Harrisburg’s Gallery Walk brings crowds despite trepidation over Kipona mayhem

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A week after a group of teenagers wreaked havoc following the long-running Kipona Festival in Harrisburg, the city hosted another annual gathering Sunday – this time with a few changes.

Late Sunday morning, John McNulty found a shady spot on a Midtown sidewalk.

“Takes a while to get set up,” he said.

He pulled out an easel, jars of paint thinner, and brushes.

“You have to carry everything with you,” he said, “and you don’t know how long you’re going to be here.”

The concrete is McNulty’s occasional art studio.

“It’s a colorful area,” he said, sketching an outline in charcoal. “You get a lot of people coming through.”

The creative process brought him to this part of town, just across 3rd Street from the Midtown Scholar bookstore, where he set up his supplies, alongside several completed works for passersby to peruse.

“I think we walk by a lot of beautiful things in our lives and we don’t pay attention to them,” he said.

All over the city Sunday, artists and their admirers walked the streets, finding what’s new on the 27th annual Gallery Walk.

The art tour included more than just galleries; churches schools, and even the Governor’s Mansion joined in.

“You see a lot of places, areas of Harrisburg, changing, and changing for the better,” said Tyler Stinson, a second-generation metal sculptor with several pieces on display at the Art Association of Harrisburg on Front Street.

A week after a mob of teenagers disrupted Kipona, vandalizing cars and ransacking a convenience store in Midtown, city leaders promised a calm Gallery Walk.

“Today, we have extra duty officers out as well, so you have special foot patrols and special bike patrols,” Mayor Eric Papenfuse said at the outset of the day’s activities.

Without the commotion of the week before, the art – which spanned 27 venues – took center stage.

“It’s what makes us human,” said Morris Rill, “music and art.”

Rill toured the Millworks early Sunday afternoon. The combined restaurant and art studios is a newcomer this year, having opened a few months ago.

“To be out in the world and see things and be surprised by it,” McNulty said, “is what I try to capture.”

About an hour after starting, the artist chucked the charcoal, in order to bring his view of Midtown a little oil-paint color.

“I like to see how other people see the world, and hopefully they’ll get something out of the way I see it,” he said.

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