Artist of the Month: Maria Augelli-Grudeski

Artist of the Month - Maria A_G

Maria Augelli-Grudeski is shown with her featured painting, Mount Sainte Victore, after one by Paul Cezanne.

By Maria Augelli-Grudeski

I began painting in 2013, when I joined the group at Dunmore Activity Hub’s class. I remember one January night in 2013, my friend Rosemary Barrett, who is one of my art classmates, invited me to join the Hub’s art class. She said, “I have something you’ll enjoy!”

Rosemary and I had participated on the library board and Mostly Opera, so this was our third venture together.

I met Rosemary at the class, and she surprised me with art supplies, and gave me guidance. What a new passion opened up for me, along with everlasting friendships.

Our art instructor, Jill Swersie, was, and still is, so personable and welcoming. She directed me to seek art ideas from life, nature (we have fresh air sessions outside), family, and places I’ve visited. Mostly she encourages us to have fun with it.

Two friends of mine, who are former art teachers, have served as an inspiration to me. One is Louise Ray Hoban, my high school art teacher, with whom I have recently reconnected. The other is Janice Nappi, a long-time friend who brought paints to my poolside.

My first painting in art class was a sunset in winter, which required a great deal of help from Jill. Since I enjoy Impressionism, I tried that in my feature painting, “Mont Sainte-Victoire,” originally painted by French artist Paul Cezanne (1839-1906). I like the free lines and expression. In sixth grade, my teacher brought a copy of this painting in to our class and I’ve been inspired since. I think we had to memorize the painting and learn about the artist. It had a sing-song title.

Also in the photo is “The Grand Jete,” a portrait of a ballerina inspired by The Nutcracker, probably in “The Waltz of the Flowers.” Finally, there is “Starry Night,” inspired by Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh’s painting (1853-1889). What a production that was! My classmate, Pat Riley, came to my rescue with a paint spatula, which saw me through.

In sixth grade, my teacher brought a copy of this painting in to our class and I’ve been inspired since. I think we had to memorize the painting and learn about the artist. It had a sing-song title.

All in all, every class is worth it. The center provides a welcoming atmosphere. We have tea time and tasty snacks. Our center’s director, Alison Boga, is a breath of fresh air. She is so instrumental to the center’s smooth flow.

During the holidays we have a holiday party and in the summer we have a barbeque, along with fall and spring art shows which coincide with Scranton’s First Fridays.

Our spouses are invited, and my husband, John Grudeski, who is also a HUB member, enjoyed the events and meeting our class members.

This class is just a grand time for all!


Artist of the Month: Marilyn Hope

Artist Marilyn Hope

Marilyn Hope is shown with two of her favorite paintings of a boat and a cat.

Marilyn Hope of Clarks Summit is the March Artist of the Month at the Dunmore Activity Hub.

Mrs. Hope, who started coming to the art class approximately seven years ago, explains that she was looking for a hobby and saw an article about the class in the newspaper.

“I thought I would try painting, although I had no previous experience,” she recalls.

Mrs. Hope gets her ideas mostly from pictures and searching magazines. Her two featured pieces this month include a cat painting, which reminds her of her cat who passed away a few years ago.

“My cat was huge and this picture resembles him quite a bit,” she says.

Her boat painting was inspired by her favorite place to visit in Portugal.

“That is Nazare, which is a fishing village, and in the summer, a tourist attraction,” she explains. “My late husband and I always visited in the off-season when there were not many people there. I wish I could have captured the view from the mountain above looking down–it was spectacular!”

Marilyn enjoys coming to art class each week. “Our instructor, Jill Swierse, always demonstrates new ideas in these classes, and shows us how to obtain our goals. I’ve also made new friends, which has made the class very enjoyable.

The artist reveals that the center is a nice place to visit every week. “There are many activities that can be explored and the staff is very helpful,” she notes. “And Allison, the director, is one of the center’s assets!”

Art for Community Progress Report

lacka coLackawanna County Arts and Culture Department and The Scranton Area Community Foundation jointly released Art for Community Progress, the report generated from a series of Art for Social Change round tables sponsored by the two organizations and conducted in 2016.

The report provides a series of recommendations that arose from the conversations of over 150 individuals, representing a variety of organizations.  The goal of the series was to share ideas, discuss challenges, and offer resources to improve our community.

The four forums focused on the impact the arts have on various sectors of the community and explored opportunities for utilizing the arts to continue to enhance the quality of life in Lackawanna County.


Though many ideas were discussed, five key areas of focus emerged, which could have measurable impact on Lackawanna County’s future. They are:

  1. Creation of an Arts and Culture Asset Map
  2. Establishment of a Community Ambassadors Program
  3. Development of a Cross Sector Collaborative to Design a Large Scale Community Project
  4. Implementation of a Comprehensive Multi-sector Advisory Council focused on Equitable Transportation strategies
  5. Design of Leadership and Capacity Building Programs for the Arts and Culture Community

safSome actions have already taken place towards addressing some of these goals. The Scranton Area Community Foundation in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has implemented an Equitable Transportation Council comprised of over 80 regional participants with the goal of making transportation more accessible.

In addition, Lackawanna County has formed an ARTS Engage! Task Force aiming to expand arts and culture programming in County services and to develop a large scale community project.  This group is also looking at working on creating an inventory of arts and culture opportunities and better ways to market events.

The full Art for Community Progress  report can be downloaded for free on the website of the Scranton Area Community Foundation.


Artist of the Month: Rosemarie Quinn

Artist of the Month - Rosemarie Quinn

Rosemarie Quinn of Scranton has been named Artist of the Month for February at the Dunmore Activity Hub.

Ms. Quinn began painting six or seven years ago with the class at the Hub. Her featured painting is Princess Angelina–Daughter of Chief Seattle.

She was inspired to paint the picture after reading about Indians in the Southwest.

She has been inspired in general by her mother, who was a wonderful painter. Rosemarie finds ideas for her paintings “everywhere.”

Regarding the painting class, she says, “I love the class. Everyone helps everyone and the atmosphere is wonderful. Jill Swersie is a wonderful teacher. She never criticises, she only helps us.”

As far as the Dunmore center itself, Rosemarie finds it, “Very warm and welcoming. Alison Boga, the director, is so friendly and a very welcome addition.”


Quinn is shown above, holding a painting of old shoes. At bottom left is her featured painting, Princess Angeline–Daughter of Chief Seattle, inspired by her reading about Indians in the Southwest.