Local Schools Benefit from Museum Grant Awards

For Media Released

January 11, 2013

Media Contact:

Chris Potash
(610) 432-4333 ext. 125


Valley Schools Maximizing Museum Grant Awards

Students learn hands-on and communication skills from practicing artists

Allentown, PA—On January 9, 2013, young artists at South Mountain Middle School in Allentown celebrated the unveiling and dedication of a large-scale mural they painted this past summer as part of an arts program administered locally by the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley. Twenty students invested a hundred hours in the project, illustrating the theme “Celebrating Allentown” in a mural designed and created under the direction of artist-in-residence Rosemary Geseck and South Mountain art teacher Karol Kleppinger. The South Mountain PTA provided light refreshments as the artists signed their names to the completed mural, which measures 61 feet by 8 feet and depicts area landmarks, notable figures, and historical themes that represent Allentown’s 250 years.

This mural arts project was made possible through the Arts in Education (AIE) Partnership of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. State funding for the arts depends upon an annual appropriation by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and support from the National Endowment for the Arts. The AIE Partner in eastern Pennsylvania is the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley.Additional funds for the mural project were provided by the South Mountain Middle School’s Arts Enrichment Fund.

Students at Freemansburg Elementary School in Bethlehem also are benefitting from a PCA grant recently awarded to the Museum. The $25,457 grant allowed the Museum to establish a Teacher-Artist Partnership (TAP) Project at the school. TAP Projects emphasize long-term, in-depth interaction between professional teaching artists and students through workshops and classes sponsored by schools, nonprofit organizations, and units of government. As required by the PCA, Freemansburg Elementary matched a percentage of the grant award.

Kathleen Quigney, Freemansburg Principal, said, "We are thrilled to have a partnership with the Allentown Art Museum that allows students to learn literacy through the arts. Our students learn in many different ways, and this adds a new dimension to our teaching styles." Participating in the Freemansburg TAP Project are theater artist Mark McKenna and visual artist William Christine. Students are being taught to approach reading, writing, and verbal and nonverbal communication with the engaged, energetic, and inquiring attitude of the artists, and they are learning how to link artistic discipline and creative thinking to success in school. Jane Gilrain, the fourth-grade Freemansburg teacher coordinating the program, said, “The Teacher-Artist Partnership experience has been an affirmation of my teaching. It is wonderful to witness the artists work with the students, to see the classroom come to life, bubbling with enthusiasm.” The project at Freemansburg Elementary began in October and continues through spring 2013.

For more information on educational programs that bring art to students and others in the community, contact AIE and School Programs Manager Kathy Odorizzi at 610-432-4333, x153.




Sister and brother Jomaridz Smith, 7th grade, and Marquez McNeil, 6th grade, were two of the twenty student artists who painted a mural marking “250 Years of Allentown” in a hallway of South Mountain Middle School. The mural, a community project coordinated by the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley, was unveiled on January 9, 2013.