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WAYNESBORO >> The grapevine regarding "Destination ARTS!" in downtown Waynesboro has been growing throughout the mid-Atlantic region since the weekend programming began more than two years ago, but details of this very successful arts initiative were shared with a new audience June 9 during an awards ceremony at the Pennsylvania Downtown Center's 2015 Townie Awards Gala in Lancaster.

The efforts of the Arts Alliance of Greater Waynesboro were acknowledged as AAGW took home the prize in the category "asset enhancement," for the work behind the transformation of formerly vacant storefronts into full-scale art galleries.

Live music, interactive workshops and other activities that are included as part of "Destination ARTS!" were also recognized during the presentation.

Accepting the award at the ceremony was Scott Hershberger, an AAGW board member who was in Lancaster to attend PDC's annual conference for Main Street managers and Elm Street managers from across the state. He is director of economic development for Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc.

"I really appreciated the opportunity to tell people who hold positions similar to mine about how Waynesboro has been transformed into an arts destination," Hershberger said. "A few of them approached me later in the evening to ask for advice with ongoing revitalization efforts that they are currently working on in their respective communities."

Founded in 1987, the mission of the Pennsylvania Downtown Center is to advance the sense of place, quality of life and economic vitality of the state's downtowns, traditional neighborhood business districts and nearby residential areas.

Bill Fontana, PDC's executive director, said choosing the annual Townie Award winners is a competitive process, with nearly 200 communities eligible from throughout Pennsylvania.

Third season

July 10 will begin the third summer of "Destination ARTS!" weekends. A third-year grand opening reception will feature wine and light refreshments beginning at 5 p.m. in Gallery 50, 50 W. Main St. This was the first gallery to open in 2013, and it continues to be curated by Destination ARTS! lead curator, Marjorie Tressler, and operated by the AAGW.

Artists Katrina Hoopes and Donna Mitchell, who will greet guests at the reception, currently have a featured show called "2 Women, 2 Points of View" in the gallery. Hoopes, an impressionist oil painter, uses bold strokes in both large and small formats whereas Mitchell, a traditional realist, works in pastels using brilliant colors and interesting subjects in her compositions. Music will be provided by pianist Sharon Rost.

Activities and receptions are also planned at 42 West ARTS Co-Op (42 W. Main St.), Gallery 20 East (20 E. Main St.), the Contemporary School of the Arts & Gallery (10 E. Main St.) and the Ceramic Arts Center of Waynesboro (13 S. Church St.), all from 5 to 8 p.m.

On Sunday, Greencastle native Jason Kabler will be a guest performer from 2 to 4 p.m. in Center Square (rain site, Gallery 20 East, 20 E. Main St.). A singer, songwriter and Nashville recording artist, in 1999 Kabler signed a record deal with an independent record label and released his debut album, "Follow Your Heart."

Still living in Nashville, he has produced six more CDs and is now the head of the Hendersonville, Tennessee, chapter of Global Songwriters Connection, an organization that helps songwriters become more successful through education, support and networking. Kabler is writing songs for his ninth album, which he hopes to have recorded for release in 2016. He also continues to tour.

For gallery hours and a full schedule of weekend music, art and fun, visit www.artsalliancegw.org.

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