On the first friday of every month, South Bethlehem hosts a celebration featuring artists and galleries at the Banana Factory filled with a feast of fine art. One of the most wonderful aspects of this event is that there is always something new to discover each time you attend. Whenever I visit the Banana Factory it feels like an adventure filled with the opportunity to meet artists or to appreciate the beautiful and varied works of art that adorn the walls.
The Banana Factory is a visual arts and education campus in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The arts center is located inside a re-imagined banana warehouse and distribution center. The Banana Factory features:
- The ArtsQuest Glass Studio
- Olympus Digital Imaging Center
- Ceramics Studio
- Resident Studio Artists
- Three Galleries
- Pennsylvania Youth Theatre
The September 7th, First Friday included a number of new artists, exhibits, and musicians. When I first walked in I was immediately drawn into the ArtsQuest Annual Members Exhibition in the Banko Gallery.
After walking through the Annual Members Exhibit, I was fortunate to meet Max Victor Alper, a very talented artist with gorgeous and sophisticated photographs displayed in the Olympus Digital Imaging Center. Max’s “Transcendent Journeys” Exhibition depicts metaphoric journeys using a variety of photographic techniques to give his images an impressionistic eloquence. Max described the images to me as scenes that use distortion, form, space, color, and light to convey drama and atmosphere.
I enjoyed having the opportunity to sit down with Max and hope to view more of his work during the ArtsQuest InVision Photo Festival. After meeting Max, I strolled down the arts hallway and visited the Art Mart pop up.
Art Mart was started in Allentown back in 2009. It is a pop-up store that highlights the work of local artists in the Lehigh Valley. Art Mart proudly features arts of all types including jewelry, pottery, paintings, drawings, sculpture, and clothing. The Allentown Art Works is a spin off from the Allentown Art Mart, and both help to promote artists within the Lehigh Valley community.
After visiting Art Mart I headed to the ArtsQuest glass studio and observed artists working in the studio to make beautiful glass pieces while a live band performed for an audience. The glass studio also has work displayed in cases. Watching the artists work with the tools and using heat to shape the glass was fascinating. The artwork created in the glass studio seems limitless, as I have seen flowers, hummingbird feeders, pumpkins, and other beautiful works of art generated by these talented artists.
While the first floor alone is an impressive experience, the second and third floor of the Banana Factory is home to many amazing resident artists. Visitors can walk up and down the hallways and view works of art created by these artists. During First Friday many of the artists have open studios and you can walk in and chat with them, talk about the artwork, and see their studio space in person. First Friday is a great way to see an artist’s work in progress, their recently completed pieces, and to discover something new.
The Banana Factory is currently holding “Perspectives”, the Banana Factory Artists Annual Exhibition which is a themed show from their resident artists. “Perspectives” is a show which highlights the individual artists while also giving the exhibition a cohesive theme. This exhibition will be on display until October 14th, in the Crayola Gallery at the Banana Factory. Another reception for this show will be held at the next First Friday on October 5th, from 6-9 PM. Learn more about the Banana Factory Arts Center.
For additional upcoming arts related events in the Lehigh Valley, check out:
- The Morning Call and the Baum School of Art – 6th Annual Juried Exhibition on display until September 21st, 2012 in the Fowler Community Room. This annual juried competition and exhibit features the impressive work of local and regional artists.
- First Friday at The Banana Factory Arts Center on October 5th, 2012 at 6 PM.Learn more about the October First Friday event.
- New Bridge Group call for artists! The Fall New Bridge Group show will be September 29th to October 13th, located at the Antonio Salemme Foundation.
- Quakertown Alive! presents The Pumpkin Ball on Saturday, October 6th, 2012 from 6 PM until Midnight. The Pumpkin Ball is a black tie gala benefiting revitalization of downtown Quakertown. Tickets are available at Quakertown Alive! 312 W. Broad Street Quakertown PA. For more information visit Quakertownalive.com.
- The Baum School of Art hosts the Art In The City Gala on October 13th, 2012. Featuring visiting artist Max Ginsburg, acclaimed New York social realist painter. Contact The Baum School of Art for more information. Find the Baum School of Art on Facebook.
- Up Next at The Soft Machine Gallery, an upcoming exhibit by Lydia Panas “Immanent Fear” and Jason Schwab, on display from November 2nd through November 30th, 2012. Opening reception is on Friday, November 9th from 6 – 10 PM. This exhibition is part of The Lehigh Valley Photography Month, presented by the InVision Photo Festival.
- 2012 InVision Photo Festival is being held from November 2nd through November 4th, and features three days of photo exhibitions, presentations, and workshops by photographers.