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Venture Academy IV BEGINS

September 26, 2017 6:00 pm
September 26, 2017 7:30 pm
School Calendar

FALL 2017


A series of guided explorations about making Bethlehem a creative and sustainable community with an emphasis on the collaborative contributions of governmental, business, educational, cultural, and arts leaders.   The Venture Academy, now in its second year and fourth installment, is a series designed to promote provocative ideas, images, and sensations for venturesome adults seeking to cope with an increasingly complex, bewildering, exciting, interesting, and sometimes scary world.

The Venture Academy is produced by Norman Girardot, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religion, Lehigh University in collaboration with the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts’ Adult Enrichment Workshop Series.  Presenters volunteer their time to the Venture Academy and proceeds benefit the Charter Arts Creativity Fund for Teachers which supports distinctive creative projects and opportunities for teachers at Charter Arts.

All sessions take place at the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts, 321 East 3rd Street, Bethlehem.


Community Redevelopment in Bethlehem

Tuesday, Sept. 26 6-7:30 pm. with Tony Hanna (Executive Director of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Bethlehem/RDA).

This illustrated presentation is about the transformation of a portion of the former Bethlehem Steel mill into the SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus and our innovative approach to creative placemaking using a combination of civic leadership and public investment to help redefine Bethlehem’s identity.


Northampton Community College’s Impact on our Community: Past, Present, and Future

Tuesday, Oct. 3 6-7:30 pm. with Mark Erickson (President of Northampton Community College)

This illustrated talk will give an overview of Northampton Community College, its present impact in our community, and its future plans including a new Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship on its Southside Campus, Student Success and College Readiness efforts in concert with our local schools, its commitment to sustainability efforts, new summer theatre program, and more.


Community, the Arts, and Business on Bethlehem’s South Side

Tuesday, Oct 10. 6-7:30 pm. with John Saraceno (President of Saraceno Design and on the board of the Southside Film Institute) and Jeff Vaclavik (Owner, Déjà Brew Coffeehouse & Deli and on the Board of the Southside Film Institute)

This presentation will focus on the personal perspectives of two very engaged and influential members of Bethlehem’s Southside business and arts community. Saraceno has been active for more than 30 years as a founding member of the Southside Merchants Association and subsequently a formative figure in many other important arts and business ventures (e.g. Spring on 4th/ What’s on Third, and First Friday Southside, Touchstone Theatre).  Vaclavik opened the Deja Brew Café in 1995 as both a community and college hangout and over the years has been involved as a volunteer for many different community groups and events.  Both John and Jeff are on the board of the South Side Film Institute.


Cultural Place-making and the Sustainable Arts

Tuesday, Oct 17, 6-7:30 pm. with Doug Roysdon (Artistic Director of Mock Turtle Marionette Theater and a founding partner and presenter at the Charles Brown Ice House and a lead contributor to the Cultural Placemaking Project with Lehigh University) and Anna Russell (Artistic Director of Allentown Public Theatre with previous work at Touchstone Theatre and currently involved in a film about “making art local” in the Bethlehem arts community).

Understanding and addressing cultural place as an ecosystem, a living thing, is essential to its growth and survival.   Our Cultural Placemaking Project, conducted in partnership with members of the Lehigh University faculty and our local arts community, is engaged in exploring the nature of genuine cultural places, how they work and how they may be made sustainable.  Working with a long list of established and young Bethlehem artists has given us a fresh and informed perspective on the sustainable arts of place.



The Politics and Economics of Creating a Culturally and Commercially Vital, Livable, and Sustainable Community in Bethlehem

Tuesday, Oct 31, 6-7:30 pm with John Callahan (former two-time mayor of Bethlehem and now with Florio, Perrucci, Steinhardt & Fader LLC in Bethlehem where he assists clients with government relations, real estate development and strategic planning)

The bankruptcy of Bethlehem Steel created the largest brownfield site in the United States. The future of the City of Bethlehem depended on our ability to bring new life to this site. But what and how difficult was the challenge, and doing it all in the midst of the Great Recession didn’t make it any easier. Together we will explore the process of creating a shared vision for the redevelopment of Steel and discuss the past, present, and future of this site going forward.

How to Register?

Adventure Pass (Single) : $85
Covers all sessions.

Buddy/Couple Pass( Must purchase at least two at the same time):  $75 ea.
Covers all sessions.

“One Session” pass: $25

Call to register over the phone at 610-868-2971 Ext. 3185 OR download the registration form and mail to address listed or email listed on the form.

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