In Focus: Tanya’s Bridal & Dance Plus
February marked Tanya’s one-year anniversary at the Pajama Factory, and she says, "my business has tripled!" She credits having extra space to make an impressive bridal gallery as one of the reasons for the increase. She’s also happy to offer a full line of dancewear, giving back to another tenant, the Williamsport Civic Ballet. Ten percent of profits from purchases by Williamsport Civic Ballet dancers directly support the Civic Ballet. The bridal store has brought new traffic to the Pajama Factory as well, with bridal expos and other special events. Happy anniversary, Tanya’s!
The mild winter has been a blessing to the Pajama Factory this year, keeping the shovels at bay and thermostats turned down. Warmer, yet, is the atmosphere around the building, with more studios filled than ever before. Special events like First Fridays–particularly February’s ‘Art of Romance’–are getting busier, eye-catching artwork seems to be on continual rotating display throughout the hallways, and new classes are available all the time (worth checking out the offerings!).
We’re looking forward to Spring, not only for warmer temperatures and green to return, but for the newly occupied greenhouse to be opened under the direction of the Organic Gardening Center who recently opened up shop next door to Tanya’s. Owner Carl Narber plans to open an aquaponics center, combining traditional aquaculture, raising fish and other aquatic animals, with hydroponics, cultivating plants in water. We’re excited to see his offerings and look forward to stocking up on some plantings for the building courtyard.
Hope you keep checking in on Facebook to see what blooms this Spring-both in and outside the building!
– Mark and Susie Winkelman
The Crowds Keep Coming
Our 3rd annual ’Art of Romance’ First Friday was a huge success this year. Consensus is that it was the Pajama Factory’s biggest crowd ever, as visitors–many first timers–wandered the halls checking out open artist studios and enjoying the evening’s varied offerings. Roller derby girls rolled the hallways and the Burlesque troupe’s cigarette girls raised awareness for their endeavors. The downstairs event space featured more than 20 specialty booths offering handmade jewelry and gifts, cakes and cupcakes, flower arrangements, and artwork. And a thanks goes out to the tenants who came together to set a delicious table of appetizers and beverages (and thank you, Barb Andreassen, for organizing this tremendous event!).
No specific events were planned for March’s First Friday, but the committee is hard at work with the last minute details for April’s First Friday which brings kids’ art to the walls – giving these young artists the chance to see their work under the lights. In addition, kids will be invited to make their own art at various stations set up around the building.
Planning for May’s First Friday is well underway. It will be building-wide, encompassing the former Site B, a few of the large event spaces, the courtyard, and the entire 2nd floor of studio spaces. More information to come!
Williamsport Art Attack
A new documentary, "Williamsport Art Attack," chronicles how a once-dying downtown Williamsport was transformed by artists, musicians, and the now 10-year-strong First Friday event. As a result the city now attracts artists from around the United States and the world. In a recent article on CitizensVoice.com, Lorena Beniquez, the film’s producer, says “They are attracting artists from around the world, and I would not have believed it if I hadn’t seen it myself."
The Pajama Factory is playing an important role in this transformation. Accompanying the film’s story is a music soundtrack comprised of local musicians ranging from the internationally known Akron Family to young upstarts Clouds Make Sounds. Mark was also interviewed and is featured. The film is an interesting look at how art has encouraged the revitalization of the city’s downtown. It debuted on WVIA-TV on February 6 and has enjoyed a few airings, with the official debut planned for the Billtown Blues Festival in June.
Sculpting Clay to Muscles
You could say there is a lot of focus on ‘strengthening’ going on at the building. The Board of Directors for the non-profit Center for Creativity has now been formed and held the first of their monthly meetings in mid-February. Members nailed down the vision/mission statement and discussed the community art studios, including the most recent Clay Studio which is up and running. Classes for both adults and kids offer instruction on technique, and both beginner and experienced ceramicists are flexing their creative muscles during open studio time.
Muscle building is also going on every Tuesday and Thursday with Zumba instructor Vivian Severn and Walk Live instructor Dani Arthur. The downstairs event room is a fitting location for fitness classes, and both Zumba and Walkin’ and Rockin’ classes are popular, fun ways to stay active. We’re glad to be the location people look to for these community-building activities.
Welcome, (More!) New Tenants
The Pajama Factory has now rented 100% of our second floor spaces. We’re excited to have a nice mix of tenants, from retail stores to artists to manufacturers, making this community truly diverse.
A big welcome to our new tenants who have joined our community in the last few months, including: New Park, a company that manufactures environmental mats to protect the ground from drilling mishaps; Becker’s Photography, specializing in portraits; Susan Lower, a writer with her first novel in the hands of a publisher; Valerie Beggs, a clothing designer; Luke Yocum, a painter who comes from NYC and is headed to Australia for a showing of his work next month, and the Organic Gardening Center next to Tanya’s on the corner of Park and Rose Streets (to mention a few).
There are still a few larger retail spaces available on the first floor. If you know anyone who might be interested, reach out to Mark and let him know (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Spring is nature’s way of saying, "Let’s party!" - Robin Williams
You can see more of the spring party in our courtyard on our Facebook page here.
– Mark and Susie Winkelman