Saturday, October 15, 2011

Allentown's "Crown Jewel"

I just read about the $15.4 million dollar expansion to the Allentown Art Museum, funded by a combination of private donors and public funds. The festivities surrounding this grand event are happening while art classes for Allentown's poor public elementary school children have been reduced to only 9 times per year. Something is not jibing here, Allentown.

If the arts are flourishing in the Allentown "arts district", then they should be flourishing in the Allentown school district as well. This says a lot about our city's priorities.



Photo from WFMZ News.

12 comments:

Mrs. Dottie said...

School board directors, local politicians, business leaders, arts patrons, arts council, why aren't you doing something to save art programs in our schools? I see the new expansion includes a corner cafe, new logo and branding, fancy parking lot and parking tags. Must be lovely, but not in light of drastic cuts to the arts for our school children who won't even get a chance to discover their talents or learn about artists.

Foo Foo said...

Looks like a mausoleum with an attached office building ;P The museum should focus more on education, less on appearances. At least they are going to have free admission on Sundays. But still, all this showy celebrating is shameful in light of growing income inequality and cuts to education. I think a quiet opening would be more appropriate during these times. This just further divides the have it alls and have nots, and that is not good for Allentown..

Mrs. Dottie said...

Hi Foo Foo,

You are too funny! I think the new part should have been designed to go with the old part, but I guess they wanted a new modern look (that goes along with the city's "moving forward" theme) with a lot of glass so visitors could see the Arts Park. That "park" is more like a front lawn to the museum because it is not very kid friendly, but it looks nice.

Just think, if that $15.4 million was put into art programs for schools, and new playground equipment, fixing old school buildings, or books and supplies, or TEACHERS! What a huge difference that would make for our community.

I believe in investing in our institutions, parks, etc, but I think our kids should come first. And right now, education is being hit very hard, and so much is being taken away from our children. That's not right.

Mrs. Dottie said...

"When students look at their schools, they learn a lot about the value society places on them and their opportunity to get a good education. These crumbling structures are in effect symbols of the inequality that pervades American society." Randi Weingarten

Anonymous said...

Angie, you forgot to mention the Allentown Arts Commission. They present awards to ASD high school students. Why aren't they outraged over cuts to the arts?

Anonymous said...

The new museum is for the Butz's, Gross's, Gates's, Jaindl's, etc., to have upgraded wine and cheese get-togethers, and give themselves awards..no?

Mrs. Dottie said...

I don't get it. Quality education for ALL should be #1 priority.

Mrs. Dottie said...

Admission to the museum has doubled, but the higher price will now get you into the special exhibits. I am wondering if the ASD students will still get to go to the art museum on field trips? How can people celebrate the arts in Allentown in high style while our public schools are crumbling and art is disappearing from the curriculum? That's just not right. What is the Arts Commission doing about cuts to art programs in the elementary schools? This would never be allowed to happen in private schools or in public schools that serve rich kids. Schools are supposed to reflect the values of the community. There is a disconnect here, and it it so glaringly obvious, yet it has become acceptable.

Anonymous said...

Will any LOCAL artists be showing in the new digs?

Foo Foo said...

This shows just how much richer the rich have gotten.

Mrs. Dottie said...

From today's Morning Call: "Allentown's 250th anniversary celebration will include a parade and street fair on Sept. 29 and a yearlong effort to catalog and preserve the city's public art.

Mayor Ed Pawlowski and anniversary celebration co-chairman Tony Iannelli, president of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, announced details of the celebration at a news conference Thursday at City Hall.

The Grand Parade and Street Fair will include bands, floats, business organizations and historical Allentown characters as well as a variety of engaging activities.

The anniversary celebration will also put a spotlight on the city's arts community and numerous public art installations, said co-chairman Malcolm Gross."

More celebrating and festivities as arts experiences are denied to poor Allentown school children, and art teachers lose their jobs. This is shameful. It's all about appearances in Allentown. Ain't it grand?

Mrs. Dottie said...

Before it goes poof:
Here's a comment I left at the Lehigh Valley Arts Council's Facebook post about how the arts are flourishing in our community, thanks to corporate sponsors. They need a dose of reality and should be addressing the fact that no one has come to rescue the arts for the poor underserved children in the ASD. Enough with the bullshit and flowery arts advocacy mission statements. Children should be a priority, and the arts should not be reserved for the rich kids.

"Wrong. Our schools are not "flush with creative capital." The arts have been drastically cut in Allentown School District elementary schools. My son now gets art class only 9 times this entire school year. Why aren't our children a priority? Let's talk about reality. Our political leaders, and business leaders have failed. $15.4 million for an art museum, as poor children are denied experiences in the arts, and art teachers are layed off. I'm not celebrating, but I will continue to volunteer and advocate for equality in arts education."