Kirby Fest held to benefit Young People’s Theater Series at Kirby Center
WILKES-BARRE — Local artist Alana Allan had always enjoyed visiting the F.M. Kirby Center, but she especially enjoyed doing so Saturday, when guests could view her paintings hanging in the gallery during Kirby Fest: A Night of Pints, Pinot and Performing Arts.
“It’s an honor, anytime your art is hanging for people to see your work,” Allan, of Shavertown, said. She had three oil-on-canvas paintings in the VIP lounge showcasing her twin sister, Nicole, at various places in New York City. Allan said she’d outline the place, such as one in Washington Square Park, and then Nicole would pose and she’d paint her sister over he original painting.
Every inch of the center was being used for the Kirby Fest, including the stage and the downstairs, which Lauren Pluskey McLain, director of development for the Kirby, said was intentional.
“We want to give everyone a chance to see behind-the-scenes,” Pluskey McLain said. “It’s all-inclusive.”
The idea behind the evening was to help underwrite the Young People’s Theater Series, which provides area students with a chance to see shows at the theater. The Kirby Center initially had to charge schools admission, but for the past two years, it was offered at no cost to students thanks to a donor, said Will Beekman, executive director of the Kirby Center.
“We couldn’t go back,” Beekman said about charging. “We wanted something laid-back, casual and fun.”
And the night of pints, pinot and performing arts was born.
“We’re a community, coming together to support a performing arts center, supporting arts and education,” Beekman explained.
As A.J. Jump and Nick Driscoll performed in the mezzanine lobby, friends Jaimie Rosenstock and Whitney Cooper found a quiet table to enjoy some samples.
“It’s a girls night out,” Cooper, of Duryea, said.
The ladies heard about the Kirby Fest on the radio and, earlier in the week, decided to get out and help support local businesses.
“It’s an opportunity to do something local,” Rosenstock, of White Haven, said. “You can go to a liquor store and pick up all different types of wine; here it’s local.”
But it wasn’t just wine that was being offered.
Benny Brewing Co., a restaurant and brewery in Hanover Township, had one the most popular vendor tables. They were offering four different kinds of restaurant-brewed beer — Oatmeal Chocolate Stout, a one-and-done pilsner, Hopenstein India Pale Ale and Wit.
“It’s great to help out,” Dan McGlynn, Benny’s sales manager. said.
McGlynn was the stand-in for owner Ben Schonfeld, who was busy at the Sans Souci Parkway-based restaurant.
“We’re local. People respect that,” McGlynn said.
Reach Melanie Mizenko at 570-991-6116 or on Twitter @TL_MMizenko.