Thursday, April 30, 2009

Young Artists Share Their Work

I have seen the future: “The Elementary Art Exhibit”

I just seen our future and it looks great. “Look what I can do”, is said by most children at one time or another to gain attention. But this time I am saying it for them to bring attention their cause. This exhibit you must see. I can’t stress must enough. All the artwork is outstanding.

The artwork belongs to the Allentown School District Elementary Schools, all 16 of them. The Allentown Public Library is hosting The Elementary Art Exhibit: A collection of artwork by elementary school students. The show will run for April 27 to May 4, 2009.

In the community room on the lower level of the library, art lovers will have the unique opportunity to see 16 schools exhibit at the same time. This is an annual event. Come see what the school teachers have sparked in these future “Chen Artists”. The Library telephone is 610-820-2400 and hours are: Monday to Thursday 9am-9pm, Friday 9am-6pm, and Saturday 9am-5pm.

I think it is worth stating again “Come look what they can do”! or is it Did?

For more information about this annual event contact Renee Lorenzetti, Related-Arts Curriculum Coordinator or call 484-765-4110

Photo and Story by Yodi

Green Man Festival on Saturday

Circle of Stones Ritual Theatre Ensemble is holding its annual Green Man Festival on Sat. May 2 from 2-6 p.m. at the Arts Park located on N. 5th St. across from the Art Museum.

The event features a drum circle, music, children's theatre performance, and a feast from Las Palmas and Aci Halal Turkish restaruant. A presenter from the Italian eco-community Damanhur will be in attendance.

Admission is $35 for adults and $10 for kids.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Arts and Social Capital

I don't have a background in economics or sociology, but I know that the term social capital refers to the value of meaningful human interaction-- cooperation, understanding, building trust, bridging social gaps, easing ethnic tensions. High social capital strengthens a community. Low social capital leads to an intolerant and corrupt society and citizens who are apathetic about their local government. It becomes difficult to identify problems and find solutions. Crime increases. The concept of social capital has been obscured by our current economic panic.

Community arts events and artist groups help to build social capital which can result in actual capital for a city. Therefore, cultural events should not be eliminated when a city is struggling. The arts should not be viewed as just peripheral activities in a city.

A 1996 study found that two thirds of all major city arts agencies in the US were involved in crime prevention, 9 out of 10 involved in helping at risk youth, 9 out of 10 involved in raising cross-cultural awareness (Source: United States Urban Federation, June 1996 Report on the Arts Councils in the 50 largest US cities). So putting the arts on the back burner is not a good idea if a city wants to improve. Smart government leaders can see the interconnectedness and synergy of it all, and the value of the arts. It's more than just pretty pictures for your walls, and it's not just a luxury reserved for the wealthy class.

In Italy, a study of Italian regional government found a strong relationship between the number of choral societies and the effectiveness of government. Apparently, communities that sing together are happy with their government! (Source: Robert D. Putnam, Making Democracy Work, 1993.)

There is a mountain of evidence that arts programs keep kids safe, prevent crime, and beautify shabby neighborhoods.

Art also brings joy to people's lives, and joy makes us more willing to reach out and connect with each other. (Source: Michael Argyle, In Pursuit of the Quality of Life, 1996).
When people attend a cultural event or join a community arts group, they can discover shared understandings. When they participate in creating art, music, or dance, they can learn from each other, become more accepting of differences, respect each other more, and build friendships. The arts are unique in that way.

Dollars and cents aren't the only way to define a successful society. For example, in Canada they developed "Canada's Genuine Progress Index"(GPI) which is a measure of national well being > It has five parts: time use (volunteerism, housework and childcare, leisure time), natural capital, human and social capital, human impact on the environment, and living standards. Perhaps we should develop something like this in the U.S., because the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) does not measure human well being.
The GDP shows how much income we produce, but not how it is distributed-- and we know there has been a growing gap between the rich and poor in America.

Bob Lynch, President of Americans for the Arts, estimated that 10,000 arts organizations in the U.S. will close their doors this year. That's 10% of all arts organizations. Maybe during tough economic times, the non-profits and the arts institutions need to find new ways to demonstrate the value of the arts. Perhaps a model for assessing social capital is needed. People will spend time and money on something they feel is valuable in their lives.

I believe we need to create more social capital. Here are 150 things you can do to help create more social capital in Allentown >

Photo: HALA Community Mural at 5th and Gordon Sts., Courtesy Allentown Good News Blog

Monday, April 27, 2009

Happy Birthday

The Allentown Chen Arts Group is now One Year Old!

We had a great potluck birthday party over the weekend, hosted by Peter at his loft on 7th Street. The turnout was great and everyone had a wonderful time.

It's amazing to think of what has been accomplished in the last year. From our first meeting at House of Chen, to the "16 & A Movie" show a Pete's and the glamorous "Momentum" show at the Butz building. The group continues to meet monthly to discuss art and support each other.

Hopefully there will be more great events in the next year, starting with the "Velocity" show in June.

We should all be proud of bringing eclectic and independent artwork back to Allentown.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Looking for an Artist's Assistant...?

Joyce Marin, the city's director of Community and Economic Development, has alerted the Chen Arts Group to an interesting offer:

There is economic stimulus money in the pipeline that will allow area business owners to employ and train local youth (ages 14-24) on the government's dime. This summer, Chensters and other professionals will have an opportunity to hire a young person, which personal budget restrictions may not have allowed in the past.

In exchange, the young adult that you hire will receive a paycheck through the stimulus dollars, and even better, gain real job experience and training from you.

The Innovative Summer Youth Program is organized through Career Link. For applications, contact their office at 610-841-1029 or visit

Applications are due April 30 - that is Thursday. So don't delay. There are plenty of skills our area artists can teach to the youth of our region, and the youth of our region have plenty of help to offer.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring Offensive on 7th Street This Weekend

Seventh Street will be celebrating Earth Day on Saturday, April 25, with a Spring Offensive.

Street puppets, by talented artist and Chen member Yodi Duane Vaden, will take to the street and interact with the public.

There will be music, flower plantings, family activities and more. The colorful businesses and tasty eateries will be open, as always.

Please come from 10 am to 4 pm to participate in this event.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Local Artists Exhibit This Weekend

This was submitted by Yodi. This show features artists active in the Allentown Chen Arts Group:

The exhibit is at the Mayor Ed Pawlowski Campaign Headquarter on the west end of the city (2020 West Hamilton Street Allentown Pa). It will be a way for the artist to express their support for the Mayor of Allentown. The opening for the show is tomorrow, Saturday, April 11, 2009 from 1pm to 3pm.

Mayor Pawlowski is a long time supporter of the arts in all forms. The artwork will be displayed from April 11, 2009 through May 19th during the primary; a secondary show will be hung during the general election. So stop in often. A few of the artist will be on hand to discuss their artist styles. The artist include Chris Neyen, Gregory Coates, Mohamed Mansour, Rick Hildenbrandt, and Yodi Duane Vaden.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Show Opening at Allentown Gallery on Saturday

Please come out to Art N Soul - the only independent gallery in downtown Allentown - this Saturday, April 11, for the opening of Cartoon Messiah, a show featuring the work of Josh Noti.

Art N Soul is located at 516 W. Hamilton Street. The evening kicks off at 7 p.m. Please try to support one of our area artists at this unique tattoo and art venue.

Friday, April 3, 2009

First Monday.....

…….another view of downtown!

Join us Monday, April 6 from 5:00 – 7:00 P.M. on the second floor of Butz Corporate Center. The second floor tenants welcome you to visit our spaces and enjoy “another view of downtown” from our second floor vantage point. Hosted by -

Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce
Lee A. Butz
Lehigh Valley Arts Council
Lehigh Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau
Properties of Merit of Pennsylvania
Roberson Butz Architects

Spread the word. Bring your friends, co-workers, partners, and spouses. We will be serving scrumptious appetizers, sandwiches, desserts and beverages. Live music will be provided by Lazy Dogma.

(invite provided by Debora Roberson and Eric Butz, supporters of the Chen Arts Group)