Guests will be able to take a geographical and historical tour down of one of the world's most iconic highways when Misericordia University hosts, "America's Road: The Journey of Route 66," from June 16 to Aug. 12 in the Pauly Friedman Art Gallery. Organized by NRG! Exhibits, "America's Road" shares the history of and fascination with the 2,448-mile thoroughfare that cuts a path through eight states. Each year thousands of people from around the world drive all or portions of the road – fondly referred to as "Main Street of America."
The opening reception on Saturday, June 16 from 5-7 p.m. is free to the public. It will feature live music and light refreshments.
On Saturday, July 7, the Friedman Art Gallery is collaborating with the Northeast Pennsylvania Region Antique Automobile Club of America to host a Car Cruise on campus from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a rain date of Sunday, July 8. Donations received that day will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The event is free to spectators and exhibitors.
A special event for children on Wednesday, July 18, from 5-8 p.m., features a showing of the popular Disney-Pixar movie, "Cars III." Co-programmed with Chick-Fil-A Express at Misericordia University operated by Metz Culinary Management, families can visit the "America's Road" exhibit, where children will receive an art car kit and goody bag. They can purchase dinner at Chick-Fil-A in the Banks Student Life Center and go to John and Mary Metz Dining Hall to work on their art cars and watch the hit movie. Prizes will be awarded at the end of the evening.
The "America's Road" exhibit features photographs, narratives, music, and objects from Route 66's heyday, showcasing its role in American history as told through stories of people, places and events from 1926 until today. Themes include the evolution of automobile travel, innovations and changes in communities and populations as people used the route to migrate west, and personal observations as told through the accounts of travelers.
The exhibit also features a photo essay by photographer and author, Russell Olsen, who researched and photographed 75 classic Route 66 service stations, motor courts and cafes. The sites and structures are shown as they appeared during the mid-20th century and as they appear today, offering a unique, state-by-state look back at Main Street America.
Visitors also will have the opportunity to participate in interactive portions of the exhibit, such as the "Populations Change Over Time" map, drive-in theater experience, and "Guess the Artist" radio show.
"This exhibition celebrates the family road trip – the silly games we play, the songs we sing, the landmarks and road signs we call out to each other to pass the time," said Lalaine Little, director, Pauly Friedman Art Gallery at Misericordia University. "Here in Luzerne County, as we drive up and down 309 or 81 or highway 6, we have our own landmarks and attractions.
"After visiting this exhibit, we hope families will create similar nostalgic connections to our own hometown as they have to locations across Route 66. The seasoned road travelers who will exhibit at our Car Cruise on July 7 are ready to share their stories with visitors,'' Little added. "The families that join us on July 18 will have their own opportunity to create an art car to show off during our inaugural Kids' Movie Night."
Established on Nov. 11, 1926, U.S. Route 66 is one of the original highways within the U.S. Highway System, running from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, before ending in Santa Monica, California. It was not completely paved until 1938. After portions of the two-lane road were expanded to four lanes and taken over as part of the Interstate Highway System, it was removed from the U.S. Highway System in 1985. Several states have adopted significant sections and created the state road network known as State Route 66. Parts also have been designated a National Scenic Byway.
The Pauly Friedman Art Gallery is closed on Mondays and for all university holidays. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, please log on to www.misericordia.edu/art or contact Lalaine Little, gallery director, at (570) 674-6250. For updates, follow the gallery on Facebook at @PaulyFriedmanArtGallery, and on Instagram at @MisericordiArt.
This view of 'America's Road: The Journey of Route 66' exhibition in Temple, Texas, in 2014 will be similar to what guests will see when Misericordia University hosts the geographical and historical exhibit at the Pauly Friedman Art Gallery from June 16 to Aug. 12.