Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites

In association with the Smithsonian Institution


Design After Dark: Community Curated

We are open again!

Design After Dark, an adult programming series at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, launched in April 2019. Focusing on art and design, the inaugural season included a pop-up retro arcade, trivia nights, an art café, exclusive walking tours, and a comedy night. While placed on hold for the 2020 season, Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is refocusing in 2021 around unique experiences by Lehigh Valley Creatives.

Our Community Curators, each responding to the quote by late designer Sylvia Harris “Design teaches us not to make assumptions,” have developed their own take on art & design with experiences ranging from performances to panels to art exhibits. Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is thrilled to work with creatives from all over the Lehigh Valley and have Design After Dark serve as a platform for their work.

Check back for more information on our community curators and the upcoming events!

Meet our Community Curators

Third Culture Child

July 30, 2021

6:00-9:00 PM

Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts

Artists of Hispanic descent will share an honest depiction of who a Third Culture Child is in an evening of art and expression.

To learn more about 'Third Culture Child' and the thought process behind the event, listen to Lindsey and Qbah on the "No Rain Date" podcast! : https://sauconsource.com/podcast/no-rain-date-ep-63-design-after-dark-invests-community-in-art/

Qbah Fernandez

Qbah Fernandez is a Bethlehem-born entrepreneur, music producer, audio engineer, video director, and content-creator with a degree from Full Sail University. He has over 12 years experience in the television industry and has worked for major Emmy nominated television networks as well as local stations such as WFMZ. He also is seasoned in the music industry with over 9 years of experience which has allowed him to work and travel with Latin Grammy winners and 3 time Grammy nominated producers. Although his passion lies in production, he also proudly sits on the board of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as its current Vice Chair.

Meet the Artists

Devyn Briggs grew up in Bethlehem, PA and studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD. She studied drawing, painting, sculpture, fiber arts, and ceramics and earned a BFA with a major in Ceramics in 2013. She then earned a master's degree in the Business of Art and Design, studying creative entrepreneurship before opening a studio at the Banana Factory.

In addition to making art, Devyn is an educator and arts activist dedicated to fostering equity and inclusion within the Lehigh Valley arts community. She has worked in numerous areas of the art world including fine art collection management, creative start-ups, community and public art, and non-profit management. She currently works as a Career Specialist at NCC, empowering communications, arts, and design students to start successful careers. She also serves on CACLV’s Color Outside the Lines Quality of Life Committee and as an advisory board member of the Guild of Creative Citizens, a non-profit dedicated to arts equity in the Lehigh Valley.

Alyssa Garcia is a Philadelphia based, award-winning singer-songwriter and pianist with an alternative pop sound. Living by the mantra "Music is the cure," she strives to use her original music as an outlet of positivity. Garcia pens soulful tunes telling personal stories her audience can often relate to.

Luli is an empathetic multi talented artist from Bethlehem Pennsylvania, where she continues to live and make colorful impacts amongst her peers. Born with the gift to passionately connect with the hearts and minds of people, she uses her various artistic skills to teach, heal, and engage with souls all over the world.  Be prepared to dive deep, and surface the raw truth and emotion around you. Luli's art focuses on her intimate experiences with poisonous negativity and how she uses creativity, light and joy to diminish everyday darkness and live a more peaceful and cherishing life.

I am an artist and illustrator and my work tends to be surreal inspired by a world separate from the one we live in. I enjoy creating characters and giving them a personality or a role within their space. Sometimes I take critical views of social issues in a dream-like manner. Surrealism and fantasy combined with real ideas help me to inform the viewer about a specific issue. I like to use a combination of vivid and bright colors while working with a variety of mediums. I like to experiment with a range of various materials but my favorite is wood. I prefer to create a piece of art that belongs to a diptych or a polyptych. By making more than one single artwork the arrangement and the display also play a very important factor of how the work is received visually.

The use of mixed media gives me great freedom of expression in a variety of themes. Prior to creating the final piece I sketch my vision on a piece of paper. This sketch goes with me almost everywhere. With this sketch my creative energies for visual art are channeled and allow me to explore the dream like world in my mind. I want all of my artwork tell a story to the viewer. I want to be able to communicate visually in a world that needs to be reminded constantly of the social issues we face in our lifetime. My expression through art is how I voice my opinions and offer support to these problems we all face daily.

Global Water Dances Screening & Community Conversation

August 26, 2021

6:30 PM

Luckenbach Mill

Global Water Dances uses the international languages of dance and film to promote awareness and a behavioral shift toward solutions for water preservation and conservation through community engagement. Watch the screening of the site-specific performance and join in the discussion around water issues in the Lehigh Valley.

Adam Ercolani

Adam Ercolani is a Lehigh-Valley based theatre artist, Apprentice at Bethlehem's Touchstone Theatre, and MFA Candidate at Moravian College. His work draws attention to the individual's relationship to the self as a result of the environment they find themselves in, and stations this work clearly in the context of the community in which it's presented. He employs a multi-disciplinary approach to artistic creation, which spans across genres and mediums, and focuses on the empowerment of marginalized communities through creative exploration.

Sean Patrick Cassidy

Sean Patrick Cassidy is a theatre maker from Detroit, Michigan USA that applies a therapeutic approach to his artistic practice. With over ten years experience helping to build healthy communities through performance he is committed to raising up voices that are being left out of the conversations that are shaping the future of our cities thereby building a more equitable world for all.

Jazz Off Main

September 10, 2021

Jazz music is all about freestyle and feeling the music - defying expectations about where the piece will go next. Enjoy an evening listening and dancing to an exclusive performance from some of the best jazz musicians in the Lehigh Valley.

Priscilla Sosnowski

Priscilla Sosnowski is the founder and owner of Encore Live Entertainment LLC. Over her 7 years in the entertainment industry, she has worked with celebrities such as Chris Brown, Carl Payne, Angelina Pivarnick, and more. Priscilla is an avid supporter of the community, serving as a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the outreach coordinator of Cay Galgon Life House.

RAW Culture

September 26, 2021

In June 2018, Ms. Matthews arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, where she plans to open an art school called Real Art Works (RAW). Join her at the Luckenbach Mill for a Kenyan cultural experience through art, food, music, and an open conversation about RAW.

Robbie Matthews

Robbie Matthews is the Executive Director of Broken Alabaster Ministries, Inc. (BAM). Miracle Meadows Mentoring Center is a program of BAM, in which Ms. Matthews uses her horses and goats  combined with art mentoring as an outreach tool for inner city youth.  She previously worked for the largest family homeless shelter in the region. Ms. Matthews has been involved with low-income families, homeless and formerly homeless children in horseback riding and rodeo training by a professional award-winning cowboy.

Ms. Matthews has trained with Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in Bend, Oregon and held certification through the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA), which allowed her to use her horses for psychotherapy.

Ms. Matthews is a collage artist who repurposes salvaged materials to create clothing, jewelry and other art. Ms. Matthews believes everyone has a hidden treasure that needs to be discovered. Just like her art pieces, she teaches individuals to search for the treasure within. Everyone should be valued and not thrown away. She uses both art and animal therapy to embrace creativity and engage in conversation about purpose and destiny.

Prior to attending Cedar Crest College, Ms. Matthews was a self-taught collage artist who now understands theory. She was primarily influenced by her mother who is a Fine Arts Major and an Interior Designer. Ms. Matthews is currently in the Masters Program at Cedar Crest College, pursuing a degree in Art Therapy.

Debunking Design Assumptions

October 28, 2021

Shweta Jajodia of Allentown's SJ Interiors debunks common assumptions about interior design with this lecture and workshop.

Shweta Jajodia

Born and educated in India, I am a practicing interior designer based in the Lehigh Valley with an experience spanning over 22 years. I am a NCIDQ certified Interior Designer in the United States. My education and global work experience has given me the ability to translate my client’s preferences and lifestyles into highly personalized, functional and stunning living spaces.

As part of my work experience I have had the privilege to work on restoration and conservation of Indian heritage hotels with modern amenities. Working on heritage buildings has instilled appreciation for historic homes just as working with craftsmen and artisans has inspired me to use their crafts in my designs. I create unique and influential interiors combining the best of the past with today’s innovation. All my designs are born from the conviction that they influence the lives of those who use them. My goal is to create living spaces which are delightful blend of history, form, function and comfort.

Leslie Fletcher. Blue Curve and Straight Blue Lines. 2008. Graphite, powdered pastel, watercolor wash on 300 lb. cold press wc paper. Exchange with the Artist.

Drawing Room: Still-Life Workshop

Family Workshop: Sunday November 7, 2021, 1-4 PM

Design After Dark: Thursday November 11, 2021, 6-8 PM

Join Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG) for a hands-on still-life drawing workshop that features works from the permanent collection at the Kemerer Museum. In conjunction with the exhibition Thinking through Drawing: Works on Paper, Drawings, and Sketchbooks from the Collection and Community on view at LUAG, participants will be encouraged to experiment with a variety of tools and techniques to strengthen their observational skills. No prior experience necessary.

Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG)

With over 17,000 works of art from diverse time periods and cultures, seven galleries on three campuses, two art study centers, and an outdoor sculpture collection of over 50 works, there is something for everyone at Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG). Come explore their exhibitions, and participate in free programs and events for all ages.

Visit: www.luag.org

Side/The Other Side

January 2022

Side/The Other Side is a program of experimental film and video art curated by Ghen Dennis that investigates how people negotiate design systems - both as autonomous individuals and as collective social forces. 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.

Questions the selected works will ask include: What do we assume about the functions of objects and machines, and space and place, as we move about our individual and collective worlds?; How can we reconcile that what we feel may not reflect what we see?; and, How does design teach us not to make assumptions?

The selected films and videos will approach these topics and questions with both a poetic and a “socio-scientific” methodology. Artists considered for the program and talk include: Harun Farocki; Kevin Jerome Everson; Paul Chan; Rachel Whiteread; Ana Mendieta; Sondra Perry; Hito Steyerl, Mandy Morrison and Harry Dodge.

Ghen Dennis

Ghen Dennis is an experimental filmmaker, curator and teacher. Her work investigates the ways we understand power structures, collective narratives, and the role information technology plays in both. Most of her artistic, curatorial and pedagogical work focuses on a consideration of an ethics of media representation within the politics and public perceptions of conflict and disaster. (She moonlights as a videographer for independent documentary filmmakers and a United Nations affiliated trauma NGO.)

Ghen's work has shown at Issue Project Room, Ocularis, Anthology Film Archives, Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, the Chicago Underground Film Festival, the San Francisco Cinematheque, the Allentown Art Museum and Lafayette College. She has curated film programs for The NYC Filmmaker’s Cooperative, Squeaky Wheel, Iowa University Department of Middle East Studies, The Robert Beck Memorial Cinema and Brick and Mortar Gallery.

Ghen Dennis is an Adjunct Professor of Global Communication and Media Studies at Ramapo College and is the Artistic Director of the New York State Summer School for Media Arts. She holds an MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College and received her BFA in Media Studies from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She lives in Easton.

A Pillar in the Branch of Bethlehem's NAACP: Mrs. Ester M. Lee

February 2022

Visualize as you venture into any community no matter the size, there is always a person who has left their footprints in the sand of time. Mrs. Esther M. Lee, the current president of Bethlehem's NAACP, is that person. Visit the exhibition during Black History Month to celebrate the legacy of Mrs. Lee.

M. Rayah Levy

M. Rayah Levy embarked into the world of Librarianship at Simmons College in Boston, where she concentrated on preservation, graduating with her MLIS in 2005. Mrs. Levy is currently archiving the personal papers of Mrs. Esther M. Lee, through a grant from the Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium.

Design After Dark & It's Goals

Who spends their Friday nights at a decorative arts museum? Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites aimed to answer that question with the launch of Design After Dark, an after-hours programming series. In addition to regular trivia nights, performances, and film screenings, the inaugural year in 2019 saw the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts transformed into a retro arcade, took participants on a historic bar crawl, and even hosted a pop-up exhibition of art generated by artificial intelligence.

This year, the purpose of Design After Dark is the same as it was in 2019. It's to show people that there is no set definition of art and expression. Every person has their unique way of expressing themselves, their story, and the community around them. Likewise, Design After Dark shows that decorative arts museums are not just places to view antique furniture in your Sunday best. They are places where the development of a community, and its continued prosperity, can be showcased. It’s our hope that we can change the perception you may have of exhibits stuck in time.

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