Allentown Art Museum’s New America Gallery Preview and Free Admission | Lehigh Valley Regional News


ALLENTOWN, Pa. – This weekend the Allentown Art Museum is the spot in the Lehigh Valley.

The museum hosts its “Free Forever Celebration” when admission is officially free.

In addition to events and fanfare, the museum is also unveiling its New American Galleries.

“This is a really exciting moment for us because we have a chance to rethink our collections and the narrative we tell about American art,” said Elaine Mehalakes, vice president of curatorial affairs.

One of the first things you see when you enter Trexler Hall is “Girl Balancing Knowledge III” by Yinka Shonibare.

This gallery is a preview of what lies ahead, from one of the oldest pieces, a 1698 map of America, to local artist Angela Fraleigh’s reimagined empowerment of women in art, to Angel Suarez-Rosado’s “White Fence” is not what it seems at first glance.

“If you go through, then you see the other side of the fence where it has symbols of the Santeria, a religion that combines Catholicism with elements of the Euroba faith,” Mehalakes said.

In the next room, the Trexler gallery is now wide open and airy.

On the walls you can spot local hero Keith Herring alongside vibrant Guna tapestries from Panama.

A fan favorite is sure to be Emile Lucas’ thread painting that will literally speak to you.

“If you stand in front of it at a certain point and speak, your voice is amplified by the concavity of the piece itself,” Mehalakes said.

In the Butz Galley, the walls are sky blue and the focus is on global trade, colonization and migration in a very surprising way.

“We have a painting that was made in support of the abolition of slavery in the 1820s, and then we have a contemporary work from the 1990s by Carol Walker that uses the silhouette as a vehicle for exploration and disclosure,” Mehalakes said.

In the Goodman gallery, video is the medium. The first video shown is “Vuela” which means fly and shows white zebra finches.

There is also something new for the kids at the top of the Art Ways section.

“We offer a wide variety of educational opportunities, from hands-on art making to engaging with these amazing maker stations,” said Nicole Mangold of the museum’s school and family programs department.

Mangold says children can find out what it’s like to conserve a painting like Rembrandt’s recently restored Portrait of a Young Woman in a museum.

Mangold says kids can also be creative in the Crayola classroom and use 3D printers to make things.

The “Free Forever Celebration” starts at 11 am on Saturday and continues on Sunday.

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