This evening I attended the First Friday at the Pajama Factory. The Pajama Factory is an old factory that has been converted into artist studios, galleries, and craft shops. I have occasionally heard people suggest that what Williamsport needs to revitalize itself is some artist lofts. It is amazing that someone actually followed through on this idea and turned a dilapidated factory into a haven for creatives. This was the first time that I’ve been to the Pajama Factory even though it has been functioning as an artistic community since 2009. I’m a bit miffed that I did not know about an artistic community right in my own neighborhood. I drive by the Pajama Factory often but I always thought it was abandoned except for some small businesses.
One of their tenants is the Bald Eagle Art League which was exhibiting their member’s work in the Floating Gallery. I was impressed by the artwork on display but I especially liked the work of fantasy illustrator Terra Bidlespacher. I also visited the office of Susquehanna Life Magazines. Susquehanna Life is a Central PA magazine published in Lewisburg. I bought a copy of the magazine on my trip to Lewisburg and recently subscribed because it may be useful for my exploration of the region. By the way, I may visit Selinsgrove tomorrow.
The Pajama Factory has been compared to the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading PA. I thought GoggleWorks was sponsored by Google but now I see that they got the name from a former safety-goggles factory building. Their logo looks a lot like the Google logo. The Pajama Factory used to be the Weldon Pajama Company which made sleepwear. Since it closed in 1979 I don’t think I’ve ever know those buildings to be anything more than factory outlet stores. Being inside the Pajama Factory is kind of creepy because it is a funky old factory that feels haunted. However, it has been converted into studios so there are long hallways with many doors leading into workshops. The creative atmosphere puts me in mind of a Do-It-Yourself art school. I think you could also compare it to the Kunsthaus Tacheles in Berlin.
It is exciting to have a bohemian community so near to my neighborhood. Maybe we will be overrun by hipsters and get some cafés and alternative boutiques like Philadelphia’s South Street. The Pajama Factory isn’t exactly in my neighborhood, which is Garden View, but it is inbetween the suburb Garden View and downtown Williamsport. Really just a five minute drive for me so I’ll keep an eye out for more events and shows taking place there.