Rendering is courtesy of MKSD Architects.
BETHLEHEM, PA–Plans for the ArtsQuest Cultural Center in Bethlehem continue to move forward thanks to a $45,000 Community Improvement Grant awarded to ArtsQuest by Northampton County. The matching grant from the County of Northampton’s Community Investment Partnership Program (CIPP) will be used toward the construction of the new Cultural Center, which is currently in the planning phases.
Funded from Table Games Revenue, the CIPP program provides resources to Northampton County’s communities that lack access to resources in implementing comprehensive community revitalization plans and strategies that will improve the quality of life for citizens and create opportunities to stimulate, attract and sustain economic development. CIPP is designed to assist the county in prioritizing and allocating resources for the Northampton County Department of Community and Economic Development.
“ArtsQuest is one of the jewels of Northampton County, bringing arts and culture to both our residents and the many tourists who travel here to participate in its programs,” says Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure. “The County is proud to provide funding for the new Cultural Center.”
The new, 80,000-square-foot Cultural Center, to be built on the site of the Banana Factory, will include the adaptive reuse of two buildings, as well as new construction, resulting in a three-story, contemporary arts facility that will serve as a gateway to Bethlehem’s SouthSide Arts District. Among the new resources and programs in the building complex will be:
– The Lehigh Valley’s only Pre-K Arts-based Education Program
– 125-seat Comedy Club
– 5,000-square-foot Glass Studio (double the current ArtsQuest glass studio size)
– New digital, print, fiber arts, video, woodworking and other studios
The new Cultural Center will also allow ArtsQuest to increase its resident artist studio spaces by 25 percent, as well as feature two Art Plazas, outdoor classrooms and digital design displays, all of which will help attract artists, arts enthusiasts and visitors to Bethlehem and the county.
“One of the primary goals of the new Cultural Center is to serve as an anchor that draws visitors to the city’s arts district, provides opportunities for area artists to support their livelihood and helps to enhance the quality of life for the residents of our county,” says ArtsQuest President & CEO Kassie Hilgert. “We thank Northampton County, its council and its Community and Economic Development Department for supporting the vision behind this exciting, new resource for our region.”
ArtsQuest is a Bethlehem-based nonprofit dedicated to presenting music, arts, festivals, cultural experiences, and educational and outreach programs that aid in economic development, urban revitalization, and community enrichment. Through festivals such as its flagship event, Musikfest; the Banana Factory Arts Center; and the ArtsQuest Center and SteelStacks arts and cultural campus, ArtsQuest’s programming reaches more than 1.8 million people annually. The organization’s programs and events, approximately 40 percent of which are free to attend, have a combined economic impact of more than $135 million annually in the region.
Information provided to TVL by:
Mark Demko, ArtsQuest