painter Cathy Arvonio.

“I’ve been working with oils for about 20 years,” Arvonio said. “I love working with oils because I love the rich colors, and I love how much texture you can get from oil paints since it’s so thick.”

Arvonio, who is also a THRIVE member, got her start in oils in her mid-30s after attending a painting group which was headed by art teacher and family friend Paul Roginski, who urged her to join since she always loved to draw and sketch during high school.

“I said ‘no, I can’t paint,’” Arvonio said. “But he said, ‘no, c’mon and try. You might like it.’ So, I went, and I started painting, and I just took to it. I fell in love with it, and I never looked back.”

Since then, Arvonio has sharpened her skills over the years, participated in art shows across the country and even worked as an instructor. Her paintings are for sale in The Art Factory of White Mills.

“I love creating, and I love working with colors.” she said. “I just enjoy it, I really do.”

Showcasing talent like Arvonio’s is exactly what ARTS THRIVE is all about, organizers said. Both Brannon and Arvonio are hoping for a large turnout for

this year’s event. They hope people are excited to get outside for a festival after dealing with COVID-19 restrictions for more than a year.

“People want to break out,” Arvonio said. “The past year had everyone cooped up, and now they can get out and enjoy

the creativity.”