Accessibility · Arts & Access

Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Recognizes the Unique Needs of Injured Artists

dancer in rehab
Margo Ging assisting a dancer in rehabilitation at Good Shepherd.

A dancer warms up with barre exercises and observes her form in the floor to ceiling mirrors. Nearby in the soundproof music room, a musician strums his guitar. These two performers have more in common than just a passion for the arts. They are both benefiting from the specialized care that is available at Good Shepherd’s Performing Arts Rehabilitation Center (PARC).

PARC first opened February 25, 2013 at Good Shepard Physical Therapy–Bethlehem, located on Eaton Avenue. Good Shepherd provides general orthopedic physical therapy for adults and children; however, they have a special niche for performing artists. The reason for this is performers are prone to serious injuries due to overusing muscles and repetitive movements.

“Much like high level athletes, dancers need to rehabilitate their injuries in a manner that is specific to the demands they will be placing on their bodies,” says Cathie Dara, PT, DPT, OCS, STC, a physical therapist and the site manager for Good Shepherd Physical Therapy–Bethlehem/Performing Arts Rehabilitation Center. In order for patients to receive the best possible care, PARC utilizes therapists who specialize in performing arts therapy.

“When a person comes in, whether a dancer or musician, they don’t want to be told they have to stop dancing or performing,” says Margo Ging, physical therapist assistant at PARC. As a dance instructor, choreographer, and former professional dancer, Ging understands that performing artists don’t want to stop doing what they love. The artists will do whatever it takes to continue performing, taking classes, and going to rehearsals. Continue reading “Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Recognizes the Unique Needs of Injured Artists”

Events · Uncategorized

Bringing Humor to the Arts & Access Expo

The old saying “laughter is the best medicine” has been proven time and time again, with studies showing a good stress-relieving guffaw will not only relax and energize, but it can even boost your immunity and fight heart disease. That’s mainly why Shane Burcaw, president of Laughing At My Nightmare, Inc. and local resident of Bethlehem, PA, began his journey as a humorous do-gooder.

Shane’s journey began in 2011 as a simple blog to write his story of living with spinal muscular atrophy type two, but he has amazed the world by starting up his non-profit organization, writing his popular first book, and even went on the road to speak to schools about his condition. If that wasn’t enough to impress, Shane has just announced that he’s donating $14,000 to the Muscular Dystrophy Association on Monday, along with beginning his “No More Nightmares” initiative which will provide many forms of assistance for families affected by MD in our region.

Shane photoAside from his heroic resume, Shane’s personality consists of a dose of wit, a hint of charm, a sprinkle of sarcasm, all topped with a heap of heart. He’s often seen with a huge smile, making friends most everywhere he goes. His view that “humor gets me through the rough times” is obvious to all that meet him, and his positivity is certainly infectious.

Shane is a perfect addition to our lineup of wonderful Lehigh Valley services and organizations that will be joining us to provide information on the innovative programming, equipment, and other opportunities for individuals with disabilities. We as an organization are firm believers that the arts should be celebrated by everyone, and with simple modifications and equipment, we can be sensitive to include the disabled community and continue to expand our audience.

We are so pleased to have Shane as our keynote speaker at our Monday, November 10th Arts & Access Expo from 3-6pm, and we’re truly looking forward to his highly inspirational, yet most likely tongue-in-cheek, presentation.

One thing’s for sure: we’ll be leaving the Expo hilariously enlightened and anxiety-free from all the healthy giggles.


Visit our site for more details about the Expo:

by Lauren Beck, LVAC Operations Manager


Start Access Now: A Community Discussion on Accessibility

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council, in cooperation with the Lehigh Valley Health Network, is pleased to host Ms. Betty Siegel, Esq.,  Director of VSA and Accessibility at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, for START ACCESS NOW, a community discussion on accessibility.  The event will take place on Thursday, November 21, 2013, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Lehigh Valley Health Network, 2100 Mack Boulevard in Allentown.

Ms. Siegel’s talk will address the civil rights of people with disabilities, good customer service practices, and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. “Accessibility has always been about customer service,” she says.  “It is about making the audience comfort­able and welcome.

 “The Lehigh Valley arts community has grown into a significant economic engine but it also has the capacity to be a catalyst for societal change. It’s time to lead in this arena” says Lehigh Valley Arts Council executive director Randall Forte.

Since 2011, the Arts Council has been working with to establish a Pennsylvania Arts Access Program. The program seeks to make the Lehigh Valley more disability-friendly and increase attendance to cultural events by providing training and shared use of audio-description and open-captioning equipment.

Preregistration is free and open to the public until November 18, 2013.  Registration at the door is $5. To preregister, contact Lehigh Valley Arts Council at or call 610-437-5915. Visit for more information!

"My Life in Art"

My Life in Art–Charissa Grandin, An Artist’s Child

Clarissa 300446_10150285670249076_389123_nBecause I was born into a family with an artist for a mother, art was an automatic, integral part of my daily life. Original framed oils and watercolors on every wall throughout my home were among the first sights I took in before I was capable of forming thoughts or words about them. As I grew I gradually became conscious that not all homes were created with art as a foundation as our home was. So in my experience, art extended beyond the canvas and became part of the home my mother created in each place we lived. Deliberate design went into every aspect of home.

As a very small child I remember regularly looking through and committing to memory the works of Mary Cassatt, Andrew Wyeth and others in coffee table books at my reach. While I watched Saturday morning cartoons my mom would be teaching private art classes in her studio upstairs. When I got a little older, I took a more participatory role as a model being required to sit very still for her portrait class students and as a student myself in her children’s classes. Not only did she teach regularly, she brought art to places where there was none. When I was a baby, my mother volunteered hours of her time to coordinate other volunteers and teach art at my brothers’ elementary school. There was no art program at the school and the principal was overtaxed and burdened. Grateful for the care and help my mom brought to the school, the principal was delighted to watch me in my infant seat in her office while my mother taught. When I was old enough to crawl, I was often the model for some of the art classes. The principal even included my mother and me in the school yearbook.

I developed my own drawing ability. I drew pet portraits for friends, excelled in interior design courses in school, and today enjoy the creative aspects of my marketing job including Photoshop, photography and web design. Clarissa art untitled

All these experiences from early in life prepared me to be naturally attune to the visual and I excelled in areas favoring visual thinking and learning. Today, art still takes a similar subtle, yet fundamental role in my life. It is in the background continually running and powering my perception at all times. I see and find art everywhere I look on a subconscious level. On a more conscious and planned level, I am involved in helping my mother with administrative tasks in her gallery. When my own daughter, now 5, was a baby she rode perched on my back in a baby carrier while I helped my mom teach a children’s art class. Now my mother will do art projects with my daughter while I work on my laptop to manage and promote my mother’s business and work online. I intend to fortify an active role in today’s digital age helping her to market her work so that she can focus on her loves of creating and teaching.

My mother, Gwendolyn Evans, holds a Master’s Degree in Fine Art Education from Rhode Island School of Design, one of the top 3 national art institutions, and her work has been in over 80 juried shows. She has been teaching art to students of all ages and aptitudes for over 5 decades. Last year she moved to Bethlehem and opened a new in-home gallery and studio where she has over 400 paintings available for purchase. She also offers: private and group art instruction to beginner through advanced adult students, workshops and art placement in businesses and homes.


2012 Benefit Art Auction and You’re Invited!

Join us for a great time at the Promenade Shops on Sunday, November 4, 2012.

Bid  on wonderful artwork created by 30 Lehigh Valley arts, including fine art originals, prints, watercolors, photographs, and sculpture, valued at $25 to $750. Over 100 pieces will be presented. This is an ABSOLUTE auction, so everything will be sold.

Admission is FREE. Refreshments are available for purchase and provided by Weyerbacher Brewery, Unique Pretzels, and Kutztown Bottling Works.


Art–The Tie That Binds | Just Look at What’s Happening with School Children

by Debora Roberson, LVAC board member

Yaceni– Rose Bowl

There is  art integration synergy at work in Allentown – exposing students to history, graphic design, and art.  Students from Allentown School District’s Union Terrace Elementary and Trexler  Middle Schools spent two weeks this summer designing advertising slogans and artwork for Lehigh Valley landmarks.

The name of the program was dubbed the Advertising Art Clubs and was orchestrated by the Allentown School District Foundation through a generous grant from the Rider Pool Foundation.  The idea for the club is an outgrowth of a new social studies book written by Allentown native and ASD teacher, Janice Altieri, for elementary school children.

Matthew–West Park

Janice is a librarian and filled a void in children’s literature when she wrote a book about Allentown history called An Allentown Adventure.  The completion of the book coincides with Allentown’s 250th anniversary.

The Advertising Art Clubs, the brainchild of ASD Arts Coordinator, Renee Lorenzetti, challenged students to illustrate famous Allentown landmarks and create fitting advertising slogans for each landmark that would attract visitors to Allentown.

Students will carry their advertising posters in  Allentown’s 250th Anniversary Parade on September 29, 2012.   Local graphic artist Michael Keenan of Kennan Nagle Advertising spent time with each group of students, critiquing their graphic ideas and showing them examples of his work.

Hassan–Dorney Park

Students studied about local landmarks and selected one of personal interest.  Illustrated landmarks include businesses, museums, and city parks like Mack Trucks, America on Wheels,  Dorney Park, Coca Cola Park, Civic Theatre , Cedar Beach, West Park, Allentown Farmers Market, Allentown Art Museum and more.  Watch for the students carrying their artistic posters in the parade on September 29, 2012.

Ian–America on Wheels

The Advertising Art Clubs were highly successful in several ways.Students learned how to represent ideas graphically while learning the history of local landmarks, connecting students and their families to their community.  Walking in Allentown’s 250thAnniversary parade is “icing on the cake” for the students and punctuates the artistic journey of each student!

Nathiel–DaVinci Science Center

All photos by permission and courtesy of the Allentown School District Foundation

Member Profile

Kristin Baxter: Art Professor, Art Advocate, Studio Artist

by Randall Forte, LVAC executive director

Meet Arts Council member, Kristin Baxter, assistant professor of art at Moravian College. For more than five years, she taught art to children in kindergarten through grade eight, and she conducted professional development workshops for teachers in museums, galleries, schools, and community centers.

What made you decide to become a professor?

Early in my career as an art educator, I was fortunate to work in a variety of settings with diverse audiences, including preschool children; suburban middle school kids; urban non-English-speaking children; college students; and classroom and art teachers. I believe each of my students, whether we were together for one day or one year, connected the art and museum experiences to his or her own life and gained new appreciation for himself/herself and others. I believe this is how new knowledge within art education can lead to social transformations.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing art educators today?

To be more effective at advocating for children to have sustained and meaningful art education with certified art specialists throughout the K–12 years. While I believe children can have very meaningful art experiences with classroom teachers or with specialists in other subject areas, it is critical that certified art specialists be retained in (or restored to) all public schools throughout our country.

Oftentimes art specialists appear isolated. How can they integrate themselves more fully into the entire school’s culture?

Build relationships with new colleagues. At Moravian College, I teach “First Year Seminar,” which is a writing/research class and introduction to college life. The theme for my section of this course is “Modern Art History,” which includes visits to museums in New York City. Teaching this class has helped me to learn about college-wide initiatives and ways to integrate them into my courses and to share the importance of art education with colleagues across subject areas.

I have read that your own art builds on personal objects and narrative. How would you describe it?

I use snapshots and found objects as part of my collages and assemblages. Things make the past real. Things bring the past forward. My art practice explores this dynamic nature of static things.

There is often highly charged emotional content associated with objects from daily life. Children’s toy blocks conjure memories of simple play; yet casting them in bronze renders the toys useless for a toddler. My art destabilizes the value of objects just as the memories associated with them shift and fade and, ultimately, mislead. The things we save can possess both pleasing and disturbing narratives at the same time. Through my art practice, I explore this contradiction.

Whose work has influenced you?

Graeme Sullivan, my mentor from Columbia University, has been my biggest influence for my art practice and pedagogy. I also find ideas through novels, children’s books (David Wiesner’s The Three Pigs and Istvan Banyai’s Zoom), and films that challenge assumptions and consider objects as purveyors of memories.

In the film Everything Is Illuminated, the main character, an American, Jonathan, uses a prized family snapshot to lead him on a journey to the Ukraine to seek out knowledge about his grandparents. Along the way, he collects random objects (such as a cricket and soil) and places them in plastic zip-lock bags. He does so in order “not to forget.” This is in contrast to the opinions of Jonathan’s Ukrainian tour guide, Alex, who asserts, “The past is past and all that is not now should remain buried along the side of our memories.” Throughout the film, there is an underlying debate between the need to save objects and memories but also to let things go in order to move forward in our lives. By the end of the film, Alex declares, “Everything is illuminated in the light of the past.” This film shows the ability of snapshots and found objects to both depict and recollect a past, but such images and objects also help us shape our knowledge about ourselves and our future.

As an artist, how do you balance work, life, and time in the studio?

Being a mother and professor in a tenure-track position, I rarely have time to spend “in the studio.” Instead, I make creative moments surround my life, like water filling a jar of stones. I knit whenever I am waiting; I involve my children in my art-making when I can; I go away! Each summer, I plan chunks of time where I am sequestered and making art.