Aug 26, 2016
Allentown's State Of The Arts
Today, in the Morning Call, a member of the Art Museum's Auxiliary asks the reporter to spread the word about the museum. The museum recently added an addition. Across the street, the Arts Park extends past the Baum Art School, to the rear of Symphony Hall. Then, across 6th Street, the Arts Walk has been extended through J.B. Reilly's Strata Village, to 7th Street. There is even a steel archway announcing the artiness of it all, by the former Shula's Steak House. With art this, and art that, why does the museum need a plug in the Morning Call? In Allentown, there's a large gap between the hype and the reality.
In reality, the city is allowing J.B. Reilly to smash Symphony Hall in the knees, by using its parking lot for a new apartment building. The lot is actually owned by the Allentown Parking Authority, which is supposed to act for the betterment of Allentown and its residents, not a private business interest. About 25 years ago, I went to see the late B.B. King perform at Symphony Hall. Today, with the competition from the Sands and Steel Stacks, and another half a dozen places, I doubt if Symphony Hall would attract such an act. Apparently, the power structure in Allentown also finds the old theatre expendable. There is a message in that for the Art Museum; Business before art.