Pansies and crocus are blooming.

Tulips have sprouted and a refreshing, early spring has already arrived.

What better way to enjoy the vernal splendor of the current season than by viewing the amazing watercolor creations of Pocono Watercolor Associates (PWA) during the months of April and May at the Monroe County Eastern Library. More than 25 artists from the PWA will display their paintings at the Monroe County Eastern Library, a.k.a. the Hughes Library on Route 611, just outside Stroudsburg, at the intersection with Chipperfield Drive.

Artists showing their work are members of Pocono Watercolor Associates, a group dedicated to learning and demonstrating a wide variety of watercolor painting techniques and skills homed right here in the Pocono region. Paintings on display in April will be changed at the end of the month, and new paintings will be exhibited during May; so, be sure to drop by the library to view the exhibits each month.

Pocono Watercolor Associates offers low-cost summer watercolor workshops partially funded by grants from the Pocono Arts Council and the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts program. The funding grant helps PWA operate the summer workshop with highly acclaimed local artists as instructors while offering these painting classes at a greatly discounted fee; in addition, several high school aged students are enrolled at no cost.

Thanks to the Pocono Arts Council's leadership and support of other local arts groups, the Pocono Mountains have experienced dramatic increases in a broad array of artistic opportunities and activities for residents and visitors alike. The PWA summer watercolor painting workshops is just one of many arts programs available for beginning through experienced artists. The PWA Spring Art Exhibit at the Hughes Library is an outgrowth of these watercolor painting classes. This expansion of arts activities, through an emphasis on cultural arts throughout the area, has strengthened the Poconos' recognition and designation as a true arts destination.

This year's art exhibition includes superb works by accomplished artists recognized for their highly unique styles, as well as their individualized approaches to the creative painting process. Many of these artists often hold their own shows in some of our area's finest art galleries. This year's talented group of exhibiting area fine artists includes: Marion Colvin, Kathy Crane, Will Daskal, Shirley Epstein, Paula George, Linda Kreckel, Tim Weaver, Joan Sayer, Joyce Love, Karen Karner, Millie Bishop, Joan Rohn, Chung Whang, Stephanie Spotts, Anne Martino and others. Will Daskal, one of the area's most prominent and influential regional teacher-artists, is showing several of his most recent paintings of local landscape scenes.

There is an amazing wealth of artistically talented individuals and groups throughout the Pocono region. The Pocono Arts Council has led the development and organization of arts programs and groups offering area residents and visitors alike opportunities to learn and participate in an array of arts classes and other creative activities. The PWA Spring Art Exhibition at Hughes Library is an outcome of those efforts, one that fully showcases the arts in our communities. It is a chance to see the paintings created by your talented friends and neighbors.

The exhibit opens on April 5th and runs through May 31st during regular Library hours.

For additional information, contact either PWA President Linford Werkheiser at 570-629-0089 (email him at weekly@ptd.net) or PWA Vice-President Will Daskal at 610-381-6188 (email him at troutschool@yahoo.com).