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ArtsQuest Offering Musikfest Merchandise in Historic District During Festival

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Photo by Rhonda Gillespie

‘Musikfest on Main’ Tent 1st Step in Year-round Activation of New Main Street Retail Space

BETHLEHEM, PA-When Musikfest got underway this past weekend, Main Street Bethlehem visitors may have noticed a familiar site from previous festivals.

Set up in front of 523 Main Street was a Musikfest merchandise tent, providing shoppers in the Historic District with an opportunity to still get their ‘fest on by purchasing their Musikfest collector’s mug, t-shirt or even donate to ArtsQuest’s One Million ‘Festers Matching Gift Campaign to support Musikfest. The retail area, which will also offer ArtsQuest’s free take-home art kits for the community, was made possible thanks to ArtsQuest supporters and ArtsQuest Circle members Dr. Mary Ellen Williams and Jay Brew, who recently purchased the building at 521-525 Main Street.

“Many of our ArtsQuest Members and Circle Donors have come forward and asked us what they can do to help during this time of crisis,” says ArtsQuest President and CEO Hilgert. “This incredible gesture and donation by Mary Ellen Williams and Jay Brew is a shining example of the innovative and creative ways our supporters are lending a hand right now.

“The Historic District has many wonderful shops, restaurants and events like Celtic Classic and the Harvest Festival, and we see activating this space as a way to complement all of these. Right now, our focus is on Musikfest and offering a new location for people to get their favorite Musikfest items and apparel. We will see how well it’s received and begin discussions after the festival about how we might use the storefront on a year-round basis.”

In an effort to provide new opportunities for ArtsQuest to support its mission of community revitalization and economic development through the arts, Williams and Brew donated the storefront space to ArtsQuest rent-free for year-round use. Following Musikfest, ArtsQuest staff will be meeting to develop a plan for regular activation of the space to support the retail businesses on Main Street; no plans for the space beyond Musikfest have been finalized at this time.

“ArtsQuest, like all nonprofit arts organizations and small businesses, has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Brew. “In addition to being ArtsQuest Circle donors, Mary Ellen and I were looking for another way to have a positive impact on the organization and the community. We feel ArtsQuest supporters and ArtsQuest Circle Donors who have the ability should step up during this crisis to assist this organization, which has given so much to the community for more than 35 years.”

“ArtsQuest has a rich tradition of offering programming in the Historic District that dates back to the inaugural Musikfest in 1984. We hope that providing this space to them allows them to take another step forward in supporting the city, local businesses and tourism in our area.”

“As a local artist, it is important to me that we support ArtsQuest, which continues to provide work for dozens of performers and vendors during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Williams, leader of Ginger & The Schnappes. “This organization continues to reinvent itself to support artists, performers and small businesses to benefit the entire community.”

The Musikfest Merchandise Tent will be open 5-8 p.m. daily during Musikfest. The last day for shoppers to visit the tent is Aug. 9. For more information on Musikfest 2020, please visit www.musikfest.org.