The Walk In Art Center is being transformed into Andy Warhol-inspired workshop for the nonprofit organization’s largest fundraiser of the year this Saturday.
While setting up for the sixth annual Kick Up Your Heels event Thursday afternoon, Lisa Robinson, the nonprofit organization’s new executive director, made sure that each of the miniature wooden mannequins decorating the tables held a piece of paper with a snippet of information about the artist’s life.
“In order for people to appreciate art, they need to be educated about art, and that’s what we are trying to do here,” Robinson said.
Robinson took over as executive director in May following Nena Mazzei-Schmidt’s retirement. Located in the former Walk In Shoe Factory at 100-110 W. Columbia St., the art center offers studio space for 14 resident artists, hosts various exhibits throughout the year and rents space for other events in its retrofitted industrial space, also known as The Gallery. The organization’s goal is to promote local artists and support the arts in Schuylkill County.
“When an artist explains their piece, it gives you a better appreciation of it,” Robinson said.
Robinson, 41, of Auburn, worked in marketing for FesslerUSA, Orwigsburg, until it closed in 2012. A 1992 graduate of Nativity BVM High School, Pottsville, Robinson received a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Alvernia University. When FesslerUSA closed, Robinson went back to school and received her master’s degree in business administration from Alvernia in 2014. She has a husband and two children, a boy and a girl.
“I just think art is important, and I always enjoyed coming here,” Robinson said.
She said the center is different than anything else in the county with its hands-on approach to learning, which includes being able to watch artists as they work in the studio.
Following this weekend’s fundraiser, Robinson said the Walk In Art Center will start its fall classes. More information is available on the organization’s website at www.walkinartcenter.org.
Robinson is also pursuing an annual folk art exhibit at the center starting next summer. In addition to the exhibit, Robinson said Penn State Schuylkill students will be working to document the various summer activities in the county through video, pictures and audio recordings. The goal is to make educational pieces about Schuylkill County’s folk art history, she said.
Robinson also said she wants to start some kind of community artist program to promote local artists.
“There is something we can do for every artist,” she said. “I want this to be the hub for all the art in the community so that the artists can grow and learn from each other and inspire each other.”
The sixth annual Kick Up Your Heels will start at 7 p.m. Saturday in The Gallery on the third floor at the Walk In Art Center, 110 W. Columbia St., Schuylkill Haven. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at the door. The tickets include food and drinks.
Robinson said at least 200 people already preregistered for the event. There will also be more than 100 door prizes donated by local businesses for the event.
The Gallery will be decorated with colorful pop art. Some of the artists will be selling their pieces while other pieces will be auctioned off during the event.
“It’s Andy Warhol, so it’s going to be fun and exciting,” Robinson said.