Arts Around Town

Arts Around Town: Billboards by area artists make for enjoyable commute

The new year has gotten off to a great start for eight area artists who have been selected from nearly 200 entries to have their work featured on Adams Outdoor Advertising billboards around the region, beginning the week of January 8 and continuing through the end of December. This has been made possible in the fourth annual juried ArtPop billboard competition presented by Adams and ArtsQuest.

Winners of ArtPop 2018 are: Cecily Mowad, Easton, "Metal Head," oil on wood; James O'Connor, Bethlehem, "Phosphenes," digital collage; Deborah Slahta, Bethlehem, Raku Tea Bowl, ceramics, raku-fired; Ashley Dorney, Quakertown, Bucks County, "The Dead Waltz," black prismacolor pencil on wood panel; Alison Bessesdotter, Macungie, Lehigh County, "Stratum 22," quilt; Ryen Valentin, Allentown, HARAJUKU DAYLIGHT, 3D CGI/digital; high school competition: Kathryn Dawe, Nazareth Area High School, "Emerging from the Deep," acrylic paint, and people's choice winner, Cecilia Grant, Kutztown, Berks County, "Mint Humor," acrylic on canvas.

"The class of 2018 ArtPop Lehigh Valley artists will truly make area residents' commute so much more enjoyable," said ArtPop founder Wendy Hickey, a member of the ArtPop jurying panel.

Hickey was joined by Stacie Brennan, senior director of visual arts, ArtsQuest; Danielle Smith, graphic designer, Adams Outdoor Advertising; William Childs, community leader; Barbara Faust, public arts chair, Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission; Ann Marie Hayes-Hawkinson, first lady of Kutztown University; David Mickenberg, president and CEO of Allentown Art Museum, and Olaf Starorypinski, professional photographer and 2015 ArtPop winner.

Dawe was awarded a $1,000 scholarship to a Kutztown University art program by the Kutztown University Foundation.

Valentin's work will be located in Warren County as part of ArtPop program's expansion into New Jersey.

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Sunday will be a big day in Bethlehem when ArtsQuest celebrates El Dia de los Reyes, a cherished cultural and religious tradition in many Latin American countries. The Three Kings Day event, free and open to the public, will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. at SteelStacks.

For many Christians, especially in Central and South America, the holiday season continues through the 12th day of Christmas, when it is believed in their faith that baby Jesus was visited by three kings, known as the three wise men, or Magi. They -- Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar -- followed a star across the desert for 12 days to ancient Bethlehem to visit the baby Jesus. They traveled by horse, camel and elephant with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

During Sunday's celebration, Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar will arrive and spend time with guests as they present gifts donated by PPL Corporation, B. Braun Medical Inc., and West Side Hammer Electric to children ages 10 and younger. They also will share the story of the three kings in both Spanish and English, read by La MEGA Radio hosts Victor Martinez and Alfa Lopez.

Activities for children will include a scavenger hunt and crafts. Live music will be provided by local Latin group Herencia Jibara in the Musikfest Café. Latin food will be prepared by Holy Infancy Catholic Church.

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The Baum School of Art in Allentown kicks off the new year with an exhibition to pique one's curiosity. "Assembled Curiosities" brings together two local artists who share a similar attention to the mundane, a passion for collecting, and a keen awareness of the impermanence of all things.

Artists Domenick Naccarato and Lindsay Woodruff have found a means of creating art through witnessing the everyday moments, micro opportunities, and daily settings of their lives.
The exhibition opens Tuesday and runs through January 31. An artists' reception will be held third Thursday, January 18, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Naccarato, a painter and mixed media and assemblage artist, creates art using both traditional and non-traditional materials including acrylics, oil, or oil stick, as well as metal, reclaimed wood, and pieces of hardware as the main components of his artwork.

Woodruff, a lens-based artist, works with all forms of photographic media, from traditional and historic process photography, to filmmaking and digital photography, and creates photos, media art, and installations.

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The State Theatre in Easton has a brand new music series, highlighting the main stage with a "club" atmosphere and both bands and audience on stage. The series, "Stage on Stage," begins January 27 at 8 p.m., with "A Night of Southern Rock," featuring The Trongone Band and special guest Acoustic Kitty Project.

The Trongone Band has a sound between Rock 'n' Soul and Americana Jam. Formed as a family band by brothers Andrew and Johnny with father John Sr. on bass, they enlisted keyboardist Ben "Wolfe" White and performed in various venues around Richmond, Virginia. Their debut album is "Keys to the House."

Acoustic Kitty Project, led by Lehigh Valley singer/songwriter Carter Lansing, has a sound that mixes their influences into a hybrid stew that touches on rock, blues, country, and more. Members include Bill Matlack Jr. on drums, guitarist/producer Mike Carr on lead guitar, jazz pianist/composer/professor Dan DeChellis on keyboards, and Marty Chamberlain on bass. Locally, the group has played at the Great Allentown Fair, Musikfest, Baconfest, and Godfrey Daniels. Their debut album is "Shine," with their second release, "Saturday Night."              

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Winners of the fifth annual SteelStacks gingerbread house competition at ArtsQuest in Bethlehem are: 25th anniversary: 1st - Debbie Bodayle, Phillipsburg, New Jersey; 2nd: – Kerri Gerencher, Nazareth, Northampton County; kids and family: 1st – Ethan Zaro, Phillipsburg, New Jersey; 2nd – Aiden and Kiera Kwiatkowski, Glen Ridge, New Jersey; runner-up: Brownie Girl Scout Troop 8709, Bethlehem; student: Grade 6-8: 1st – Kaelyn Gerencher, Nazareth, Northampton County; 2nd – Molly Neidig, Nazareth, Northampton County; 3rd – Laura & David Armstrong, Levittown, Bucks County; student: Grade 9-12: 1st – Nicolette Warner, Pocono Pines, Monroe County; 2nd – Sierra Gerencher, Nazareth, Northampton County; and traditional : 1st – Karen Klotz, 2nd – Shannon Rice, and runner-up: Denise Fuchs.

First-place winners received $125; second, $100, and runner-up, $25 ArtsQuest gift card.

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