Scranton bids farewell to popular arts venue


Photo credit/ Photo courtesy of Brent Pennington

The young, hip, and artistic congregate in The Vintage Theater, Entertainment Venue, & Cafe on Spruce Street in downtown Scranton. Friday, 14 September 2012, marked The Vintage’s grand opening at their new location.

Paul Capoccia, Community Editor

This summer, downtown Scranton said farewell to The Vintage Theater, one of the few visual, performing, and literary arts venues in the city.

Since 2009, The Vintage, located on 326 Spruce St., had been a central arts hub within the city. It frequently showcased musicians, writers, actors, and creative performances of all kinds. The Vintage was noted for its participation in First Friday downtown and its contributions to the larger arts community.

Brian Fanelli, a full-time instructor of English at Lackawanna College, helped coordinate Writers Showcases, allowing both young prospective and well-versed writers to read their work publicly. He acknowledged how important it was for such a place to exist.

“For a lot of my students, that was their first time reading in front of anybody, so to have a venue that would give writers that experience was really unique and important,” said Fanelli.

Theresa O’Connor, co-director at The Vintage, helped create a business plan for an arts café and venue, which won first place in a University of Scranton business competition, before pairing up with Conor O’Brien to form The Vintage that originally opened on Penn Ave.

“It was the first time I was really excited and thought this was something I could do with my life,” said O’Connor of the original plans. “It’s really made me who I am today, so I’ll never regret a minute of what we did.”

The Vintage Theater was widely regarded as a central part of First Friday events, especially with their 24-hour art event, which was held the last two years. This incorporated several different kinds of art forms into one jam-packed event.

Another interesting event hosted by The Vintage was a PechaKucha night. PechaKucha nights, Japanese for chit-chat, are events in which presenters have twenty slides with twenty seconds per slide to present their ideas.

“I will miss having such a safe space to go to for arts and performance,” said Mandy Boyle, a Marywood alumnus who helped coordinate the PechaKucha night. “It was a safe space for all kinds of artists.”

Fanelli noted how important venues like The Vintage are to young aspiring artists.

“I’m not sure if I would’ve gotten into poetry or gotten into political activism or you know, maybe I wouldn’t have even become the person I am if I didn’t have a venue like that,” said Fanelli.

The closing of The Vintage comes on the heels of other closings in downtown Scranton, including that of Café Trio, located at 400 Spruce St. It had been a popular lunch destination and internet café for two years.

Boyle said she will never forget the Vintage.

“My boyfriend proposed to me during the sold out final performance,” said Boyle of her final performance for “Pride & Prejudice.” “The Vintage holds a very special place in my heart.”