The AFA Gallery, Artists for Art, is a gallery in downtown Scranton, Pennsylvania that is both well known and not known at all. I wanted to dive in deeper into the local art gallery scene for my fellow peers, because while we may all dream of gallery status at the MET or the MOMA, we all have to start somewhere. I contacted Melissa Carestia, the gallery coordinator at the AFA, for more information on not only the gallery itself but what she does as coordinator.
What is the AFA?
Artists for Art (AFA) is a nonprofit arts organization that provides a gallery for local and regional artists in the heart of downtown Scranton. AFA rotates exhibitions monthly and provides monthly educational programs as well as space rentals for community and arts related events such as workshops, performances, poetry readings, meditation, etc.
Melissa Carestia relieved her bachelor’s degree in Visual Art from Keystone College concentrating in photography and printmaking/book arts. As the gallery coordinator, she serves as the overseer for many day to day operations and logistics such as correspondence with artists, members, patrons, and board members; inventory control; art handling; managing volunteers; bookkeeping; manage contracts, events, and marketing; and art sales. I asked her a few open ended questions that I thought might serve students well:
Any tips or advice for someone who has never displayed his/her art in a gallery before, but wants to?
The best way to start showing your work in a gallery is by becoming a member of organizations that have member shows/group shows, having a body of work ready to show, and having a packet complete with images of your work, image list, resume, bio, and artist statement (these are things AFA asks for when applying for exhibition). Also make sure to adhere to gallery standards for displaying work. Make sure everything is matted and framed properly with correct hanging hardware or has a proper base. AFA accepts works in all variety of media including painting, photography, sculpture, installation, etc.
What does it mean to become a member of AFA
Being a member of AFA gives you access to a network of local artists and exhibition opportunities. It’s a great way to show your work, meet people, and get involved in the community.
How can students get involved with either volunteering or joining?
AFA memberships for students are $10 for the year. To inquire about volunteer opportunities email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“My biggest recommendation for students is to get involved in the arts community. Go to events. Meet new people. Make those connections. Volunteer. This will help you get your art out there and give you experience that will be helpful for employment.”
Melissa Carestia, a native of Leonardo, NJ, graduated from Keystone College with a degree in visual art concentrating in photography and printmaking/book arts. She is pursuing a Master’s in Arts Administration through Drexel University. Currently, she is the Gallery Coordinator of the AFA Gallery and serves on the Board of Directors of the Scranton Fringe Festival. She enjoys baking and spending time with friends and loved ones. She resides in Scranton.
You can learn more about the Artists for Art (AFA) Gallery here
Directions from Marywood University to AFA
Here‘s some other galleries in Scranton