The Allentown Arts Commission announces its collaboration with Hays Elementary Principal Naaman Schlegel, and Art Teacher Darlene Crouthamel, in bringing inspiration to 12th & Gordon streets.
Managed by Materials Conservation, the new 53’ x 32’ mural, “Reading is a Portal,” is being painted by California-based muralists Aaron Glasson and Celeste Byers at 1232 1/2 West Gordon Street, across from the entrance to the new Brigadier General Anna Mae Hays Elementary School. The mural explores the ideas of books as being a portal to imagination and learning by featuring imagery of children and the magical worlds they inhabit thanks to reading. The mural’s narrative is inspired by the school’s mission to have all students develop a love of reading and learning.
Along with the school’s community liaison, Amanda Madae, the artists worked directly with the school’s students via a bilingual online platform in which students shared their favorite books, characters, and stories with the artists. The ideas provided by the students were interpreted by the artists and are included in the mural. The artists hope that when the students return to school, they will see themselves in the mural as well as new stories to explore.
“Not only will the children have a sense of pride and ownership of this work,” Jane Heft, Allentown Arts Commission Chair said, “a mural can help define and bring a neighborhood together.”
The artists are working with the school to prepare a virtual assembly for older students about careers in the arts. It will be an opportunity for the students to talk to them about their work, ask questions, and learn about what it means to be a professional working artist.
A dedication will take place Thursday, November 5 at 3:00 p.m.
For more on the artists: