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WFMZ: Local Partnerships bring opportunities for community dialogue in the Lehigh Valley

February 15th, 2022 |

Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites (HBMS) announced two events of community and conversation will occur for the Design After Dark: Community Curated series.

This adult programming series features experiences produced by creatives with strong ties to the Lehigh Valley, officials stated.

Over the last year, Community Curators from all over the Lehigh Valley say they have planned public programs including performances, workshops, lectures, exhibitions, film screenings and concerts all in response to the quote from the late designer and visionary Sylvia Harris.

“Design teaches us not to make assumptions,” said Harris.

This month offers two unique experiences: a video screening curated by Ghen Dennis, presented in partnership with the Allentown Art Museum, and an exhibition of Esther M. Lee’s personal archive, curated by Rayah M. Levy, Founding Director of the Esther M. Lee African American Heritage Center.

On February 19, 2022, 1 p.m. at the Allentown Art Museum, Side/The Other Side a program of experimental film and video art curated by Ghen Dennis, will be presented in partnership by HBMS and the Allentown Art Museum (AAM).

The presentation investigates how people negotiate design systems – both as autonomous individuals and as collective social forces, officials say. The selected works will address design systems of the social world – citizenship, language, power, and ideology – with design systems related to architecture, photography and surveillance, costume and performance, objects and tools, and public/private space.

The selected films and videos will approach these topics and questions with both a poetic and a “socio-scientific” methodology. Artists included for the screening are Sondra Perry, Hito Steyerl, Mandy Morrison, and Ja’Tovia Gary.

Then on February 25, 2022, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts an opening reception and dialogue for A Pillar in the Branch of Bethlehem’s NAACP: Mrs. Esther M. Lee will be held at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, in Bethlehem.

Curator M. Rayah Levy, and Mrs. Esther M. Lee will be present for the opening and discussion, event organizers say. This pop-up exhibit is dedicated to the legacy of the current president of Bethlehem’s NAACP: Mrs. Esther M. Lee. Visit the exhibition during Black History Month to celebrate the legacy of Mrs. Lee. The exhibition runs through March 25, 2022, with free admission on Sundays from 1-4 p.m.

Curator, Rayah Levy says of the exhibit, “An exhibition on this scale has never been done before. Viewers will not only learn about Mrs. Esther M Lee, the activist but will get a taste of historical content not previously known to the public. They will also learn about the history of the larger African American community in Bethlehem. We are making the often overlooked visible through this exhibition.”

There is registration for a suggested donation for both events and can be made through the HBMS website.

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