Arts on Fire 2015
Another of my favorite weekends of the summer has come and gone, that trademark of June where the Historic Scranton Iron Furnaces are once more shimmering in the heat of molten metal. It’s Arts on Fire, a celebration of Scranton’s heritage and vibrant local arts culture.
The highlight of the event is always the live iron pouring demonstrations, which go for several hours each afternoon (and the night before during an incredible night-pour), courtesy of the Keystone College ironworks team.
I went down to the furnaces on Saturday afternoon and spent the next couple of hours engrossed in watching the demonstration. Like most semi-dangerous forms of creative expression, there’s a real thrill to imagine doing this myself. I’d love to melt down old scrap, heat it until it glows with inner heat, and then form it into something entirely new.
Of course I’d probably melt my hand off, so I’ll leave the iron pouring to the professionals and just stick to photography. Which under circumstances like this, can be intense enough, as photo gigs go. The heat coming off the furnaces is incredible, and even at 10-20 meters, after an hour you can feel it baking any exposed skin.
I love it, though. The local arts scene. The creativity. The mix of old and new. I love seeing something so entirely different – I don’t know of any other city where this kind of thing happens.
In the set above, you can see the iron masters pouring into formed sand molds. For $5, you can buy a mold, carve it, and have it poured. Mandy and I each got one, although we haven’t gotten the finished form back yet. I don’t know how many they make each year, but it must be hundreds.
I wrapped up my visit with a stop at the next booth over, where a representative from Steamtown was doing a “ring of fire demonstration,” detailing how iron rings were installed on trail wheels.
Like the iron pour – and essentially everything at Arts on Fire – it makes for a dramatic presentation, aptly named.
So here’s to another year of events at the Iron Furnaces, to another year of arts in Scranton. I’ll be at the Furnaces throughout the summer for the Farmer’s Market, and then again this fall for the annual Bonfire.
See you there.