National Endowment for the Arts Grants in Bethlehem, PA

imagesThe National Endowment for the Arts just announced their 2013 Spring Grant Awards. The number of grants for the commonwealth of PA: 30 with a total dollar amount of: $975,000. Of that, $75,000 of federal tax dollars are coming to Bethlehem next year to support our vibrant arts scene.

Citizens should know that these dollars are pennies per capita spending. They are HUGE investments in our youth. Each grant supports the work of notable arts organizations who provide arts education programming in a time when schools are cutting arts and music programs and teachers to balance state budgets. Activities that support arts IN the schools for each organization are highlighted below. However, these grants don’t cover the total budget needed to make this activities happen. The NEA grant requires a $1-$1 match for each proposal. The match usually comes from corporate sponsorship, or organizational revenue (like ticket sales). And that still doesn’t cover all the expenses. That’s why we all should support the arts and cultural organizations that keep our community spirit alive.

The NEA grant is not a gift. It’s an investment in our community. If we like our community to have a high quality of life, support the creative development of our future work force, and be that part of economic development, then celebrate the hard work it took the grant writers who achieved this success. Winning an NEA grant is not easy. Judgement by artistic and arts administrative peers is fierce. These organizations got the support because they meet a national standard of excellence.

Happy Tuesday, indeed.

ArtsQuest $50,000 
To support RiverJazz. The year-long celebration will feature activities such as jazz concerts, a high school jazz band competition, documentary screenings, visual art gallery exhibits, a site-specific dance piece, workshops, lectures, and a month-long jazz festival.

Bach Choir of Bethlehem $15,000 Bethlehem, PA
To support educational programs for adults, children, and intergenerational groups including the commissioning and premiere of a new children’s opera. The project will include Bach to School assembly programs for elementary through high school students, Family Concerts incorporating student and professional guest artists and featuring the new work by composer Chuck Holdeman titled Young Meister Bach, and the free Bach at Noon concert series of Bach cantatas.

Touchstone  Theatre $10,000 
To support the Young Playwrights’ Lab, an after-school theater arts program. Professional theater artists guide students at schools in the Bethlehem and Allentown School Districts of Pennsylvania through the process of creating an original, one-act play.


Chinese Harmony Pavillion Dedication

As if Saturday doesn’t offer enough to pull students off campus – there’s a MONUMENTAL event planned for the early afternoon. It’s the dedication ceremony of the Chinese Harmony Pavillion – the second structural project built by the Chinese-Bridge Project investigations. Write this down: Saturday, 1:30pm, South Bethlehem Greenway, between Webster and Taylor. Get there by 1:00pm

The Chinese Bridge Project was a joint creation. Many people were involved with the creation and implementation of the project including Chinese Professor and Director of the Lehigh in Shanghai Internship Program Connie Cook, Religion Professor Norman Girardot, Architecture Professor Tony Viscardi, and Visiting Post-Doctorate Research Fellow Dongning Wang. The project recognizes the increasingly prominent role China plays in world affairs today and also emphasizes Lehigh’s historical relationship with China. Lehigh University and China have a 130-year history that continues today with many Chinese students choosing to study at Lehigh University.

One of the primary aims of the Chinese Bridge Project is to attract a broader spectrum of students studying science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) into Chinese studies than would traditionally be the case. The goal is to have students from a variety of academic backgrounds collaborate in a design project that involves creating a more modern interpretation of the traditional Chinese Rainbow Bridge for the Lehigh community.

Read more about the Lehigh University Chinese Bridge project here.

The first structure is the wooden bridge, just off the upper Sayre Sayre Park Rd drive, near the gate to Mountain Drive north. If you ride the Brown & White Bus to Iaccoca Campus, look into the words on the right side of the road. There, perhaps by a few deer, you’ll see the wooden Chinese Rainbow bridge. But to really get a full understanding of the rigor, the multi-disciplinary explorations through this project, give yourself a gift of watching this 12 minute video – beautifully produced by Steve Lichak in LTS.

Linda Harbrecht, of Lehigh University’s Communications office, write a full article about the dedication ceremony here. If Lehigh University staff are pulling in this much time to tell you about this event, and to document the work of the Chinese Bridge Project – you might realize how monumental this effort is. And while I believe in the value of documentation, I’m constantly reminded of the value of one of the most basic concepts – and yet understandably, one of the greatest challenges for  students and other super busy people – JUST SHOWING UP!

If you’ve never witnessed an event led by Professor Norman Girardot (Religion Studies), you’ve missed something truly remarkable, spectacular, even epic. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Prof. Girardot on a number of “weird” events and I can say with all honesty; there’s nothing else like them.

Truth be told, these events are so epic that future generations of Lehigh faculty, staff and alumni will speak of these ceremonies as witnesses to something so special; they defy category. Professor Girardot has been teaching and leading students for a few decades. He’s about to exit into what he calls, “the halls of Valhalla.” Before he retires from teaching, I beg of you to see his last ceremony so what some day in the future you can say with all honesty as you tell your grandchildren, “What I tell you is the truth – for I was there.”

Pavilion posterFINAL5 Version4CversionFlier

Sponsors of the Pavilion Dedication
The Henry Luce Foundation
Lehigh University: Advancement, Academic Diversity, Art, Architecture & Design Department, ArtsLehigh, Asian Studies, Center for Dialogue, Ethics & Spirituality, Chaplain’s Office, College of Arts and Sciences, Community & Regional Affairs, Digital Media Studio, Facilities Services, Global Studies, Greenway Native Planting Group, Humanities Center, Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts & Sciences, Lehigh University Art Galleries, Lehigh University Core Competencies Grant, Modern Languages & Literatures Department, Office of Interdisciplinary Programs, Office of International Affairs, Office of the Provost, P.C. Rossin College of Engineering & Applied Science, Religion Studies Department, Research & Graduate Studies, Risk Management, Science, Technology & Society, South Mountain College, South Side Initiative, Student Affairs
City of Bethlehem: Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission, City Planning Commission, Parks & Recreation
Our South Side Neighbors: Artefact Inc., Hank’s Auto Service, Holy Infancy School, Litzenberger House

April 20-21, 2013 South Bethlehem Joy

If you could bottle joy in South Bethlehem, you’d be gathering this Saturday. Our campus pulled out all the stops last weekend with the Candidates Day and the International Bazaar. Now, it’s the community’s turn. These once a year events are known in the community as the “unofficial kick off to the festival season in Bethlehem.”

Spring of Fourth web logo11am-3pm
Spring on Fourth – South Bethlehem’s galleries, shops and stores are once again joining together for an enjoyable afternoon of music, reading for kids, food and fun.

Founded 18 years ago to celebrate Bethlehem’s historic, revitalized Southside, “Spring on Fourth! What’s on Third?” is a free, public event that takes place along Third, Fourth and New streets. Read more about the local businesses and cool places in the DYK series of blog posts by Lehigh students here.  There’s also a chili contest going on. If you didn’t get a passport, there are still a great number of restaurants selling chili – even if it’s not on their menu. This is a great day to step off campus, even for just a couple of hours before the big SunDazed event on the mountain.

cops-n-kids_logo_w_shadow11am – 3pm
Cops n Kids Seventh Annual Celebration of Reading and the Arts and Sciences in the parking lots at Looper’s and Northampton Community College Fowler Family Southside Center. Music and dance performances from all of the area school groups plus reading and activity stations make this even a must do for all families with young kids.

earth days11am-5pm along the Greenway
Lehigh Valley Sierra Club Earth Day
Live music, speakers and demonstrations on how individuals can remain environmentally conscious in their everyday practices are planned. Acoustic musical performance from Dave Fry, Dan DeChellis, The Druckenmillers, Dave Reber, Jackie Tice, Piper’s Request and Last Small Town will be among the local performers.

Activities also happening Sunday, April 21st from noon-5pm. Read more here,

Touchstone Theatre performances of “Ulysses Dreams” on the Greenway
Touchstone goes Epic! This season the Touchstone Ensemble bring you a modern adaptation of the adventures of the hero Ulysses.

The adaptation, performed in the form of a song cycle deals with the character of Ulysses and his relationship with various women in his life, from his mother’s care for him in childhood, to the nymphs and goddesses who trouble him on his journey home, to his loving wife Penelope waiting patiently for his return.

The Touchstone Ensemble welcomes a number of guest artists coming together for this production. In addition to playwriting by Touchstone Affiliate Christopher Shorr, the company welcomes longtime friend Professor Ripa of Lehigh University’s Department of Theatre, former Ensemble Member Susan Chase, past Musical Directors Jason Hedrington and Kevin O’Boyle, as well as professional and community actors and musicians from the area.

*This show is outdoors! BUT… HERE to find out what happens if it RAINS.

373739_179027168886920_412959129_n9am-3pm in the ArtsQuest Center at Steelstacks
The Eastern Pennsylvania Health & Wellness Expo is a unique creation where family, fun, and education come together. You’ll discover kid friendly activities, testing or relax at one of the seminars. No matter what age, there will be something for everyone. Plan now to bring the entire family.

This free, family filled fun expo includes:

  • Medical Screenings
  • Numerous Informational Seminars
  • Valuable Prizes Given Away Hourly
  • Bethlehem Fire Department Truck and Smoke House
  • Mobile Veterans Counseling Center

And much more!

To be eligible for any prize, online registration is required. Go to and click on “Event Registration”. Complete the entire form with your correct information.

Broken Open, Breaking Free – Poetry and Song from the Real World

April 20th        7:30 pm

In celebration of National Poetry Month a program will feature individuals and their work, inspired by a love of poetry, and buoyed by a strong conviction in collaborative arts and the power it has to transform our lives.  Poetry and Song from the Real World  will show how artists of all kinds are using poems in their daily lives, making them concrete and alive.

pmjournal.iconJohn Fox, international speaker, author and facilitator whose work in poetry therapy for over 25 years has benefited many people in all kinds of settings including hospitals, retreat centers, and schools.

craigmainphotoCraig Czury, an internationally published poet, poetry activist, and recently interviewed on NPR, will read from his Thumb Notes Almanac, poems from interviews while hitchhiking NEPA’s “fracking” region.

middle_leftHeather Thomas, author of six books of poetry and a professor at Kutztown University, will offer a tribute to the great 20th century poet H.D., who was born in Bethlehem and is buried in Nisky Cemetery.

9781619180109_coverSusan Kerschner, poet and author of The Shoulders of Country Roads: My Journey from Head and Neck Cancer

Michael London, Muhlenberg professor and musician, inspired by the poetry of Rumi will londonplay songs and music with Sarah Carlson as dancer and Lisa DeVuono as

558161_10151274469986820_1701853873_nAt the end of the program the audience will have a chance to participate in an interactive poem and a sharing of how poems have made a difference in their own communities.

Tickets: $10 general public, $5 student with ID

for more info, contact or

Students create tandem promotions for Spring on Fourth

Lehigh University offers many courses in the Baker Institute for Entrepreneurialism, Creativity and Innovation that give students an opportunity to learn from other entrepreneurs in business and in society. One course offered in the spring is ENT 198: Art Entrepreneurship Community. In this course, students explore the dynamic relationship between art(its), producer (private, public, single and multiple) and audience. A significant part of their learning is through applying their own talents to the annual Spring on Fourth festival. Through this practicum, students have seen the impact of their work in terms of relationship building between the South Bethlehem business community and the campus.

They have also been given a great opportunity to see how a festival impacts local businesses. These local business are the backbone of the local economy; and students are learning all of the owner’s names through conversations; not by their name tags. They have become familiar with the assets of the community around their campus – and are coming to understand the value and shared responsibility of supporting a local economy through events and festivals that raise the quality of life for all citizens who live and work in the same zip code.

Stay tuned for posts from the students about what they think are cool things in South Bethlehem in a series called DYK (“Did you know”?).

Here are links to the first three written posts – and a super fun video promoting the Spring on Fourth Festival:

#1 The Steel Pub – written by Enrique Carrion

#2 Cleo’s Silversmith Studio & Gallery – written by Emily Koehler

#3 The Banana Factory – written by Megan Woolbert

Megan also created this promotional video for the Spring on Fourth festival

stay tuned for more creative contributions from Lehigh’s students! 

Sculptural Installations opening April 5

The sculpture studio of Professor Lucy Gans (Art, Architecture and Design Department at Lehigh) has created window installations for Southside Bethlehem merchants. After a semester-long study of form, students have produced low-cost sculptural installations from found or sustainable materials. Their work will be displayed through the end of April.

Opening exhibition during South Bethlehem’s First Friday, April 5, 2013 from 6 to 10 PM.

map of sculptural locations designed by Maggie Griffiths