Friday, January 29, 2010

Another Outlet for Writers and Poetry Lovers

from Yodi:
Stop by, listen and join in. Starting February 2, 2010 the Hava Java Café at 526 N. 19th Street in Allentown, Pennsylvania will be presenting a poetry reading called West Side Poetry.
Hosting West Side Poetry will be Yodi from the Word Wednesday Poetry Ensemble. This ongoing open mic event will feature many members of the ensemble as well. West Side Poetry is every Tuesday starting at 7pm.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Juried Show in Bethlehem Accepting Submissions

Bethlehem's Fine Arts Commission's 45th Annual Fine Arts and Craft Show, A Juried Exhibition.
Date: May 8-9, 2010.
Over $2,000 in awards.

Slide deadline February 12.

For prospectus, send SASE to:

Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission
55 E. Church Street
Bethlehem, PA 18018
Or download the file from
For additional information call 610-865-3924 (after 5 pm).

Monday, January 25, 2010

Featuring work by Gregory Coates....

Allentown-based artist Greg Coates will have is work featured soon in multiple shows. Greg will have his own show beginning in February in Philadelphia and he is also part of a group show in Troy, New York. Here are the details:


Dada: Influence and Response In the salon

DATES > February 8 – March 2, 2010RECEPTION > Friday, February 12, 2010, 6-8pm

At the Sande Webster Gallery, 2006 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

From the gallery announcement:

Coates is an international conceptual artist poised in the gap between painting and sculpture. Exploring the nature of unconventional materials is a signature part of his work. He is able to balance an abstract modernist painting sensibility with a gritty found object sculptural inclination. Coates is able to spin mundane rubber tubes, feathers and discarded materials into fine works of art that astonishingly transcend the materials themselves. There is an excitement and tension in the brave use of materials that is resolved by a mastery of craftsmanship. The result is often large-scale contemplative installations that envelop the viewer. Dada: Influence and Response presents new rubber and feather works that explore a contemporary conversation with the anti-art movement of World War I. Dadaism was anarchistic in nature and rejected the prevailing standards in art, commenting on the meaninglessness of the modern world. Coates’ art continues this spirit of Dada, utilizing collage, assemblage and readymade objects without rules or limitations.

Coates was awarded the Joan Mitchell, Pollock-Krasner and Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Fellowship Grants and the New York State Foundation Grant. His work is shown internationally, most recently at Galerie Denkraum in Vienna. In 2002, at the occasion of receiving the Edward Mitchell Bannister award in Rhode Island, Coates’ friend and award presenter Professor Bob Dillworth wrote: “Insisting on the material nature of art, on the interchangeability of things in the world, and malleability of meaning, Gregory Coates has broadened the scope of his own reality to put process and risk-taking at center-stage. This amounts to a kind of visual radicalism rarely seen today.”


The Shelnutt Gallery at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute presents "Collage" from Feb. 4 to Mar. 31. A group of 13 artists celebrate their diversity to honor Black History Month. Reception is Feb. 4 at 5:30-8:30 pm.

Aside from that exciting news, Greg is featured in the current issue of LV Magazine, where he discusses his "New Museum" project and more. (Chen Arts Group and Diane Teti - manager of Art Mart - were also mentioned in the piece.)

Greg and Kiki Nienaber are also planning an art show on the nude image at their studio in April. Contact them if you're interested in submitting work for inclusion:

Meeting Notes 1/23/10

Thanks to everyone for attending our January meeting. Some of us enjoyed a tour of the fabulous new Salemme Foundation Gallery before our dinner. If you have not seen the gallery, please contact Joe Skrapits for a tour.

Sarah welcomed new members and spoke about our grant project which will feature thirteen 2'x2'x2' artist designed plexiglass cubes. The theme for this community art project is re-urbanization. The cubes will be on display, possibly at an indoor space, in June.

Pete Lewnes announced that he has been appointed President of the Allentown Arts Commission, and that Sarah Fulton has been nominated to serve on the Arts Commission. Congratulations to both Pete and Sarah. Pete spoke about Arts Ovation Award nominations which are due January 29th. Pete has gotten the Allentown City Arts blog running, and I will put up a link soon.
More great news from Pete: he informed us about a LANTA grant which is available for the restoration of public sculptures, murals at the transportation center, and other public works of art. Also, he is working on a new fabulous culinary school for 7th St.

Heather Haas is looking for artists to paint murals on garage doors in the city. For more details on this project, contact us at the e-mail and we will forward to Heather.

Diane Teti talked about the success of Art Mart. Business has slowed down a little since the holidays but she plans on having special events and artist workshops in the space soon. Channel 69 News, TV 2 News, and Lehigh Valley Magazine covered Art Mart, so there was good publicity. There was one sentence in the Morning Call's Retail Watch section. See link to Art Mart at our sidebar, and contact Diane if you would like more information. Diane also mentioned the idea of a Second Saturday Art Walk on Hamilton St. And don't miss Word Wednesdays at the Brew Works, organized by Yodi and Kari Holmes.

Greg Coates is featured in Lehigh Valley Magazine.

Angie Villa brought up the idea of a future group fine art show, possibly at the Allentown Art Museum Community Room gallery where we held our Velocity Show last year. If anyone has any suggestions or would like to coordinate the show, please contact us at the e-mail.
Also, if anyone is interested in helping create and maintain a Facebook page for Chen Arts, which links to the blog posts, please contact us at the e-mail. So far, Stefan and Kate expressed interest at the meeting.

I forgot to mention this at the meeting: The Villas, local original power-pop band, with special appearances by 8 yr. old Gianni Villa and 26 yr. old Pat Villa, will be performing at Mayfair, Sunday May 30th 5:30-7pm Lakeside Stage. See link at our sidebar.

Matt is working on "Fringe Fest" a music and art festival. I believe he mentioned Art and Soul Gallery would be involved too. Sorry, I missed some of the details here, maybe Matt can talk about that in a comment?

Please feel free to add anything in the comments. Thanks to everyone. The art scene in Allentown has really taken off. Thanks to Jenny Chen for outstanding Malaysian food. Thanks to Sarah for her work at the blog and e-mails. See you in February.

Angie Villa

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tango Orchestra performing Thursday night

Live Argentine Tango Orchestra
Mandragora Tango
Playing for our listening and dancing pleasure Thursday, Jan. 21st 7:45 pm
(Complimentary Tango Talk & Introductory Lesson begins at 7 pm)

The Allentown Symphony Hall
23 North 6th St.
Allentown, Pa. 18101

For Tickets Contact:The Allentown Symphony Box Office: (610) 432-6715

Advance sale tickets: $20 / Tickets day of event: $25 / Students: $10 (w/ ID)
Presented by Sharon Hillman & The Allentown Symphony Association

News coverage of the new Salemme Foundation gallery

This article was featured in Sunday's (1/17/10) Morning Call:
(sorry the formatting was screwed up in copy/paste)

NOTICE: The Chen Arts Group is invited to a personal tour of the gallery before dinner Saturday from 5-6:30. Address is 542 Hamilton. Phone: 610-434-7476. Hope to see you there.

Antonio Salemme, a noted artist whose nude sculpture of actor Paul Robeson shocked the 1930s elite, lived and worked in Williams Township for a third of his life. Now, his art has a permanent home in downtown Allentown.Bathed in the light from a magnificent 18 foot-wide arched window overlooking Hamilton Street, a half-dozen figure studies stand or sit in repose, the brick façade of the Hotel Americus across the street glowing softly behind them. A life-sized female nude, in the Greco-Roman style of a classic Venus, stands solemnly next to a seated bronze athlete, his muscles glistening. Smaller sculptures surround them -- some in clay, some in plaster, some in bronze.Along the walls, shelves are teeming with more than a hundred smaller sculptures, in various states of completion. Busts of Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy and jazz icon Ethel Waters rub shoulders with more abstract pieces. Nearly two dozen paintings, in styles ranging from the elusive spontaneity of Cézanne and the Post-Impressionists to the vibrant colors and seductively distorted perspective of Matisse, hang on the dove-gray walls.This is the new Antonio Salemme Foundation on the second floor of 542 Hamilton St.. There is so much remarkable about the space. First, it represents the work of a supremely gifted artist.Antonio Salemme was a prominent sculptor/painter who spent half of his creative life at the center of the teeming arts scene in New York's Greenwich Village from the 1920s through the 1950s, working with artists such as Willem de Kooning and Arshile Gorkey. His most famous piece is a controversial nude sculpture of actor Paul Robeson.In 1959, Salemme and his wife Martha, also an artist, purchased an old schoolhouse in Williams Township, Northampton County, that the couple converted into a home/studio. He worked there until his death at the age of 102 in 1995, and Martha until her death nine years later.As remarkable as Salemme was, equally remarkable is that their prodigious collection of art found a home in Allentown. That story goes back to 1982, when the couple formed a nonprofit foundation with the dream of establishing a museum to display their work. 1982 also was the year that Joseph Skrapits, an artist, freelance writer and contributing editor to American Artist magazine, met the couple.''I first met Antonio through an article I was doing for Philadelphia Magazine on his famous Paul Robeson sculpture,'' says Skrapits, a native of South Whitehall Township. ''When I first met him, I was just bowled over -- here was this very vigorous man, 90 years old, who started talking about Greenwich Village, his friendship with Paul Robeson, and all these people he knew like [Abstract Expressionists] Willem de Kooning and Arshile Gorky. But it wasn't like he was name-dropping -- he was just talking about his life.''Skrapits also had the itch to paint, and Salemme became his teacher and mentor. ''Over the 11 years I knew him, he became a sort of grandfather/big brother -- a really splendid person. Just before he died, I promised him I would see that Martha was OK. I didn't have any thought of becoming involved in the foundation until she passed away in 2004,'' he says.The couple had amassed a lifetime of work and had no family or children to bequeath it to, so it went to the foundation. ''There was the house and a studio full of artwork. Some of us -- former friends and students -- looked at each other and asked ourselves, 'Well, now what?' '' says Skrapits, now president of the Antonio Salemme Foundation.One day soon after Martha's memorial service, Skrapits, who lives in downtown Allentown, discovered there was a small space available at the new Musselman Arts Development Center at Sixth and Hamilton streets. With money from the sale of Salemme's Williams Township property, the space was secured in 2006.''Basically, our endowment was what we got from the sale -- there was nothing else,'' Skrapits says. ''But I was still looking for other possibilities, and found a bigger space -- 1,200 square feet -- at 542 Hamilton, in what had been the old Empire Beauty School. We moved everything into it in October.''''This new space is a tremendous advancement in the cultural revitalization of downtown Allentown,'' says Bob Metzger, interim director of the Allentown Art Museum. Metzger had visited Salemme's studio and met Martha. ''Here we have the work of an artist of the first rank, known and respected to many within the art world, but unfortunately relatively unknown to the general public. This long overdue recognition is warmly welcomed, and will give the opportunity to let him be known to his own community for the first time.''Skrapits, a volunteer like all the members of the foundation's board, is committed to telling others about Salemme. At this time, the foundation space is planned not as a traditional museum or gallery, but as a place to study Salemme's art. It is now open weekends and a formal opening is scheduled for late March. The group also has an impressive Web site.''Our mission is to preserve the legacy of an American master, Antonio Salemme, and to educate the public about his contributions to 20th-century art,'' says Skrapits.The Antonio Salemme Foundation now looks more like an artist's studio than an art gallery. In fact, the place is as much a work in progress as are some of its pieces -- bronze, unfired clay and plaster casts representing all phases of the sculptor's trade. ''We're still in an editing phase, having just recently unpacked more than 120 boxes of sculpture -- about 150 pieces, and that's just the small ones -- and hundreds of paintings. Then there's hundreds of examples of Martha's work, which are mostly watercolors,'' Skrapits says.Salemme's opus is indeed impressive, and represents a bridge between the Impressionists of the 19th century and 20th century Modernism. Born in Gaeta, Italy, in 1892, he moved to Boston with his father in 1904 after the death of his mother. He began studying art when he was 14, and in 1912 a Bostonian patron of the arts, recognizing his talent, sent him to Rome, where he studied classical sculpture. Returning to the United States after World War I, Salemme established a studio in Greenwich Village.Salemme became a prominent artist in the 1920s through the 1930s, when his Neoclassical style and reputation as a portrait sculptor earned him one of the first Guggenheim Fellowships, awarded in 1932.''To give you an idea of how important he was at the time, two of the other award recipients that year were Martha Graham and Lewis Mumford. He didn't even have to apply -- he was invited to take it,'' Skrapits says.One of his most important, and arguably most controversial works of the period, was his 1926 full-figure nude portrait of the actor Paul Robeson in bronze-colored plaster, titled ''Negro Spiritual.'' The sculpture is missing. Notable pieces on display from Salemme's classical period include ''Seated Athlete,'' a life-size bronze not shown in public since it was displayed at the Whitney Museum in 1936; ''Eve,'' another classic life-size bronze of a standing female nude, and a 1926 bust of Ethel Waters, the prominent Harlem Renaissance jazz/blues singer. Paintings from this period are very Post-Impressionistic, such as his Cézanne-like view of Central Park, with its soft colors and carefully preserved perspectives, or his portrait of British novelist Gerald Heard.But as the 1930s waned, Neoclassicism was giving way to Modernism, with figures and landscapes becoming more stylized and more expressionistic. What Salemme was doing was going out of style.''By the time he moved to the Lehigh Valley, he pretty much let his ties to the art world go. His focus was becoming less social and more imaginative and visionary,'' says Skrapits.The Salemmes discovered Northampton County through Manhattan friends who had a weekend place there. On a visit, they discovered an old schoolhouse that was being renovated into a residence, thought it would make a good studio, and bought it in 1959 as a weekend retreat. In 1962 they made the decision to move there permanently.His change of focus is evident in some sculptures on display from this period, such as fanciful, heavily textured pieces Salemme called ''environments.'' But many works from the period still preserve his classic quest for realism, such as busts of John F. Kennedy, Einstein and Eisenhower. Not one to be modest, Salemme called his Kennedy portrait ''the finest there was of the man, and no one is more qualified than myself to say so.''Salemme's later paintings show his drift to a more stylized vision. His world becomes more Matisse-like, filled with bright colors and distorted perspective. A still life of a bowl of green tomatoes becomes a surrealistic study with an imaginary background scene. Portraits of women he called ''imagined portraits'' are created from remembered or imagined details, not from the figures themselves.''When I met him, it was all about color relationships and almost surreal perspectives -- a more modernist approach. He once told me, 'I did my best work after I turned 70,' '' says Skrapits. ''I mean, here was this guy, 90 years old, just churning this stuff out -- it's like he was still trying to tell us something.''

What: Space devoted to the work of the late painter/sculptor, who worked in Williams Township, Northampton County for a third of his life
When: Open 1-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, call first; or by appointment. Grand opening in the spring.
Where: 542 Hamilton St., second floor, Allentown
Admission: Free, donations acceptedInfo: 610-433-4150, Siegel is a freelance writer.Jodi Duckett,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Benefit Concert for Craig's Kids

Please spread the word about this event. Craig was dedicated to Art N Soul and building the arts community in Allentown. This concert is a benefit for Craig's children. Offer your support if you can.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Open House Cooperative Art Show on Saturday

I received these details from Kerri Ann and Adam and re-posted them here. Hopefully some of you can make it to the show on Saturday. This is becoming a regular event.

What: Gypsy Creations is hosting an Open House Cooperative Art Show

When: Saturday, Jan. 16 from noon to 7 p.m.

Where: 32 S. 18th Street, Allentown

Details: There will be a cooperative art show featuring Victor Fritch, work by recycling artists, drums, fine art, wearable creations, baskets, butterflies and more. Live music by Flux Capacitor.

Call 484-350-9674 for more information.

Save Your Mother. Shop Local. Buy Recycled.
Hosted By Gypsy Creations

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Submissions Accepted for Art Event at The Caring Place

The following info is from Bethlehem artist Reinaldo Valentin. He is coordinating a show to benefit a local charitable organization. You can see some of his work right now at Art Mart. His website is:

Window of Opportunity

Artist Reception at The Caring Place
Friday, January 29, 2010
7-9 p.m.
931 Hamilton Street
Allentown, PA

Under My Feet Gallery is organizing the Window of Opportunity art show. This will feature artworks by artists of all levels, from emerging to established. All sales will benefit the not-for-profit organization, The Caring Place, in Allentown to help raise money to send a group of inner city students to Washington, D.C.

Collectors walk away with something beautiful; a piece of art they love and their money going directly to support their community. Window of Opportunity provides an excellent opportunity to get a one-of-a-kind work of art and helps broaden the view of the world for a youth.

Attention Artists!
Deadline is Monday, January 25

All artists are invited and encouraged to donate one small 2D or 3D piece that must be priced under $50. We will also be auctioning off larger pieces of work. Please note size of work, price and if you would like to have a med-large piece auctioned off, please make a note of it and the value. Artists can submit up to 3 pieces of paintings, drawings, photography, prints, mixed media, and handcrafted items - all are welcome. If you would like to participate in this show, send one to three images to:

Learn more about or

Monday, January 4, 2010

Artists: Share Your Work Abroad

The Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation is currently accepting applications for artists interested in performing in foreign locales. See the qualifications below.

Sadly, the deadline is this week: January 8, read on....

The Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation's "U.S. Artists International" application for engagements taking place between March 1, 2010 and February 28, 2011 ends on January 8, 2010.

The program is committed to ensuring that the impressive range of expression and creativity of the performing arts in the United States is represented abroad.

USArtists International provides support for American dance, music, and theater ensembles and solo artists invited to perform at significant international festivals anywhere in the world outside the United States and its territories.

For more information about USArtists International, including program guidelines and application:

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation

Attention: Sara Nash, Program Associate, International at