The City of Allentown has a long history of public art and, much like the city itself, it keeps growing. The public mural scene in Allentown has expanded over the last few years resulting in over a dozen new installations that illustrate the city’s vibrant diversity, rich history, and community pride.With the implementation of the city’s new Public Art and Activation Program, that trend will continue resulting in more engaging murals, sculptures, and unique lighting projects. Check out a sample of mural art currently on display throughout the city. Exploring Allentown’s art scene is a great way to spend an afternoon in the All Inspiring City!
"Welcome to Downtown Allentown" (2020) by Mila Sketch120 8th St., Allentown, PA
This project interests me because of its ability to reach people who may not be exposed to the arts. Art can offer alternative ways to view one's environment and provide inspiration. The artwork created for the Downtown Allentown area should be uplifting, interactive, and fresh…The design is destined to evoke feelings of pride and joy that locals would be eager to share with the guests of the city. The contrasting colors and beautiful layout of the mural will be seen as a highly visually gateway work of art at a significant enough scale to engage viewers who are walking and driving.
"Reading is a Portal" (2020) by Aaron Glassman and Celeste Byers1232 ½ 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.
"Unleash" (2021) by Matt HalmHall Street Alley
This mural overlooks a dog park at the brand new Center Square Lofts in downtown Allentown. The dog park is open to all City Center residents and Renaissance Allentown guests. The mural activates this space and further beautifies the new park.
"Some Things Are Better Unseen" (2019), by ELLEAllentown Arts Walk 603 W Linden Street Photo Source: City Center Allentown
The sketch for the Allentown mural depicts a female so strong that she can not even be looked in the eyes- and so they are shielded. She is a culmination of history and future- a mix of Native American braided hair and stone sculpture, mythological goddess Medusa, and current super model Ajak Deng. Her silk jacket and luxurious fabric is borrowed from the painting The Adoration Of The Magi (Detail) By Maarten De Vos, 1599. The woman is surrounded by flowers, a pool of water and neon lights- her atmosphere suggests that she is in a future world, full of feminine power- perhaps even suggestive of Mother Earth. The viewer is invited to assemble the bits of the collage and create their own narrative to this piece. I would like the individuals of Allentown to take ownership of this painting, to create and incorporate the story of the artwork in with their own histories and narratives.
"Soar" (2019) by Ernesto MaranjeSovereign Building (Allentown Arts Walk) 609 Hamilton Street Photo Source: City Center Allentown
The red-tailed hawk was chosen for Allentown to symbolize the tenacity and freedom of the region. My goal on any mural is to engage the viewer with the unity of animals and plants. My sketches are not as detailed as a finished product because much of that conjoining on plant and animal is done by imagination on the wall to create a more organic process. The goal is to pull segments from each and form a cohesive, understandable, but ephemeral whole. To remind everyone of our connection and relationship with nature. A hawk native to the Allentown and greater Pennsylvania region rising powerfully out of the plants and physical garden below seemed like the perfect solution to this local while maintaining the theme of plants and nature within in my work.
"Building Bridges Embracing Change" (2006) by Michelle Angela Ortiz640 W. Chew Street Photo Source: https://www.loc.gov/item/2019689305/
The purpose of this mural is around promoting community engagement, artistic training, and historical awareness. The artist, Michelle Angela Ortiz, has traveled the world to promote this message in impoverished areas and those impacted by natural disasters.
"The Heart of Queen City" (2019) by Matt Halm33 N. 9th Street
The Heart of Queen City pays homage to Allentown’s nickname while highlighting the central part of the city. This mural is in the heart of downtown. This 40’ x 40’ sq. ft. mural was in commissioned by the Cultural Coalition of Allentown as part of their Artist-in-Residence program. The initial section was completed in July 2018, and the final space was completed in 2019.
"Urban Nature" (2020) by Monica Salazar722-726 N. 4th Street
This mural was created as a part of the Allentown Arts Commission’s Art of Encouragement artist relief mini-grant program. The mural, Urban Nature, is located behind C-Town Market. It is a piece dedicated to our environment and its habitat. It’s a reminder of the beauty of nature that depends on us.
"The First Nation" (2019) by Rosemary GeseckCentral Elementary School 829 W Turner Street Photo Source: Cultural Coalition of Allentown
The Cultural Coalition of Allentown commissioned this piece with the vision of executing a downtown mural that depicts an extended family of the original people of Allentown: the Lenape Native Americans. The piece takes place circa 1750 in the woodlands of what is now the city. The artist, Rosemary Geseck, worked with the Lenape Museum to design the content of the piece and held workshops for the students of Central Elementary School, where the piece is located, to share more about the tribe’s culture and its impact on the city of Allentown.
"Draw Your Own Path" (2018) by Pedro J. LeDee, Jr.Union Terrace Elementary School Photo Source: The Morning Call
Draw Your Own Path is a surrealistic-style mural featuring several Allentown children, each with their own goals, interacting and sharing their dreams for the future. The groups and individuals represent characteristics we want our future guided towards: diversity, determination, reliability, cohesiveness, and acceptance. The overall message is to dream your own dream and live a life only you can proudly create.
"Wall on Hall" (2019) by multiple artistsArtists: Pedro J. LeDee, Jr. (City Life), Albert Negron, III (Hands on Love), Alex Ortiz (Allentown PRIDE), Corey Reifinger (Neighbors), Camille Stanley (Lo-Fi Streets) Lehigh Carbon Community College 718 Hamilton Street
This project was created to express the individual vision of five artists, each producing one of five side-by-side panels. To encourage a wider perspective, artists worked with local schools, community organizations, and other groups to help them express how they see the community. Each panel within the larger installation is unified under a standardized palette of colors and represents the theme of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Diversity is expressed not only through the imagery represented, but also through the artists and their individual experiences in the creative process and connection to the community.
"Portal" (2020) by Matt Halm438 Turner Street
This piece was created in the midst of an uncertain world. In the grips of a pandemic, our homes became our havens. This mural explores the idea of shelter, physically and metaphorically. As we continued to stay in, it was as if our domestic space became our whole world. This mural imagines our homes as monuments, and our windows as portals. In these strange times, our perspectives changed. This mural examines how we look out at the world, and how the world sees in.
"Bird on a Wire" (2017) by Matt Halm
446 N. 7th Street
This 20'x20' "parachute cloth" mural was commissioned by the Community Action Network of Allentown as part of the Main Street Program and was funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation.
"Tierra Pacifica" (2015) by Matt Halm619 Chew Street as part of Citizen's Park
These two large murals are incorporated into a beautiful pocket park at 619 Chew Street. Sandwiched between two homes, the park is surrounded by colorful landscape murals on the walls of the adjacent homes. Along with the murals, new trees, benches, grass, and plants were added so neighborhood residents would have a lovely spot to visit and relax.
"Old Allentown" (2010) by Matt Halm10th and Turner Streets, Allentown, Pennsylvania
This mural was made in conjunction with the Old Allentown Preservation Association, and uses local landmarks, architecture, and historical elements. The theme of the piece is "Preserving the past to brighten the future."
"Allentown on the Rise" (2016) by Keir Johnston and Willis HumphreyAllentown Arts Walk Photo Source: City Center Allentown
This piece creates a stylized sunrise that spans the south- and west-facing corners of the parking deck at Church Street. The piece was installed in sections of nonwoven polyester sheets that were painted in Amber Art’s studio and then transported to Allentown and adhered to the wall. This creates a sun rising on the Allentown Arts Walk to brighten up the space and create an engaging public atmosphere.
"Botanical Mural" (2019) by Nicole Salgar and Chuck BerrettAllentown Arts Walk Photo Source: Dripped On Productions https://www.drippedon.com/portfolio/
The flowers around this mural were inspired by the landscape and plants around the Arts Walk. The design appears to have grown around and frames the windows with flowers and leaves.
"Plaza for the Spirit of the Arts" (2006) by Michael WebbAllentown Arts Park (Rear of Miller Symphony Hall – 23 N. 6th Street)
Overlooking the Allentown Arts Park, this mural depicts a community enjoying a beautiful park. The piece is located on the rear of Miller Symphony Hall, home to the Allentown Symphony Orchestra.