Enjoy the heat … somewhere it’s minus 3 degrees today. Summer has officially begun, and temperatures in Lehigh Valley will top 90-degrees this week, but tomorrow there’s an 80-percent chance of three inches of the white stuff falling in the aptly named Snow Hill, Antarctica. Can you stand the stifling humidity just a little more now?

Whether you like your day’s the-hotter-the-better, or are already grumbling about having to leave the office at lunchtime, the staff at the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley has a suggestion, cool out!

Allentown Art Museum

Stop by Scheller Gallery soon to see Above Zero: Photographs from the Polar Regions, our summer exhibition that features cool-blue images of Antarctica, Iceland, and Greenland running through October 11. These large-format prints reflect the way photographer, Sam Krisch responded to the dramatic vistas and majestic ice formations he encountered on his adventures in these extreme environments.

“I’m a big fan of painters: Turner, Rembrandt, Vermeer,” Sam said during an interview at the Museum a few weeks ago. Sam, who lives in Roanoke, Virginia, was in town to attend our members preview and opened the show on the afternoon of Sunday, June 14 with a talk about his extensive processing of the images after his shoots.

By adjusting contrast, color, saturation, and other digital information in the raw images, he is able to achieve painterly results in his carefully rendered prints. A few of the landscapes are so otherworldly and the colors so intense that they remind me a lot of Roger Dean’s fantastical worlds created for the band Yes’s albums like Drama and Tales from Topographic Oceans. (Anyone else remember seeing Yes “in the round” at Stabler Arena back in the day?)

Not only are these polar images chill, they helped inspire our “Summer of Cool Culture,” which we are able to open free to all thanks to the generous “summer” sponsorship of Alvin H. Butz Inc. and the Gadomski Foundation. Now through Labor Day weekend, admission is free to Above Zero and to all of the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley’s summer exhibitions.

The museum also offers free, family-friendly programing every Wednesday through Sunday, such as self-guided gallery Treasure Hunts and hands-on Artventure art projects led by staff in Arts Way Interactive Family Gallery on Sundays.

Members also receive special “summer” benefits, such as an exclusive guided tour through the vaults, an evening with our director, David Mickenberg, free entry into ticketed adult and family events, and more.

For a complete calendar of programs and events during our free “Summer of Cool Culture,” check out the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley’s website. Stay cool …


Chris Potash Guest Blogger and Manager of Marketing and Public Relations Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley