Blue Heron Sculptural Installation on the Greenway

If you happened upon a new sculpture on the Greenway linear park between Webster and Taylor streets, you may have seen a new piece. On Tuesday, September 13th, ArtsQuest installed two Blue Herons made of recycled materials at the space. The sculpture was created by Banana Factory artists Virginia Abbott and Nancy Yukovich.

It’s called “Blue Herons” but to those behind the scenes, the birds have had a few nick names (“Sonny” and “Cher”) . Ms. Yukovich documented the creation and installation of the work on a blog dedicated to the project. We hope you scan through the images there – because there are so many stories and remarkable moments of how an artists’ vision is transformed from conception to reality. The artists also worked with local school children in the Banana Works program of ArtsQuest.

The Banana Works program is an outreach opportunity for a select group of inner city youth. Six to eight teens are paired with Banana Factory artists to create a beautiful piece of public art.

Partnering on creative projects teaches the teens the significance of strong teamwork, job responsibilities and collaboration, while creating artwork cultivates good work habits. Taking responsibility and ownership of the project promotes a strong work ethic and sense of respect, therefore helping to boost self-esteem. With a professional artist serving as a mentor, these young workers learn how to channel their energy using the power of creative expression!

Read more about Banana Works here. Ms. Abbot had this to say about the project:

The Banana works kids learned first hand how to transform an idea into a 3-dimentional piece of art, in its many stages.

  I appreciate their various contributions on the collaborative saying  that adorns the plaque.  

                          Nature and Man

                                       are united.


                                         they provide.

                            Reuse Reduce Recycle

The sculptures of small animals the the kids created, are works to be proud of.  Their gems enhance the overall  native theme as well as environmental health.

“Blue Herons” was funded by the Southside Vision 2014, a project of the Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem. As described on the dedication plaque on the object:

“This project was financed in part by a grant from the Federal Department of Health and Human Services, under the administration of the Commonwealth of PA Department of Community and Economic Development. Funding was also provided by M&T Bank, Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network, PPL Corporation, and Just Born, Inc.

On Friday, September 16th at 2pm installation of native plants will begin along the Southside Greenway between the Webster/Taylor blocks.The space will be filled with 10 different types of native plants and grasses, a nursery to breed native plants for future use, a small group of raised beds to grow food as well as areas for citizens to enjoy the space and learn about the benefits of native plants. This part of the project is a joint effort between the City of Bethlehem (including the Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission and Department of Parks and Recreation), ArtsQuest, Southside Vision 2014 and Lehigh University’s Southside Initiative.

All are welcome to help prepare the beds, plant the natives, or just hang out. They plan to plant as long as day light permits.

For more images of the sculpture (taken this morning) please enjoy!


One comment

  1. Hello Everyone,

    On Friday, September 16th at 2pm, we will begin installing the first native plants along the Taylor/Webster block of the South Bethlehem Greenway.

    I would like to invite you all to come help lay mulch/compost and position/plant the first of natives that will inhabit the area.

    First we will be laying out a newspaper/cardboard bed to suppress weeds and then mixing mulch and compost to create a 3 ft bed around the newly installed ArtsQuest Blue Heron sculpture (which is really awesome). We will then begin placing and planting the natives as daylight permits.

    Planting will continue on Monday if there is more to do.

    This project is extremely important to the Greenway as well as to the relationship between the city, Lehigh’s Southside Initiative, and local non-profits and it would be great to have as many faculty/students/staff down there to help, or to just hang and enjoy the space.

    This has been an intense project and I am excited to have it finally started. Please contact me if you have any questions, and of course, please forward this to anyone you may think would be interested.

    Hope all is well,


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