Arts Around Town

Arts Around Town: Fashions heat runway to benefit Riegelsville firefighters

Heroes are all around us in our communities. We just take it for granted they'll always be there in our call for help. One such group is the Riegelsville Fire Company in Bucks County, serving Riegelsville, Durham and Nockamixon since 1898. Its auxiliary is pairing with neighbor Pamela Ptak Couture and the Arts and Fashion Institute (AFI) in a team effort to continue in the mission of its volunteer firemen and women saving lives.

The special fashion fundraiser, "Patio on the Delaware," will be held Saturday at 2 p.m., at the fire house, known as North House Station 42 located at 333 Delaware Rd.

Original couture garments by Ptak and her AFI fashion design students will be professionally modeled on two central runway walks. It's during intermission that the runway will heat up with actual fire staff modeling work fashions ranging from authentic firefighting gear to formal uniform attire. All the while, guests will enjoy afternoon tea with tea sandwiches and the regional favorite Strawberry Pie and strawberry desserts. All proceeds will go to the fire company toward life-saving equipment and rescue work.

Ptak, of Riegelsville, Durham Township, helped organize a similar benefit fundraiser for the fire company back in 2006, and for the Williams Township Fire Co. No. 1 in Northampton County in 2008.

When it comes to the New York fashion runway scene, Ptak knows it best. A former instructor of pattern making, draping and fashion illustration at The Baum School of Art in Allentown, she heads the Arts and Fashion Institute based in Riegelsville and formed with her husband, comic artist/illustrator Scott Hanna. She also appeared on Season 7 of TV's "Project Runway" with her ready-to-wear apparel.

Among Ptak's students who will be exhibiting fashions will be Lizzy Marie Gee, who will be attending Pratt Institute in New York, and Brenna Sulimay, a Ptak Couture intern who designs dresses and cosplay (visual media character) costumes.

Ptak has always been one to encourage her students to find their own voice and express themselves in their work. She encourages them to use their talents to benefit good causes and "turn the spotlight on somebody else. If they start by doing for one, they'll want to do for another. …Beauty and fashion is not about selfishness, it's a gift to humanity."

Recent benefit shows of Pam Ptak Couture include the Allentown Art Museum's SOTA (Society of the Arts) "Grand Fashion Show Luncheon" at the Hotel Bethlehem, and Animal Lifeline's "Canines on the Catwalk" at the Michener Museum in Doylestown, Bucks County.

Fran Chavar, of Durham Township, is one of many from the Riegelsville Fire Company Auxiliary who has been working with Ptak on Saturday's fundraiser. She's served with the auxiliary in a multitude of positions for the past 30 years. Her husband, the late Joseph Chavar, served with the fire company for 58 years until his death in April 2011. A building addition to the station was dedicated in his memory that October.

Chavar said she hopes Saturday's guests will leave the event "with a deeper appreciation of how the volunteer firemen put their lives on the line every time the siren wails, whether it be fighting a fire or assisting at an accident scene, water or animal rescue."

For further info/ticket reservations: 610-749-2534



The 80th anniversary of the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley begins with an exhibit of paintings rarely traveled and now in its only East Coast appearance, and by some foremost European artists in history including Titian, Bellini and Botticelli. The exhibit, "Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums," opens Sunday and runs through Sept. 7. A Members' Preview will be held Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m., with music by Fuzed Jazz.

Opening at the same time will be "Francisco Goya's Los Caprichos," recognized as one of the most influential graphic series in the history of Western art, and "Destinations in Paintings: The Kasten Collection," a visual tour of lands and locations frequented and loved by artists around the world.

The "Of Heaven and Earth" exhibit examines the thematic and stylistic developments in Italian art, from the religious paintings of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance to the secular neoclassical and genre paintings of the 19th century. Having been organized in five chronological sections, it includes paintings originating from the principal artistic centers of Italy -- Rome, Milan, Bologna, Florence, Siena, Naples and Venice – with work by such artists as Giovanni Bellini, Sandro Botticelli, Domenichino, Francesco Guardi, Salvator Rosa, and Titian alongside those of lesser-known masters.

The exhibit highlights significant new research and discoveries relating to attribution, dates, provenance, infrared analysis, and the reconstruction of fragmented altarpieces.

For further info:


The 24th annual World War II Weekend, "A Gathering of Warbirds," kicks off Friday at 8:30 a.m., and continues through Sunday, marking the 70th anniversary of D Day and the Battle of Normandy. It all takes place at the Mid Atlantic Air Museum, 11 Museum Drive, in Bern Township.

Living history features the Commemorative Air Force B-24 Liberator, "Diamond Lil." There will be a WWII air show, stories by WWII veterans, military vehicle show, WWII battle recreations, war front tent displays, home front displays, militaria flea market, and 1940s entertainment festival with big band dances and base club performances.

World War II personality impressions will feature FDR in his 1936 Ford, General MacArthur, PT109 Capt. JFK, General George Patton, and "Bud and Lou." Entertainment will include Theresa Eaman, Manhattan Dolls, Frank Sings Frank, and Spirit of the Airwaves Players.

For further info:


Taking a road trip close to home – that best describes the ninth annual Hawk Mountain Arts Tour & Sale on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in Kempton, Albany Township. The free, self-guided driving tour and artist open house will be held rain or shine.

A printable map with the more than 20 artists participating is available online, and a tour sign will mark each location or important turn. All locations are within a 20-mile loop, some just one to two miles from one another.

According to Hawk Mountain spokeswoman Mary Linkevich, a wide variety of specialties will be included on the tour, such as local landscape and wildlife paintings, folk art carving, woodcuts, metalwork, woven seats and baskets, fabric art, photography, redware and wood fired stoneware pottery, carved totem poles and chainsaw art, metal and kinetic sculpture, bas relief works, photography, jewelry, wood turnings, and more. Artists will be on hand to welcome guests, with many demonstrating their craft.

For further info:


Come Sunday, it's the day the American Theatre Wing hands out its Tony Awards in New York City for excellence in the Broadway season. In celebration of the event, the Civic Theatre of Allentown brings the glamour of Broadway's biggest night to the Lehigh Valley on Saturday with the fourth annual "Tonys and Tapas" benefit from 4 to 6:30 p.m. The event is a musical and culinary celebration of Broadway, featuring a musical revue by Civic and cocktails and tapas from 15 local restaurants.

For further info:


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