Category Archives: Artist

ALL TOGETHER NOW: “In Unison” Art Show at Touchstone Theatre

“[With this show] we can speak as an artist community through a shared voice, visually through our art.” Loly Reynolds, Director of Community Artists of Bethlehem

We’re getting to the time of year when Bethlehem’s First Fridays are really good. Nice weather means more people, and First Fridays are definitely a “the more the merrier” monthly event.

Kicking off March and what we can all hope is the start of more consistent sunshine is a great show put together by the Community Artists of Bethlehem (CAB). In Unison came to fruition when the folks of CAB and Touchstone Theatre realized their creative brains and resources should merge together. When CAB put out a call to interested artists, the response was large enough that the show now boasts more than three times as many artists as were initially considered.

Loly Reynolds, CAB Director, found inspiration in the pages of a book – the Red Tent by Anita Diamant:

“They sang the words in unison, yet somehow created a web of sounds with their voices. It was like hearing a piece of fabric woven with all the colors of a rainbow. I did not know that such beauty could be formed by the human mouth. I had never heard harmony before.”

Mixed media by Jessica Hoffman

Art will run the gamut from paintings and photography to mixed media and wire sculpture. “You can expect to see pieces that range from extremely disciplined to those that are a bit fringier”, Loly says.

CAB is a grassroots organization that you’ve likely seen at almost all of Bethlehem’s festivals. Loly explains, “The purpose of CAB is to encourage communication between area artists and widen their network to promote exposure to their work and create a positive cultural impact on our wonderful city. Many of these artists are active in the arts community through Blogs, Drink and Draw’s at The Brew Works, local businesses, as well as Lehigh and Moravian graduates”.

This is a FREE event – come enjoy art, friends, food and drink and live music from Jim Thorpe bluegrass band Free Range Folk. (This is exactly the kind of music I’ve really been into in the past year – check them out HERE. They have a song about blueberries! YES!)

INFORMATION:

  • Friday, March 4 2011
  • In Unison is at Touchstone Theatre, 321 E. 4th Street Bethlehem (Southside)
  • !!! FREE ADMISSION!!!
  • They will serve light refreshments (including wine!)
  • Art can be purchased at this event
  • 6pm-10pm
  • Live music performed by Free Range Folk (bluegrass)
  • CAB’S Facebook Page

*GAS EXPLOSION DONATIONS ACCEPTED! “We are accepting donations to deliver to The Red Cross for relief for the 13th street Gas Explosion victims. Also, we will be collecting, dry goods, clothing, and gift cards for their relief. Please be so kind as to help us in this effort!”

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Filed under Art, Artist, EVENT, Photography, Sculpture, South Side Bethlehem, Visual Art

RENAISSANCE FAIR: What is the City But It’s People?

I started this blog several months ago as a testament to the beautiful people and inspiring businesses, artists, and projects that make their home in the Lehigh Valley. On a selfish note, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many people that do all they can to always improve this area in some capacity. But it’s not about me – it’s about the drive I have for helping to expose the hard work and deep passions that radiates from local residents.

A few years ago, there seemed to be this attitude that it was “cool” to hate the Valley. I found it was more common to hear someone complain about the area than to be excited about it. (I admit, even with all my optimism, I eventually became one of those people.)

Photo by local photographer Marty Desilets


But over the past year, there has been an always increasing unconscious uprising of positivity and motivation to turn the Valley into someplace we could all be proud of. Not only is it rare to hear a negative comment, I am constantly listening to people say how much they love it here – yes, the L word.

Upon talking to friends recently, all heavily involved in the various arts communities, one of them used the word “renaissance” to describe the shift.

re·nais·sance:  noun, often attributive

\ˌre-nə-ˈsän(t)s, -ˈzän(t)s, -ˈsäⁿs, -ˈzäⁿs, ˈre-nə-ˌ, chiefly British ri-ˈnā-sən(t)s\

a movement or period of vigorous artistic and intellectual activity

I love that perfect explanation of this new mental attitude, just as much as I love the Valley. When I think about the purpose of this blog, beyond just filling a creative and community-based need for me personally, I want to continue to document the great things happening here. I would hope someone who never came here would read this and know how much is going on, and be excited to visit. I hope people who once lived here and moved away because they felt it didn’t live up to what other cities could offer, would reconsider that perception and feel proud of all we’re doing.

As I’ve been planning the return of of this blog (I suppose it never left, but only updating  once every 4 months negates the point, yes?), something serendipitous, albeit small, happened that pushed me into more excitement. Let me share:

I was browsing Etsy (popular handmade craft site) looking for a new “it goes with everything” necklace. I wanted something metal with a vintage element. I forget the exact combination of words I typed in, but as I sifted through the pages, I found this one that caught my eye. I wanted it.

Horatio necklace by WishByFelicity, via Etsy

To my delightful surprise, it wasn’t until reading the fine print of the listing that I realized one of the vintage tags in the necklace is from Bethlehem Steel. There is no mention of that in the title, and the creator isn’t even from Pennsylvania. Just a weird twist of fate that in a sea of 20,000 necklaces (Jules Verne would be proud!), I found one that hit so close to home.

Small, but meaningful (to me). My current residence in the Lehigh Valley is deliberate. After considering a move, I was so by inspired the welcoming community of pioneers that I have since been able to call my friends, I knew that living here meant I could be a part of something great.

I hope I can continue to document it in a way that makes you as excited and inspired as it makes me.

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Filed under Artist, Business, Lehigh Valley everywhere, North Bethlehem, South Side Bethlehem, Visual Art

YOU ARE DISGUSTING: The Weird and Wonderful Art of Rachel Betty Case

“I don’t find fingernails and belly button lint gross.  If other people do, that’s their problem.  I find eating meat and littering gross, but I’m faced with it everyday.  So what if my materials are a little in-your-face.  That’s life.” – Rachel Betty Case

Toenail clippings. Belly button lint. Strands of hair. For most people these would represent the need to spruce up on personal grooming habits. But for Rachel Betty Case, these are mediums for her to make art. Yes, really.

The bright-eyed blonde recently moved to Bethlehem, though her work has been shocking and entertaining people all over the world. At first glance, Rachel looks like the sort of happy, smiley girl-next-door you’d see in a 1950’s film, waving to the neighbors and wearing her boyfriends cardigan sweater.

But this wildly creative woman has been the subject of curiosity and sometimes, just plain mean ridicule. Mixed in with the criticisms and hate mail (see below!) and being featured on blogs like Regretsy and D-listed, she has found support among national and international art communities, radio shows, has sold work at the infamous Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, and will even be featured in the UK edition of National Geographic Kids magazine this month.

Rachel makes Human Ivory, sculptures and fine jewelry from finger- and toenails. Inside tiny bottles live small smiling teddy bears made from belly button lint. She uses her needlepoint skills to skip over the Home Sweet Home and instead craft a two-headed skeleton.

Read on to learn about the happy and humble life of a girl that stirs up craft fairs across the land.

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Filed under Artist, Crafty