‘Art in the Park’ uplifting a beauty spot in Allentown since 1971
Now some 50 years on, “Art In The Park” returns to West Park, 16th and West Turner streets, Allentown, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sept. 17.
The annual event, which dates to 1971, is presented by the West Park Civic Association, which is dedicated “to Preserve, Protect, Enhance and Promote West Park and our Neighborhood.”
Michael Schelp and Dr. Alan Younkin became co-chairs of the event in spring 2022. They took over from long-time chair Dr. Christine Isabelle Oaklander.
Schelp works in media. Younkin is a veterinarian. Originally from Manhattan, they purchased a Turner Street house, which faces West Park, in December 2021.
“This is such a beautiful park,” says Younkin, “It’s just a nice uplifting environment.”
The arts festival had its genesis in 1971, with a year off in 2020 for the coronavirus (COVID-19) shutdown. It was usually held in June. To work around the pandemic, the event was moved to September in 2021.
“A lot of people liked it in September, so we left it for September this year, as well,” says Younkin.
The event is held rain or shine.
Lehigh Valley-based artists and arts organizations set up in the park’s tree-canopied setting for the day.
Juried artists and craftsmen display and sell their works. First-time artists to the event are asked to submit six examples of their work to be vetted by the committee. Returning artists can skip that step.
Among the eclectic mix of participants are painters, photographers, woodworkers, ceramists, sculptors, jewelry makers and mixed media artists.
There were 110 artists signed up as of the deadline for this article. That’s an increase from 65 in 2021.
Eleven demonstration artists include David Sommers, painting; Kim Hogan, mosaics; Al Johnson, mixed media; Jennifer Hershberger, painting-mixed media; Rigo Peralta, painting; Lisa Caruso, pottery; Charles Hanson, portraits; Derek Reynoso, ceramics; Cory Maletsky, woodworking; Victoria Beck, printmaking, and Anthony Smith, painting.
Community Music School Lehigh Valley & Berks students, the Allentown Band, and Repertory Dance Theatre of the Lehigh Valley will perform on the park’s historic band shell.
Food and beverages will be available for purchase.
Sponsors include Jaindl Enterprises, Allentown Arts Commission, City Center Allentown, People First Federal Credit Union, PBS 39 91.3 WLVR Lehigh Valley NPR, and WDIY 88.1 Lehigh Valley Public Radio NPR.
“Gallery View” is a column about artists, exhibitions and galleries. To request coverage, email: Paul Willistein, Focus editor, firstname.lastname@example.org