Experimenting for New Connections

arts@Lehigh has always been a program that supports the arts community on campus and in the South Bethlehem arts district. The arts@Lehigh mission began in 2005 with a provost initiative which supported artistic, creative and aesthetic innovation among students and faculty, as well as collaborations with the community. Financial support, advocacy and communications were the focus of the ArtsLehigh mission. While the funding for ArtsLehigh program ended, we continued to support the arts by advocating and facilitating arts integration on campus, and sharing information about upcoming events and opportunities for the campus and neighboring community. Hence, the subtle name change from ArtsLehigh to arts@Lehigh.

From the beginning, we have been experimenting with multiple communication platforms and sharing what we know with as broad a reach as possible and reasonable. Our weekly newsletter email is a brief curated list of events and activities that happen in the upcoming week. The newsletter is linked to many web-based resources; helping campus programs and local arts organizations share information and build their own communication circles. There are limitations to the newsletter. We are only permitted to send it to the college of arts & sciences email lists. But even with the limitation, we have good friends in the community who share the newsletter to their email lists.

With the limitations of reach, we also needed to put some boundaries on the content; sharing activities that happen on campus and within a walkable distance from campus. There are rare exceptions to this cap; usually faculty or student art work in locations beyond our imposed perimeter.

The blog began as a way to increase reach by providing a platform for more extensive information to be linked in the newsletter, and as a way to provide shareable information in between newsletter releases. We enhance Zoellner Arts Center press releases by adding links for further reading, video and photos when available. We have an extensive portfolio of social media platforms through which we share the links to the blog, as well as support the social media efforts of other campus and community arts communications.

Two weeks ago, the Director or Arts Engagement and Community Cultural Affairs for Lehigh University – Silagh White, with the blessing of the University Communications office made a video to support the “Our Lehigh” welcome campaign for our next president, John Simon. The content of the video was a quick tour of the arts venues in South Bethlehem – which all have Lehigh University connections. The response to the video was mostly positive. The feedback was enough to realize that there is so much art to cover, that maybe a weekly video to support the arts would help extend the reach and add more fun to the mix of communication efforts.

To celebrate the 300th post on the arts@lehigh blog, we share a big announcement.

Here’s a little behind the scenes revelation for our readers. For the last year, all of the arts@Lehigh communications have been coming from a one-person production effort. Of course, some of the information for the newsletter comes from helpful people who share information for their programs. There was a preferred anonymity behind the collected “we”.

So. This one-person communications team for the arts@Lehigh is revealing herself because she’s about to put her face on more videos. The videos will be rough, but will hopefully improve with each edition. Maybe she’s going to start writing in the first person. Maybe.

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