Working on Wilkes-Barre’s “own arts district.” – cialisdfr
Working on Wilkes-Barre’s “own arts district.”
Working on Wilkes-Barre’s “own arts district.”

Zubeen Saeed, president and CEO of Building Blocks Leanring Centers, stands next to child-sized furniture in his newest center, located in the second block of South Main Street in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Through the windows you can see a colorful mural she painted on the wall opposite.

“Join us for a week-long festival to welcome the creation of Downtown Wilkes-Barre’s very own art district.”

That’s the message Zubeen Saeed — founder, president and CEO of Building Blocks Learning Centers — is sending to the community as he prepares to hold the official ribbon cutting of his 15th day center, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Saturday , April 6 at the new center, which is located at 116 South Main St.

This second block of South Main is now home to Marquis Art & Frame art and art supply store and its second-floor gallery and Wilkes University’s Sordoni Art Gallery, as well as a gateway to the Wyoming Valley Art League’s Circle Center for the Arts and Said intends to help make the area even more of an arts destination.

She has already arranged for a mural to be painted on a wall across from the daycare; it shows an abundance of color flowing from the words “Just bookmark and see where it takes you.”

That’s a message families will encounter if they attend “The Dot Musical,” which will be presented from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 2 at the FM Kirby Center. Based on a children’s book by Peter H. Reynolds, the musical tells the story of a little girl who eventually gains confidence and enthusiasm for her own artistic abilities.

Said arranged for the show to be held in Wilkes-Barre, and although admission is free, people must contact the Kirby Center to make reservations. This will help in planning how much free ice cream there will be after the show.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, April 3, with the help of the Diamond City Partnership, the Inspired Bites event will offer delicious bites to people who visit the Sordoni Art Gallery at 141 S. Main St. This event is specifically designed for downtown workers, Said said, and no reservations are required.

From 5 to 7 p.m., Thursday, April 4, the Circle Center for the Arts, rear of 130 S. Franklin St., will host a reception for Wilkes-Barre Area art students whose work will be on display. From 18:00 to 20:00 that day, the Marko Marchinko Jazz Combo will play in the Center. Admission to the jazz performance is $10.

On Saturday, adults and children are welcome to join the Young Run for Fun (entry fee is $15 for adults and $10 for children; ages 2 and under are free.) Families are welcome to walk, run or push cart half a mile down South Main Street. A t-shirt will be included in the entry fee for children ages 2 to 8. Registration will be at 9am in the public square and the race starts at 10am

When the competition ends, participants are welcome to enjoy the Main Street Art Fest Block Party, set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and featuring live bands, food trucks, craft vendors and children’s entertainment on the block of South Main. which lies between South Street and Northampton Street.

Parents of children ages 6 weeks to 5 years can also consider enrolling them in the newest Building Blocks learning center, where art is part of every day. The center opened last week with 25 students and has room for 125. Said believes it will be ideal for parents who work or live in downtown Wilkes-Barre and is offering a discount for Wilkes University employees.

Among her downtown ambitions, she has also purchased the nearby land that housed the former Blum Bros. clothing store and is applying for grants to turn it into a “pocket park.”

“Our whole goal is to ignite the spark,” she said, “to bring the energy, the effort, to turn the second block (of South Main) into an arts district.”

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