Friday, October 14, 2011

Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley - Sneak Peek

I got a sneak peek of the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley this week, just before its grand re-opening to the public this weekend.

A view of the museum from the rooftop of the Baum School of Art (courtesy of Allentown Art Museum)
The museum got more than a fresh coat of paint - there are new galleries, a new cafe (opening this winter during museum hours) and a host of new exhibits that are sure to entertain a repeat visitor like me and first time visitors like most of you.

If you've lived in a large city like I have, you know that museums can play a big part in the cultural calendar, and this museum aims to do the same. By increasing the number, size and capacity of its galleries, it is well-suited to host guests young, old, and in-between (the latter being the most elusive museum-going audience). Adding a cafe will entice attract visitors who don't typically visit museums and tempt museum-goers to stay a little longer... and maybe pick up a unique gift at the museum shop.

The museum has already scheduled a series of events, including lectures, festivals, and the return of my favorite cocktail party in the region, Art After Hours (save the date: November 17 is the first one). The museum will re-open its doors this Saturday, October 16th, with a Preview Party from 6-8 p.m. Free admission to museum members, $15 for non-members.

As for the art you'll see if you visit: Chief Curator Diane Fischer has gone for baroque with Renaissance era paintings from the museum's permanent collection, plus additional works collected by Samuel Kress to complement them:

The museum’s inaugural exhibition Shared Treasure: The Legacy of Samuel H. Kress celebrates the 50th anniversary of the gifting of the Kress Collection of Early European Art. It features forty (40) key selections from the museum’s permanent collection as well as thirty (30) additional works borrowed from other museums and institutions such as the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the National Gallery of Art. A few examples (also courtesy of the museum):

For more information, visit the museum's web site. Thanks to Elsbeth and Jen for making my little visit possible!

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