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

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.

Sorry We Missed You!
Events you might have missed.

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

Opening: Sunday, February 27, 2022
3 - 5 PM
Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts

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. The exhibition runs through March 25, 2022, with free admission on Sundays from 1-4 pm.

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.

Rayah Levy featured on The Bethlehem Corner

Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites and the Allentown Art Museum present

Side/The Other Side

February 19,  2022, at 1 PM at the Allentown Art Museum

Side/The Other Side postcard

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.


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.

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 07, 2021
1:00 - 4:00 PM
Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts

Design After Dark Workshop: Thursday, November 11, 2021
6:00 - 8:00 PM
Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts

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

Schneider Lecture: Debunking Design Assumptions
Brought to you by Design After Dark: Community Curated

October 28, 2021
6:30-8:30 PM
Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts

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.

Art Park

June 18, 2021

Celebrate the launch of the 4th issue of Palette with a skateboarding of the Palette 4 Mixtape.

12th & Market

12th & Market's Palette Magazine effortlessly blends traditional print magazine and digital art, providing previously overlooked artists a platform to showcase their work. With their brand 12th & Market, Nic Riccione, founder, and Greg Linton, account manager, have worked to connect skateboarders and artists of all styles. Event sponsor, Roth Renovations, is based out of Bethlehem and offers services including finish and custom carpentry.

Third Culture Child

July 30, 2021

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

Qbah Fernandez

Mario "Qbah" Fernandez, a Bethlehem-born entrepreneur, music producer, audio engineer, video director, and content creator, was the first Community Curator to sign on for 2021. His 12+ years of experience in the television industry and 9+ years of experience in the music industry allow him to work and travel with Latin Grammy winners and three-time Grammy nominated producers. He also proudly serves as the Vice Chair of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Global Water Dances

August 26, 2021

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 inn 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 graduate of Moravian University. He employs a multidisciplinary approach to artistic creation, spanning 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 who applies a therapeutic approach to his artistic practice. He is committed to building a more equitable world for all.

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.

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.

Featuring "The French 75" cocktail named after Ella Fitzgerald - also known as the queen of Jazz.

Rebecca Conelly & Clayton Reilly:

Clayton and Rebecca grew up in a household with constant music playing! Their grandfather Raymond used to sit Clayton down and play big band jazz records with him and talk about all the greats. Rebecca studied jazz trumpet throughout high school, and Clayton studied jazz trumpet through college. Clayton went on to be Grammy nominated soul train winning producer . His passion for music has given him opportunities to play with several artists such as John Legend, Patty Lebelle, and Stevie Wonder. Rebecca went on to become an audio engineer and work for Alicia keys studio in Manhattan. Two years ago they began their journey performing together around the Lehigh valley. Jazz runs through their blood and they couldn’t be more excited to share their passion for jazz with the younger generation.

Frank DiBussolo:

Frank DiBussolo has been a professional musician since 1965. During this time he has worked with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Diana Ross, Diane Carroll, Vicky Carr, Bob Hope, George Burns and Dom DeLouise and others. As a soloist he has been featured with the bands of Buddy Rich, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden, Lester Lannin and more. He is a graduate of Widener University and the Combs College of Music where he earned the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees. He has served on the faculties of Swarthmore College, Moravian College, Lehigh University and the Combs College of Music. Dr. DiBussolo has recorded extensively and can be heard on the Naxos, DBK and Lost World record labels. For his work in the recording industry, he has been nominated eight times for The Grammy Award in various catagories. He is published in Guitar Player , The Educator and Just Jazz Guitar magazines as well as in the Groves Dictionary.

RAW Culture

September 25, 2021
1:00 - 4:00 PM
The Luckenbach Mill

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.

Design After Dark: Community Curated is supported by the Jones Fund for Adult Programming

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