|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
As Downtown Easton began its resurgence in recent years, first came nighttime foot traffic from people going to restaurants.
After the Pomeroy’s Lofts opened in the 300 block of Northampton Street, that added to the evening surge on the city’s sidewalks and into the city’s bars.
The Crayola Experience on Centre Square has for years provided a daytime tourist presence, and new retail locations and the farmers market have put some feet on the streets during daylight.
When Pomeroy’s developer Mark Mulligan bought the Wolf Building on North Second Street for conversion to apartments after Northampton County moved its human services operation to Bethlehem Township, the daytime/nighttime equation seemed to slide further out of balance.
|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:
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.
The original “Girls Night Out” group that started it all celebrates 25 years of fan favorites with their signature heavenly harmonies and classic killer comedy! It’s the BEST estrogen fueled musical review EVAH from the BEST of the 4 Bitchin Babes!
“The traveling Oprah Winfreys” – The Boston Globe
(patrons will be seated upon arrival)
Rush Tickets available online only through the Lehigh Valley Arts Council
453 Northampton Street
Easton, PA 18042
Looking to enjoy the sunny forecast on Saturday?
Spring into Easton returns noon to 4 p.m. The free event welcomes visitors to peruse Downtown Easton’s shops. Each participating shop will be partnered with an Easton restaurant that will be offering samples.
According to a news release, 26 participating shops will also have game cards that visitors can pick up and get stamped throughout the day at each shop. A full card can be dropped off at a concierge booth in Centre Square to be eligible to win Downtown Easton Gift Cards.
Check out the participating shops and figure out where to go for your favorite restaurant’s samples.
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.
Friday ◊ March 6, 2015 ◊ 8:00 p.m.
The State Theatre
453 Northampton Street
Easton, PA 18042
Direct from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tango Buenos Aires has become one of Argentina’s great cultural exports, known throughout the Americas, Europe and the Far East as the most authentic and uncompromising representative of the Tango. Song of Eva Perón is a Tango dance and music presentation inspired by the most important feminine character in Argentinian history, Eva Perón. Tracing her epic life – from her ascent to fame in the 1930s to her death in 1952 – this is a sparkling and poignant spectacle that is not to be missed. All Audiences.
Last Minute Discount
for ONLY $13.50!
Price of Regular Ticket at the door $40.00
(patrons will be seated upon arrival)
Rush Tickets available online only through the Lehigh Valley Arts Council
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?
The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is pleased to announce the new line-up for the Arts Alive 2015 Series. These three events for members and their friends allow participants to rub shoulders with the creative process and engage their minds and spirits.
On Saturday, February 7, 2015, “Curator’s Choice” introduces Elaine Mehalakes, the new vice president of community engagement at the Allentown Art Museum. Ms. Mehalakes will guide an informal discussion from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on works of art she has selected for their relevance to the collection and to the community. Ms. Mehalakes has extensive experience in curating and cataloguing; she previously worked at the Davis Museum and Cultural Center in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
“A Joyous Rehearsal” arrives with spring as guests are invited to attend a rehearsal of the Bach Choir of Bethlehem on Monday evening, April 20, 2015, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., at the First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem. Visitors will preview the power and joy of the 108th Bethlehem Bach Festival as Artistic Director Greg Funfgeld welcomes the group prior to rehearsal and speaks about how this century-old community chorus continues to remain relevant.
“Wood & Steel” is a tour of furniture designer and craftsman Bill Kreider’s studio on Saturday, June 20, 2015, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Inspired by unconventional and discarded items, often with historical context, Bill’s designs use contemporary lines to offset traditional materials. He has transformed garage door springs into a dining room table, a ship’s drive wheel into a coffee table, and perhaps most famously, Bethlehem Steel “I” beams into bookcases.
Come join Bill for a personal tour of his studio workspace, which is located in the old Pennsylvania Stage Company scene shop on 127 North Lumber Street in Allentown, and discover the artistry of turning industrial debris into true masterpieces.
Attendance is limited for these behind-the-scenes cultural tours to only twenty-five visitors at each event, so reserve your tickets soon at LVArtsBoxOffice.org. Light refreshments will be served at each event. Fees for each event are $15 for Arts Council members, $20 for nonmembers. Enjoy a special 33% discount if you buy tickets to all three events in the series (three tickets for the price of two).
The photographer was snapping, the baby was smiling and the mother was beaming. Everything was running smoothly at Time Photo Studios in Easton’s Centre Square until the mother brought the shoot to an abrupt halt.
“She had to run down to Second Street to feed the meter,” said studio co-owner Tara Hawthorne.
Customers won’t have to worry so much about parking when the new intermodal center opens at 123 S. Third St. The 350-space parking deck is blocks away from businesses like Hawthorne’s, and the business community says its customers and employees will appreciate new parking options.
“People can go Downtown and not worry about getting a parking ticket,” agreed Pasquale Crisci, owner of Antonio’s Pizzeria across South Third Street from the new intermodal center.
The first year Easton hosted Bacon Fest, it sold out of bacon by 11:30 a.m.
The second year, all the bacon was gobbled up by 1 p.m. And that was with a crowd estimated at 17,000 people.
This year, the free festival will mark its third year by covering two days, Nov. 8-9.
And after Fest 300 named Bacon Fest as one of the top 300 festivals in the world in May, organizers are preparing for a crowd of 50,000. At a news conference Wednesday, Easton Farmers’ Market Manager Megan McBride says they expect guests to go through 30,000 pounds of bacon.
Easton Garlic Fest chairwoman Jo Moranville learned one thing about garlic lovers this weekend.
“We’ve clearly reached the point where garlic-crazy people don’t care if they get wet,” Moranville says.
Despite a rainy start to the 14th annual festival on Saturday, Easton Garlic Fest saw its biggest crowd – ever – for the two-day festival.
More than 20,000 visitors flocked to Centre Square to “eat, drink and stink,” according to festival and police reports.
Sat & Sun, Oct 4th & 5th
10am – pm, rain or shine
Centre Square, downtown Easton
Check out their website for all the information you need: http://www.eastongarlicfest.com/index.php
The next two weekends are jam-packed with tasty events.
Here’s your outlook this weekend:
Bacon 5K Challenge and Bacon & Brews Bash – Friday and Saturday, Allentown
Coca-Cola Park, 1050 Iron Pigs Way, is hosting a Bacon 5K Challenge on Friday where participants need to consume a half-pound of bacon when they reach the 2.5-kilometer mark. A post-race party follows.
Eleven restaurants brought vats of their best chowders for customers to sample Sunday at Easton’s first Clam Jam.
The scene looked like something straight out of New England. Servers carried raw bar platters of oysters and clams. The bar was pouring up drinks like Cape Codders and Bloody Marys rimmed with Old Bay and served with crab cakes. And the smell of seafood chowder filled the whole restaurant.
The event, coordinated by the folks at 3rd & Ferry Fish Market, closed off Ferry Street for a seafood festival that invited restaurants to serve their nautical best – hush puppies and lobster roll, steamers and oysters galore.
Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr. has arrived at the scene of a reported shooting in the 1200 block of Washington Street.
Easton police have yet to confirm earlier scanner reports that someone was wounded in a drive-by shooting about 3:30 p.m. on the block, but witnesses say they heard or saw several gunshots exchanged between the occupants of two vehicles.
Panto said he didn’t have any information about the shooting. He said he came out to the scene as a show of support for the police department.
“I like to support them and the neighbors,” the mayor said. “They get upset about this kind of thing and rightfully so. Seeing me here can show them that we’re making this a priority.”
The Easton Ambassadors are looking for a little help from their friends to generate needed money to sustain and expand the program.
The red-shirted Ambassadors clean Downtown streets, assist visitors with local tourism questions and provide police with an extra set of eyes to spot potential trouble.
But officials say reduced funding has limited their ability to perform their duties. Their patrol shrank in 2012 to cover primarily Centre Square and nearby Third and Northampton streets.
The group’s budget is about $230,000 this year but if it can raise its revenues by at least $50,000 to previous years’ totals, it may be able to expand its reach to Pine and Fifth streets, as it had done in the past, officials said.
The folks at 3rd and Ferry Fish Market are bringing the flavors of an authentic New England seafood festival to Downtown Easton.
Co-owner Rebecca Pichetto says it’s going to be “Casual, fun and a great way to finish up your summer.”
They’re reeling in a boatload of fresh seafood and activities that day.