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F E AT U R E S

24

LYCOMING COLLEGE 2015 SPRING MAGAZINE

Merchants, community leaders, arts council members, the mayor, any number of

Trustee Barbara Sylk ’73, husband

Leonard Sylk and their daughter,

Galen Sylk stand with President Kent

Trachte as he welcomes the city to

the grand opening of the downtown

art gallery. The Sylk family private

collection of Pennsylvania artists

was the first show in this premier

venue.

Originally the college was set to renovate the existing gallery space tucked

away in Snowden Library, which had housed countless art exhibitions since the

1980s. But upon a close examination of the space, amidst many pros and cons,

one flaw stuck out in the president’s mind: lack of community access. While the

location was convenient for students, faculty and staff, it was less than ideal

for the community at large.

At this point, President Trachte coalesced a few different streams of

thought: One was that the art department deserved more attention. He said,

“I had become increasingly impressed with the quality of our art department

and the work that our faculty and students do and was looking for

opportunities to give that a broader exposure.” The other was that one of his

top priorities for Lycoming is to have the college engage with the community

more. To make the school “more visibly a part of Williamsport.”

A way to accomplish both goals was to establish a presence in a location

central to the area: “the Avenue of the Arts”, aka, West Fourth Street. Such

a move would give the arts at Lycoming a greater visibility and would also

build a unique bridge between the college and the city.

Once the objective was set, action came fast. Over the course of one

summer break, the college located and secured the spot, which was then

renovated quickly and expertly by building owner Matt Schauer, who is

leasing the space to the college. By fall, the two-room space had new

wooden floors, bright white walls, generous lighting and was ready for

the public.

Campus advancement and enhancement traditionally

happened, well, on campus. “So when President Kent

Trachte suggested the possibility of moving the gallery

downtown, all of us in the art department were very

excited,” said associate professor of art, Howard Tran.