Artist of the Month: Donna Marie Boland

artist of the month - Donna Marie BolandBy Donna Marie Boland

Hi, my name is Donna Marie Maro Boland. My husband is Sean Damien and I have two beautiful children named Maria Lynn and Sean Robert.

I reside in Clarks Green but my hometown and my heart belongs to Dunmore. This is where I grew up and had some of my most treasured family memories.
I fell in love with art in first grade, when my art teacher, Mrs Briar, decided to have one of my pieces exhibited at the Everhart Museum. I was hooked. Once I retired, I felt something was missing from my life, until I joined this art group.

I’ve had the pleasure to get to know all of these wonderful artists for about a year-and-a-half. And while painting with them, I have come to call a lot of them my dear friends.
The people in this class are not only exquisite artists, but also some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. Between previous photographers, soldiers, political activists, and other government workers, it is very hard to concentrate on just one person’s conversation at a time, while painting. There is a wealth of knowledge among these intellectual people.
And then there is Jill Swierse, our instructor. She carefully goes around to each and every person in the class, giving artistic advice and personal knowledge of the best way to finish each of our works.
My most treasured piece of artwork is the one I call, “Love, Mom.” It’s a portrait I painted of my mom on my wedding day. She was so beautiful. I gave the portrait to my father for Father’s Day. He recently passed away, but he cherished this picture.

I hope to continue with this group for many years into the future and when my sister, Lynette, finally retires, I’d like to welcome her with open arms into this fun group.

If you like drawing or painting, this is the place to be. This Dunmore Activity Hub is a one-of-a-kind place and I’m so glad to be a part of it.

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.