APRIL 20, 2017

The revitalization of the city of Allentown has been underway over the past several years bringing new businesses, guests and residents to the city as part of a renaissance of Pennsylvania’s third largest city. The arts and culture community has had, and continues to have, a significant role in this economic development by enhancing economic vitality, improving the quality of life for all, and serving as a centerpiece for the growth and excellence of the region’s creative economy.

In conjunction with the Upside Allentown initiative, a program of the Community Action Development Corporation of Allentown (CADCA), an 18-month strategic planning process was undertaken by members of the community, including residents, artists, creative sector entrepreneurs, cultural organizations, public officials, educational institutions, philanthropic partners, and others. The result of this process was the Allentown Arts & Culture 20:21 Plan, affording the community a plan of engagement and implementation to be taken over the next four years in Downtown Allentown and beyond.

As the first step in the process of implementing the Arts & Culture 20:21 Plan, leaders from the arts, businesses and communities throughout Allentown proudly announce the formation of the Cultural Coalition of Allentown (CCA), an independent non-profit organization whose vision is to create a vibrant, energetic and engaging Allentown with an abundance of diverse arts and cultural offerings including several signature initiatives.

The initial signature initiative from CCA’s 20:21 Plan being launched by the CCA is 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” Artist-in-Residency program 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 10-20 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 in Downtown Allentown in August as part of the Third Thursday on August 17.

In addition to the “Authentically Allentown” Artist-in-Residency 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” Artist-in-Residence program are encouraged to contact Deborah Rabinsky, Artistic Operations Director for the Cultural Coalition of Allentown at dearte2@verizon.net or 610.820.3829.

The Cultural Coalition of Allentown is supported by the Upside Allentown Neighborhood Partnership Program, a program of the Community Action Development Corporation of Allentown (CADCA) 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.

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