What do you get when you combine a lot of history with a bit of new architecture in Lehigh Valley? A whole lotta awesomeness! This is the way I would describe the new ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks which sits on the Bethlehem Steel property that shut down in 1995. It's built right in front of the steel stacks making for a dramatic backdrop, especially at night when they're illuminated with colored lights.
For me, the location is one of the best parts. Not only have they converted one of the largest industrial brownfields in the nation, but my grandfather used to operate a crane at Bethlehem Steel for years, so just being on the site where he worked gives it an eerie, yet comforting feeling. I remember when I was a little girl he used to take us for a ride to the SouthSide to pick up his paycheck. We were always in awe over the grand inspiring views of the site.
I happened to be at the AQC four times within the last week or so!
Day #1 - A dedication ceremony Day #2 - A media tour and luncheon followed by the premiere of "Bethlehem, The Christmas City" movie Day #3 - A test night with dinner and a concert Day #4 - A night out with the girls to see a movie (Win Win) in the Alehouse Cinema
So what really makes this place so great?
- 1,200 performances annually
- 400 free performances at Air Products Town Square & Capital BlueCross Creativity Commons
- 42 free concerts at Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks annually (opens July 2, 2011)
- 52 weeks of free family programming
- 8 festivals
- Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas (2 theaters where you can take food & beverage into the film ... including alcohol!)
- Musikfest Cafe with 200 live concerts a year
And ... they're open 365 days a year! How's that for a state-of-the-art performing arts center?
So, out of my four days there already, I would have to say days 3 and 4 were the best. I recommend the VIP seating in the Musikfest Cafe in the loft area. And the cinemas? Well, they just get a big bonus for having nice cushy, spacious seats and the fact that you can take alcohol in with you! Need I say more?
So, have you check out the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks yet? There are free tours Tuesday through Sunday, but I suggest you just go check out a performance or a movie!