Celebrate Global Interdependence with Art and Improv Activities in Scranton

Imagine making a friend on the other side of the world because of a shared passion for art. That is the connection that one woman in Scranton has with a teacher and artist who immigrated to the United States from Nigeria.  This is one example of the power of art and the interconnectedness realized through The Hexagon Project, a nonprofit based in Scranton that connects teachers and students from around the world through hexagonal themed art. In September, people of Northeastern Pennsylvania will be able to join in that celebration of collaboration.

Executive Director of The Hexagon Project Beth Burkhauser said, “It was so fulfilling to view artwork submitted from schools in New York, Japan and right here in NEPA from the Riverside School District and more…embracing the 2022 theme of Kindness.  Art is such a powerful reminder that we are all connected and often experiencing the same struggles and joys that connect us on a truly personal level.”

International Connections Through Art

One of the invaluable international connections Burkhauser made was to Sunday Olaniyi, teacher and multi-media artist who was living in Nigeria and participating in The Hexagon Project with his students.  Sunday’s journey has led him to immigrate to America and take up residence and work in Scranton with his wife and little girl. He will lead one of the workshops planned as part of The Hexagon Project’s September celebration of interdependence.

Another example of international interdependence is the special display in the gallery that will feature hexagons created by refugees in collaboration with Love Without Borders (LWB) 4 Refugees in Athens, Greece. The beautiful and touching hexagons will be available to purchase, with 100% of the proceeds going to the refugees for basic expenses.  LWB is a non-profit dedicated to providing refugees in Greek camps, shelters, and housing communities with a source of emotional expression and economic self-empowerment while giving them a platform to spread awareness of the conditions in which they live and their varied and largely unmet needs.  Directed by Kayra Martinez, read more information here.

Celebration of Hexagonal Art Display and Workshops

Each year, to Celebrate Interdependence Month, The Hexagon Project holds the Eastern Regional Exhibit locally to display artwork submitted from area schools as well as schools from across the country and the world, illustrating the year’s theme and the many themes of Interdependence. Submissions are reviewed and assigned awards in numerous categories. The celebration of art continues throughout the month of September with the following events planned by The Hexagon Project.   

  • The 2022 Interdependence Hexagon Project Exhibit XVI, with the special theme of Kindness, will be displayed at 210 Wyoming Ave. in downtown Scranton throughout the month of September. It opens on September 2 as part of First Friday Scranton, from 5:30 – 9:00 PM, with music by percussionist Steve Werner until 8:30 PM. Visitors to the exhibit can experience hands-on art by making their own Hexagon at a table where materials will be provided.  
  • On Sunday, September 11, the Annual Recognition Event Celebration will take place at 210 Wyoming Ave. at 2 PM to honor artists of award-winning hexagons.  Scranton artist and friend of The Hexagon Project Judith Youshock who recently passed away will be honored at this event through the presentation of youth art scholarships in her name and Cummings Insurance Agency will receive the First Sponsorship Award.
  • On Saturday, September 17 from 1 – 3 PM, Nigerian artist Sunday Olaniyi, Master of Authentic Batik Fabric Dyeing, will instruct participants in a hands-on African Batik Textile Workshop at 210 Wyoming Ave. in Scranton.  Participants will learn about the traditional techniques of African batik textile production using wax and dye to create colorful patterns and designs and make your own one-of-a-kind fabric. There is no cost to attend the workshop, but participants should bring a 100% cotton, white or light colored [preferred], prewashed t-shirt and a face mask. All other materials will be provided. This workshop is acceptable for ages 8 to adult. Children ages to 8 to 12 years should be accompanied by an adult. While the workshop is free, registration is required by clicking here.
  • The theme of interconnectedness continues on Sunday, September 18 with the workshop “Explore Interconnectedness Through Improv” taking place from 1 to 3 PM at the historic Ritz Theater’s Poli Lounge at 222 Wyoming Ave. in Scranton.  It’s a one-day, free workshop in which participants explore interconnectedness through fun, interactive improv games.

Participants will learn how improv comedy can help people develop skills that support self-confidence, communication, and empathy.

Scranton Improv instructor Lauren Esposito, said, “We believe improv is a great way to practice thinking on your feet and building connections with new people. This workshop will introduce you to basic improv skills while celebrating a shared commitment to living in an interdependent world.”

Workshop participants should be at least 15 years of age to join in this supportive, inclusive environment. No previous experience with improvisational theater is required. While the workshop is free, registration is required by clicking here.