Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG) in Bethlehem was one of 47 statewide grantees for Pop-Up Grants for Cultural Producers. Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) created the program to provide rapid relief to cultural organizations impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The funds supported arts organizations, museums, historical societies, and libraries as they began to shift their events and activities to online platforms.
LUAG was founded in 1926 as the centralized fine art collection of Lehigh University, overseeing over 16,000 works of art from diverse time periods and cultures, seven galleries on three campuses, two art study centers, and an outdoor sculpture collection of over 50 works.
In the spring of 2020, LUAG migrated its many exhibitions and programs online and launched LUAG@Home, a new program that expanded community access during the pandemic. As part of this initiative, they developed lectures, hands-on workshops and family days to reach audiences of all ages and provide opportunities to connect with others during times of isolation.
“The PHC Pop-up Grant provided support to help LUAG launch LUAG@Home,” said Stacie Brennan, Curator of Education. “We were proud to collaborate with community partners to develop resources that helped to engage audiences of all backgrounds in relevant and timely topics and provide opportunities to hear from diverse voices in the community.”
With PHC funding, LUAG worked with the SouthSide Arts District to mount an outdoor version of their exhibition Doing Democracy along a 1.9 mile stretch of the South Bethlehem Greenway. The event was a community celebration of democracy, exploring an array of photographs from the George Stephanopoulos Collection that shine a light on significant events of the 20th century and the present—featuring world leaders, the media, politicians, civil rights movements, and everyday Americans. It included 22 reproductions of photographs from the main exhibition, accompanied by a free digital guide of 20 videos produced by Lehigh students about the artwork.
This event allowed LUAG to bring its exhibitions out into the community, reach new audiences, and connect its physical and virtual spaces in an accessible and innovative way.
At a time of social distancing, dynamic and engaging programming and events by cultural organizations like Lehigh University Art Galleries bring Pennsylvanians together to celebrate heritage and identity, build community and joy, create new virtual platforms, leverage assets like nature and place, and document our human stories.
Learn more about LUAG at: https://luag.lehigh.edu/
The Pop-Up Grants for Cultural Producers program is made possible by support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, individual donors to PHC, and an anonymous donor who offered additional funds for Philadelphia-based projects serving artists and small arts organizations.