Leaders from the arts, business world, and neighborhoods throughout Allentown proudly announced today at the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley the formation of the Cultural Coalition of Allentown (CCA), an independent nonprofit organization whose vision is to create a vibrant, energetic, and engaging Allentown with an abundance of diverse community arts and cultural offerings.

The CCA recently completed an eighteen-month strategic plan outlining the integral role of the arts in the economic development of the Upside Allentown neighborhoods and communities throughout the city. The CCA will work to coordinate, advocate, and communicate the activities and events for the benefit of artists, the arts institutions, and the residents of and guests to Allentown.

As part of the Allentown Arts & Culture Plan 20:21, the CCA is introducing several signature initiatives, including the “Authentically Allentown” artist-in-residence program. Beginning with each of the six neighborhoods of the Upside Allentown community, the CCA will host each artist-in-residence for a two-year commitment and will provide a stipend and funds for supplies and materials. Artists will serve as ambassadors, teachers and demonstrators of creative expression as they strengthen community connections within and across neighborhoods.

The first “Authentically Allentown” residency will run in the Jordan Heights neighborhood from May through September as Allentown Public Theatre joins with CCA to present a series of workshops and performances of a bilingual version of Peter Pan. Working in collaboration with the Jordan Heights’ Neighborhood Revitalization program, a two-hour workshop will be held each day for four days with ten-twenty neighborhood children, culminating in a free weekend performance of the play. Hosting the workshops will be Grace Episcopal Church in May, Union Baptist Church in June, and Sacred Heart Church in July. The entire series will be capped off with a performance of Peter Pan at the Allentown Art Museum as part of Destination: Arts–Third Thursday on August 17.

In addition to the artist-in-residence program, the CCA will be showcasing the arts and culture of the city through collaborative projects such as Third Thursdays and cohort projects with the Allentown Art Museum, the Baum School, Penn State University-Lehigh
Valley, and the Hamilton District Main Street Program, among other partners to be announced.

Artists interested in submitting projects for the “Authentically Allentown” program are encouraged to contact Deborah Rabinsky, artistic operations director for the CCA at dearte2@verizon.net or 610-820-3829.

The Cultural Coalition of Allentown is supported by the Upside Allentown Neighborhood Partnership Program and the Dexter F. and Dorothy H. Baker Foundation. The Upside Allentown neighborhoods consist of the Hamilton District, Old Allentown, Old Fairgrounds, Jordan Heights, Promise Neighborhood, and Seventh Street. Please visit www.CulturalCoalitionofAllentown.org for more information.

Featured image: CCA project manager Sean King and CCA chair David Mickenberg, president and CEO f the Allentown Art Museum (at podium), announce the creation of the Cultural Coalition of Allentown at a press conference at the Museum on April 20, 2017.