Category Archives: Visual Art

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!)


  • Friday, March 4 2011
  • In Unison is at Touchstone Theatre, 321 E. 4th Street Bethlehem (Southside)
  • 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

I’M GOING TO FREAK OUT! And it’s going to be so much fun! The first ever FREAK OUT Fringe Festival in Allentown is THIS Weekend

“I’ve been really inspired lately to see other young people bringing things to the valley. It’s almost like a changing of the guard or a generational shift is taking place and everyone’s getting comfortable with a new way of seeing and doing things.” – Sarah Fulton

The Lehigh Valley has a lot of festivals. A LOT. But never before have we been some to something quite like this. The ALLENTOWN FREAK OUT Fringe Fest is the first of it’s kind in our area (another nod to the way young people are getting out and changing the scene of the whole Valley!).

What makes this fest different is the key word “fringe”. FREAK OUT is a true art festival, bringing in acts and artists that don’t quite fit into the Art Festivals held on Main Street. Among the acts are fire performers, burlesque shows (one of them by “conjoined twins”), improv comedy, a lot of live music, special gallery exhibits, drum circles, and film screenings.

PHEW. Read on to see how two Allentown residents are about to turn the Valley’s arts culture on it’s head, and let their freak flags fly.

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Filed under Allentown, EVENT, Music, Performance, SHOW, Visual Art

To Market, to Market, to buy an…. Upcycled Felt Creature?

Like supporting DIY events? How about sassy crafters?

Then hit the ATM and get up early, because tomorrow (Saturday, June 12) is the Indie Made Market! Here you can purchase some of the swankiest wares from local crafters, and take part in workshops that let you take some items you made!

Artists include (but certainly not limited to):

  • Diane Podolsky and her original etchings and linocut prints;

LEFTZ recycled and upcycled eco-friendly unique plushies;

Marilla1918 for stationary and jewelry;

and Crinoline with felted bacteria-inspired craftiness (als0: pirates, owls and mustaches).

Some excellent points to mention about the market:

  • This year, the market is celebrating WWKiP Day (World Wide Knit in Public Day) and asking knitters in the area to bring a chair and join us for knitting circles.
  • They will have knitting lessons, fiber demonstrations and the Baum  School of Art will show you how to make your own knitting needles.
  • Jim Steager and Jasper Springs will be performing at 12:30 and SunSets North at 3:00
  • They will have a raffle to benefit the Baum School of Art Scholarship fund.

Get there early! If you’re one of the first 50 through the door, you get a FREE SWAG BAG with all sorts of crafty goodies inside, like buttons, postcards, soap, stickers, coupons and MORE!


  • Saturday, June 12, Ice Rink on Illick’s Mill Road, Bethlehem PA
  • 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • $3 (1 dollar off if you participate in the public knitting circle!)


Filed under Crafty, EVENT, Lehigh Valley everywhere, Visual Art

“GOOD DESIGN IS GOOD CITIZENSHIP”: A Chat with Artist and Designer Kristin DiBartolo

“As artists and designers, we can bring people to acts of courage and sacrifice, overcoming habit and fear. We can help change people, and people can change everything.” – Kristin DiBartolo

What do restaurant menus, State Penitentiary brochures and soap bottles have in common? If you’re graphic designer Kristin DiBartolo, they make up only a fraction of your portfolio.

I was drawn to Kristin’s work for her use of modern clean lines and bold colors, sometimes retro-inspired imagery, and gritty collage. She also has a wonderful series of political art called Project Peace, with messages of the impact of war and various pop culture media influence. Read below for the interview about this designer and her Curious Designs.

Read the INTERVIEW below.

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Filed under Graphic Design, Visual Art

THROUGH THE VIEWFINDER: Small towns and OCDs with photographer Shelby Skumanich

“I think of my work as an ellipse at the end of a thought, rather than a full, punctuated sentence.” Shelby Skumanich

I come from Wilkes-Barre, an old working class coal mining town in Eastern Pennsylvania. Perhaps it was that feeling of “being home” that drew me to the photography of Shelby Skumanich. Shelby captures beauty in juxtapositions: a public bathroom decorated with fake flowers, an decaying building with a vibrant green floor mimicking plush grass, and meticulously counted vegetables artfully placed in a forest.

Shelby is as well-spoken as she is a wonderful photographer. Please enjoy the INTERVIEW:

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Filed under Photography, Visual Art

NEXT STOP: Modern Take on Vintage Bus Rolls

I love text when it’s used in visual art, and actually yelped aloud when I found today’s artist. Stephanie began Geezees Custom Canvas in 2009, and works with clients to design custom printed canvas art.

Among all of her work, what really got my attention where the “Bus Rolls”, personalized pieces mimicking the vintage bus rolls which were printed with the names of towns or destinations a bus would stop. Stephanie puts a sentimenal twist on already beautiful art.

Read the INTERVIEW and see more photos:

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Filed under Visual Art