|Lehigh Valley arts and cultural organizations will be welcoming patrons with intellectual, sensory and physical disabilities as a result of the effort of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council (LVAC) and the Lehigh Valley Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community (Partnership).
They will host an “Arts & Access” reception on July 24, 2015, to launch the yearlong plan to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) through the lens of the arts. The event will be held 4:30-6 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Health & Technology Center, 850 S. 5th St., Allentown. It is open to the public, particularly to anyone with a disability.
“Access to the arts is more than just building a ramp,” said Randall Forte, LVAC Executive Director. “To be truly accessible to those with disabilities, performing and visual arts groups need to make important changes in the way they have always done things.”
With the guidance of VSA PA, LVAC has developed staff training and promotional programs to help local arts organizations learn how to remove the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from enjoying their offerings. More than 30 arts organizations have already agreed to move toward greater inclusion and make accommodations for people with disabilities.
Workshops will continue this year on implementing open captioning and audio description for people with vision and hearing loss. Open Captioning provides the audience with an electronic text display to the side of the stage, displaying lyrics, dialogue, and sound effects in real time. Audio Description is a form of audio-visual translation, using natural pauses to insert narrative that translates the visual image into an audible form. Patrons use headsets to hear the audio description.
Together, the arts council and partnership hope to accomplish the following goals:
For more information, visit ArtsandAccess.org
Addressing a need
The 2012 U.S. Census estimated that more than 12 percent of the Valley’s non-institutionalized population lives with some kind of disability. That’s a potential arts audience of about 81,000 people. “Arts groups should realize that in the community with disabilities there is an untapped market for performing and visual arts,” said Forte.
Members of the Lehigh Valley Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community, a coalition of organizations that serve the diverse disabled community, asked the LVAC to involve arts groups in addressing this issue. To date, more than thirty arts and cultural organizations have agreed to participate, including ArtsQuest, Allentown Art Museum, Lehigh University Art Galleries, Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, SATORI, and Williams Center for the Arts.
Arts & Access is already responsible for important changes in the way the arts are presented. For example, this fall the Lehigh University Art Galleries will debut a tactile description program in their teaching gallery, which uses technology to create a three-dimensional relief of a portion of the image for the person to explore through touch. Many local service providers, such as Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living and the Center for Vision Loss, are offering customer service training free-of-charge. For instance, the staff at Center for Vison Loss will work with ushers and box office personnel on how to interact with a person with vision loss. In addition to providing them audio-description, theatres may offer a pre-show sensory tour, where patrons arrive early, meet cast members and handle props and costume accessories.
The LVAC can connect presenters with affordable professionals who do American Sign Language interpreting, audio describing, and open captioning for live events and exhibitions. The council also offers audio-describer training and equipment for organizations who wish to train their in-house personnel. In addition, participants may apply to the council for a Greater Inclusion Grant, a matching grant for up to $300, to help fund a new initiative that meets the approved criteria.
The Americans for Disabilities Act, passed on July 26, 1990, prohibits discrimination against the disabled. It set in motion a frenzy of activity designed to prevent discrimination against those who have difficulty navigating modern life, particularly in employment, transportation, and public buildings. But the act did not specifically address the facilities used by the arts such as theaters, galleries, and auditoriums. http://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm#anchor62335
L.V. Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community is a diverse network of more than 75 people and agencies in the Lehigh Valley united in the goal to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Their vision is to be a catalyst for change in making the Valley a disability-friendly community which is inclusive, accessible, and welcoming. http://disabilityfriendlylv.com/
The Lehigh Valley Arts Council acts as both advocate and catalyst to create new gateways, and bring people together to find solutions that advance greater arts participation. It promotes the arts, supports the development of artists, assists arts organizations, facilitates communication among its constituencies, and conducts research to measure the economic impact of the region’s cultural industry. http://www.lvartscouncil.org/
VSA ARTS in Pennsylvania shares its knowledge of inclusive arts education across Pennsylvania and works with artists with disabilities to develop professional careers.
Schedule for July 24 Launch Party
Free, wheelchair accessible parking is available in the Good Shepherd parking deck across from the Health & Technology Center on South 5th St.; it is connected to the center via a bridge on level three.
A Partial List of Arts Organizations participating in Arts & Access
Allentown Art Museum in collaboration with Via of the Lehigh Valley and artist Jill Odegaard
Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre
Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival
Raker Lecture Series
SATORI in collaboration painter William Christine at the Colonial Intermediate Unit #21
Williams Center for the Arts/ Lafayette College
The Celtic Cultural Alliance, host of the Celtic Classic Highland Games & Festival, has set out to create one of the largest beer tastings in the Lehigh Valley (over 61 breweries participating).
Lehigh Valley HopsFest will happen on June 13th on the Celtic Classic competition field (Main & Lehigh Sts., Bethlehem). This fundraiser has been created to help us grow our mission of promoting and preserving the Celtic culture.
Click the link for more information and to buy tickets: http://www.celticfest.org/lv_hopsfest
Bethlehem’s Steeples and Steel Tours are returning this summer.
Put on by the South Bethlehem Historical Society and the Steelworkers’ Archives, the guided tours include visits to both the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. site and historic South Side churches.
The two groups jointly debuted the tours last year and they were very successful, organizers said.
This year’s tours are scheduled for June 27, July 25, Aug. 22, Sept. 26 and Oct. 31. The tours are two hours and include one hour at Steel and one hour at a specific South Side church. There are 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. tour sessions.
Lehigh Valley Health Network is looking to almost double its Muhlenberg hospital in Bethlehem, according to new plans submitted to the city.
LVHN has proposed a six-story, 155-bed addition to its current 188-bed Schoenersville Road hospital. The plans have been submitted to Bethlehem but haven’t yet been scheduled for consideration, Bethlehem Assistant Director of Planning and Zoning Tracy Samuelson said.
LVHN spokesman Brian Downs declined Monday to discuss the plans, calling them preliminary.
“We’re considering things all the time,” he said.
The Bach Choir of Bethlehem,
Bach Festival Orchestra
& Caroline Goulding
in her Bethlehem debut
|Lehigh Valley Arts Council
www.LVArtsCouncil.org ◊ www.LVArtsBoxOffice.org Rush Ticketing is a service of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council.
For more information, visit:
|In the increasingly competitive environment for arts funding, artists and emerging organizations are finding both access and success through crowdsourcing platforms.
As part of its Professional Development Series, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council is presenting a crowdfunding seminar, featuring the largest arts fiscal sponsor in the country, Fractured Atlas, on Tuesday, June 2, 2015, at Penn State Lehigh Valley from 5:30 to 8:00PM.
Fractured Atlas helps more than 3,500 artists and organizations in every discipline to find funding and other resources to support their creative projects. With fiscal sponsorship, one can solicit tax-deductible donations and apply for grants; the sponsored “project” might be a one-time collaboration or an independent artist or even an arts organization that does not have its own 501(c)(3) status.
“The popularity of crowdfunding is definitely on the rise,” says Randall Forte, executive director of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council. “We are pleased to offer the arts community this opportunity to learn first-hand how it works.”
Fractured Atlas Project Specialist Theresa Hubbard from the New York office will serve on a panel with local arts professionals who have used the program. Hubbard will explain the application process and the many of the ancillary benefits that the company provides, such as marketing and ticketing services.
The basic criteria for eligibility to attain a fiscal sponsorship are:
Many Bethlehem businesses are being recruited to move to Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone, which at least one Bethlehem official finds distressing.
NIZ developers — chiefly City Center Lehigh Valley — have approached at least a half-dozen Bethlehem businesses in recent months, the merchants said. Lynn Collins Cunningham, the senior vice president for Bethlehem initiatives for the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, said she’s disappointed by the recruitment effort — arguing it runs contrary to the stated goals of the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority.
“I remember ANIZDA Board Chairman Sy Traub saying that the purpose of the NIZ was to redevelop Allentown, not to hurt other communities. With the outreach to so many of Bethlehem’s downtown businesses, it doesn’t seem like that philosophy is being followed,” Cunningham said. “I have been and continue to be a big proponent of the NIZ, but not at the expense of Bethlehem.”
Hotel Bethlehem has earned a hat trick of brunch awards.
For the third year, the hotel’s Sunday Musical Brunch in the Tap Room has earned a spot in the top 100 brunches list from OpenTable Diners’ Choice Awards.
The list is compiled by five million reviews through the last year from OpenTable diners, according to a news release.
Wal-Mart is holding a job fair in Easton on Friday for its second distribution center in Bethlehem.
The job fair runs from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at ProJeCt of Easton’s Fowler Literacy Center at 200 Ferry St.
Online applications for unloaders, processors, order fillers and breakpack positions may be completed at the job fair, ProJeCt said. Representatives from Wal-Mart will be available to assist in the application process.
Developer Dennis Benner is proceeding with his long-held plans for a 7-story building at Third and New streets in Bethlehem.
Benner originally intended six floors of offices with first-floor retail on the corner but his new plans submitted to the city show one floor of retail, four floors of offices and two floors of apartments.
His plans will go before the South Bethlehem Historic Conservation District for review at 7 p.m. Monday at Town Hall.
Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2015/04/dennis_benner_proceeding_with.html
Allegiant Air pilots, who are locked in tense contract negotiations with the low-cost carrier, say they are worried about repeated safety problems with the carrier’s fleet, according to a report.
The carrier serves Lehigh Valley International Airport and maintains major hubs in Orlando, Phoenix, Tampa and Las Vegas. The pilots authorized a strike last month but later agreed to stay on the job while a federal judge reviews arguments from their union and the airline’s management.
The pilots are now saying they’re concerned about mechanical problems with the airline’s fleet of older planes, poor maintenance and “a culture where profits come before safety,” according to a story published Monday on the New York Times website.
Bethlehem received a coveted City Revitalization and Improvement Zone because its application for the state economic development tool was chock-full of shovel-ready projects.
The incentive was expected to allow for plans for a Bass Pro Shops, convention center and second hotel at Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem to be approved by the middle of last year. Plans for the long-stalled redevelopment of Martin Tower also were supposed to be completed by mid-2014.
But now 16 months after Bethlehem’z CRIZ designation was awarded, most of the projects the incentive was supposed to springboard are still stalled.
Officials say anticipated redevelopment has been slowed by having to start a new city authority, getting answers from the state and by the fact that the CRIZ economic development benefits pale compared to Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone.
Chamber Music Society of Bethlehem
- Beethoven: String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2
- Mozart: String Quartet No. 16 in Eb Major, K. 428
- Schnittke: String Quartet No. 2
The Bethlehem Planning Commission on Thursday approved construction of 30 apartments on two vacant parking lots off East Elizabeth Avenue.
Peron Development hopes to start construction on the three-story apartment building at Chelsea Avenue and East Greenwich Street within 90 days, company Director of Development Rob de Beer said.
Peron also is about to start on the construction of 110 apartments on East Third Street on the South Side.
“There’s that much significant interest for living in Bethlehem and we want to meet that demand,” de Beer said.
If it seems the Lehigh Valley is growing jobs at a faster rate than other parts of the state, a new study says that’s true.
The valley Statistical Metropolitan Area now has nearly 3 percent more jobs than it did in December 2007, the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. reports from its analysis. That’s a larger percentage gain than any of the other eight Metropolitan Statistical Areas — Philadelphla-Camden-Wilmington, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg-Carlisle, Lancaster, Reading, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and York — studied in Pennsylvania, according to a news release.
The Lehigh Valley statistical area includes Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties in Pennsylvania and Warren County in New Jersey, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
The Bethlehem Parking Authority is moving forward with a study for a new South Side parking garage despite any concrete plans for the major buildings for which the garage is supposed to be needed.
Authority Executive Director Kevin Livingston said the authority can’t wait for developer Dennis Benner to have signed tenants for his planned South Side buildings because the authority could lose the state grant funding set aside for the garage.
Bethlehem has filed for an extension for the $5.2 million in state grant funding but isn’t sure if the extension will be approved, Livingston said.
“We’re obviously afraid of losing it,” he said.
When Borko Milosev bought a 10-story office building in Bethlehem in December, he had new plans in mind.
Instead of offices, Milosev thought the upper floors of the Santander building on the corner of Elizabeth Avenue and Center Street were better suited for apartments.
“You have an unobstructed views all around it,” he said. “The views are absolutely gorgeous.”
Milosev and a business partner have submitted plans to the Bethlehem Zoning Hearing Board to turn the building’s six upper floors into 48 apartments. The four lower floors would remain offices.
Two new manufacturing facilities with a likely 300 total jobs will soon be opening in Bethlehem.
The Bethlehem Planning Commission on Thursday approved two new mixed-use manufacturing and office buildings on former Bethlehem Steel Corp. land within Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII.
Fountain Hill-based Reeb Millwork will occupy one of the facilities, a 175,000-square-foot building on Gilchrist Drive, a new road off Commerce Center Boulevard. Reeb’s new Bethlehem facility will be in addition to its current Brighton Street building, but the company plans to consolidate all operations there in the future when an expansion is built, said Ed Detmer, Reeb’s vice president of corporate development.
When Mark Mulligan saw how fast his new apartments in Easton’s former Pomeroy’s building were leasing, he started snapping up more city properties for more rentals.
Now more developers are jumping on board. In one week alone this month, three new apartment projects were announced in the Easton area, including a plan for 240 apartments at an abandoned industrial site in Palmer Township.
City Center Lehigh Valley is building 370 apartments in Allentown, 570 apartments have been approved along Freemansburg Avenue in Bethlehem Township and the long-stalled Dixie Cup factory renovation in Wilson Borough appears to be finally starting with plans for 250 apartments.
There’s no denying that the Lehigh Valley is in the midst of an apartment boom. But will there be a bust?