South Side Mural Unveiling this Saturday

From our friends of the South Side Initiative:

(Image by EMILY PAINE of the THE MORNING CALL) Max Meano of Bethlehem spray paints the first 'S' of a 'Welcome to Southside' mural he is working on at the Alternative Gallery in Allentown on Wednesday afternoon. The 'S' he is working on will depict a scene from Lehigh University. A Southside Bethlehem mural inspired by the 'Welcome to the Bronx' sign will be installed this month near the Comfort Suites in Bethlehem. The different letters will include images of Southside landmarks.

Max Meano of Bethlehem spray paints the first ‘S’ of a ‘Welcome to Southside’ mural he is working on at the Alternative Gallery in Allentown on Wednesday afternoon. The ‘S’ he is working on will depict a scene from Lehigh University… The different letters will include images of Southside landmarks.

Please join the South Side community as we welcome artist Max Meano’s new mural on the wall of Comfort Suites Hotel on 3rd Street in Bethlehem. Meano’s mural celebrates the historic and integral character of South Side Bethlehem. This stunning piece will be viewable from the corner of 3rd  Street & Brodhead Avenue, welcoming visitors and South Side members alike for years to come. For more information about the mural, please see Nicole Radzievich’s Morning Call article here.

The event will be held at 2:00pm with the unveiling of the mural. The event is FREE and open to the public! Comfort Suites will be giving complimentary drink vouchers for the hotel bar, which opens at 5:00pm and has a Happy Hour (with half priced appetizers) lasting until 7:00pm. Then head across the bridge to Main Street for the Downtown Bethlehem Association’s ArtWalk from 4-8pm where you can spend the evening visiting local artists lined on Main.

We encourage people to bike or walk to our event, but if you must drive please find parking on the street. This is a community event you won’t want to miss! Please save the date and tell your friends!

We hope to see you there,
The SSI Team

Steeples and Steel tours are back!

If the reader already knows about these tours and wants to skip to ordering tickets, click here.
Reflections from 2014 Tour:

I had the good fortune of experiencing a full days of these tours last year. It was a delight to walk in the holy spaces where the ancestors of Bethlehem’s rich and diverse culture held their European traditions. Some of the churches on the tours were closed in 2009, so it’s with extraordinary effort that the opportunity is available again for a limited time. Half of the churches on the list are within blocks from campus.

Added benefit to the tours of the churches, are the stories shared by retired steelworkers as the bus roams through the former Bethlehem Steel plant. To hear about the working conditions and the multiple generations of families that dedicated their lives to making the steel that built America is to see the heroism and nostalgia of the place now converted into new community assets with the ArtsQuest arts compound and the Sands Casino/Mall.

What other treats of surprise stories were from my fellow travelers. As we shared a cozy bus ride, I heard many childhood memories of growing up in South Bethlehem. Where they once played, swam (Mohler Lab had a swimming pool when it was a synagog!!), and shopped. The original Banko Beverage was in a little shop in South Bethlehem. This is the same Banko that is now one the area’s generous supporters of the arts and community. There’s so many more delights of knowledge, but I don’t want to take the joy of discovery for the reader. You’ll just have to experience it.

Steelworker's Overtime Lunch

Steelworker’s Overtime Lunch

I will dish on lunch; the Steelworker’s Overtime Lunch. Yes, you’ll know what that means – but here’s a picture of what was offered. Can you spy the local tastes of A-Treat soda and Tastykakes in addition to the robust sandwich, hard boiled egg, chips and wedge of cheese? Yummy and filled my up for the second tour (Ok, I saved half of it for dinner!). It was a great day.

The tours start up again this weekend. Few spots left. See you on the bus!

From the Steelworker’s Archive press release:

Guided by the Steelworkers’ Archives, Inc. and the South Bethlehem Historical Society, these mini-bus tours provide historic interpretation of work at the Bethlehem steel mill, the South Side Bethlehem churches, and the connections between steelworkers, their churches, and the South Side’s ethnic, steel working communities.

This is the second year of Steeples and Steel tours. Last year’s tours were very successful. Tourists on last year’s tours commented:

“We three were blown away today by the beauty of the churches and the depth of knowledge we learned about the Steel”,

“We can understand the pride you must all feel in your lovely house of worship. We feel no need to go to Europe to see amazing churches; they are in our own backyard. Thank you.”

“This day provided a rare opportunity to regenerate the Bethlehem cohort of cultures who worked collectively in Bethlehem Steel with a love for faith who built treasured and illuminative churches in Bethlehem.”

The tours are scheduled for Saturdays (see dates below). Tours will leave from St. John’s Windish Church at 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. The initial one-hour section of the tour, guided by a representative from the South Bethlehem Historical Society, will tour steelworker neighborhoods and churches on Bethlehem’s South Side. One church will be entered each tour, with a church member guide. This will be followed by a one-hour steelworker-guided tour of the Bethlehem Steel site. A “steelworker’s overtime” bag lunch will be provided to tour participants for take-out or to eat at St. John’s Windish Kaiser Auditorium.

June 27
9:30 – Incarnation of Our Lord Parish (formerly Sts. Cyril & Methodius Roman Catholic Church)
1:00 – Packer Chapel

July 25
9:30 – Holy Ghost Roman Catholic Church
1:00 – St. John African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

August 22
9:30–Concordia Lutheran Church
1:00—St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church

September 26
9:30 –Fritz Memorial United Methodist Church
1:00 – Cathedral Church of the Nativity

October 31
9:30 – St. Michael’s Cemetery <- this is a special link to a short film created by Lehigh faculty Michael Kramp and Stephanie Powell Watts. See description below.

A photo montage of St. Michael’s Cemetery in South Bethlehem shows the current state of disarray and still the the abiding dignity of the space. The cemetary, started in 1867 on land donated by Asa Packer, belongs to the Holy Infancy parish. Overgrown with broken and shifted grave markers, it was made famous by a 1935 photograph by Walker Evans, “Graveyard and Steel Mill.” The film recreates a visual metaphor of the Evan’s photo by scanning over the life of the South Side (where people live), work (the now defunct Bethlehem Steel) and death in the cemetery. Made in part with support from the Southside Film Institute, PBS 39 and Lehigh University.

1:00—Holy Infancy Roman Catholic Church <- link to historical reference page created by the South Bethlehem Historical Society.

Tours will leave from St. John’s Windish Lutheran Church, 617 E. Fourth Street at 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 pm.
A free, public OPEN HOUSE held at St. John’s Windish Church from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. will include table displays of historical materials and artifacts from local community agencies and churches. A free tour of St. John’s Windish Church will be held at 12:15 p.m. Refreshments will be available.
Ticket prices for the mini-bus tours are $15 per person.

Advance reservations are required. Tickets can be ordered through: or at 610-861-0600. All ticket sales are final. Special thanks to Northampton County’s Department of Community and Economic Development and Lehigh University’s South Side Initiative for their generous support.

Popular Self-Portrait Show returns!


The Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission is pleased to announce the Third Biennial Self-Portrait Exhibition by artists and prominent citizens in the Bethlehem community. The portraits will be on display from July 6 through August 27 at the Rotunda Gallery at City Hall in Bethlehem, PA. Titled “Face Value: A Self-Portrait Show,” the exhibit focuses on how its distinguished participants see themselves.

In his second term as exhibit curator, Vince Gentilcore particularly values what the self-portraits communicate. They reveal the self-identity of their distinguished participants, including their interests, emotions, value, work, personalities, and more. Yet the self-portraits challenge and inspire not only how their creators are seen and see themselves, but how their viewers see themselves, too.

Ranging widely from traditional to contemporary, the self-portraits vary in media and tone. Self –portraits by local artists include Khalil Allaik, Richard Begbie, Ken and Sue Berkenstock, Mary Louise Brion, Arturo Cabrera, Pat Check, Jan Ciganick, Pat Delluva, Carol Heft, Gini Illick, David Lee, Doug Roysdon, Frank Sabatino, Barbara Schulman, Deb Slahta, Ward Van Haute, Bruce Wall, and Hub Wilson.

Self-portraits by notable citizens not known primarily as visual artists include Josh Berk, Shane Burcaw, Dr. Barbara Cantalupo, Rt. Rev. C. Hopeton Clennon, Vince Gentilcore, Kassie Hilgert, Paul Larson, Jody Matthews, David Mickenberg, Jill Moran, Mary Mulder, Barbara Pearson, Deborah Sacarakis, Dr. Edward Salgado, State Representative Steve Samuelson, Martha Viera, Jen Wescoe, and Bill White.

Here is a peek at three of the portraits:

Barbara Pearson self-portrait

Barbara Pearson self-portrait

Barbara Schulman, _Medusa With Braids_

Barbara Schulman, “Medusa With Braids”

hopeton with belfry

hopeton with belfry

Self-Portrait Exhibition Committee members for 2015 include Barbara Kozero, Peggy Hobbs, Jim DePietro, and Dr. Charles Cantalupo.

Hours for the show are Monday – Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. A reception with the participants will be held on Sunday, July 12, from 2 – 4 pm at the Rotunda. For more information about the Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission, go to