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Linny Award Winner Jessica Bastidas Creates 2019 Musikfest Poster

Fine art illustrator & art educator returns to Bethlehem to design historically inspired artwork

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BETHLEHEM, PA–Representing the history and legacy of Bethlehem Steel, as well as the men and women who not only built the city but some of the nation’s most notable landmarks, the 2019 Musikfest poster is a convergence of past and present. With iconic imagery like Musikfest’s tents, SteelStacks and instruments filling the frame, the focus of the dynamic work is steelworkers creating a Moravian star amidst a display of fireworks.

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The digital illustration was created by fine artist and arts educator Jessica Bastidas, a Bethlehem native and graduate of Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts. Bastidas, who now teaches art at Mount St. Joseph High School in Baltimore, Md., returned to her hometown recently as the ArtsQuest Foundation honored her as the 2018 Emerging Artist at the Linny Awards Nov. 8. Her work will be incorporated in almost every element of the festival in 2019, from official Musikfest apparel to the event’s popular mugs.

“This year’s poster borrows symbols of the past as it looks to the future of our ever-progressing city and festival,” says ArtsQuest Lead Creative Juliann Masenheimer. “Jessica’s talents exceeded our expectations. As an emerging artist, she is now a part of our history and the face of the future.”

With her artwork, Bastidas set out commemorate the ‘blue-collar’ workers who devoted so much of their life and energy to providing the lifeblood of Bethlehem while working through wars and socio-economic upheavals. The crowd of people along the bottom edge of the poster aspires to capture Musikfest’s vibrant celebration of cultural and artistic diversity connecting people of all races, genders, ages and experiences.

“My concept for this piece was really informed by my own experiences growing up in Bethlehem, playing down by Sand Island as a child, sneaking under the steel plant gate to peruse the abandoned buildings in my teenage years and, as an adult, attending the numerous festivals and events at SteelStacks,” Bastidas says. “Through this illustration, I hope to capture the optimism and energy that made the transformation from abandoned factory into thriving center of arts and culture possible.

“From learning how to blow glass, to listening to music or linking arms in the polka tent, my personal experiences at Musikfest instilled within me a fascination for the arts that has never faded. It’s such a privilege to be part of a festival that has had such a long history and continues to evolve year to year.”

Over the coming months, ‘fest fans will see Bastidas’ work of art popping up everywhere, starting with the Musikfest website. It will also be used for the official festival poster and mug, while being incorporated into other official `fest merch and apparel throughout the year.

“We are thrilled that Jessica Bastidas, one of the region’s most talented young artists and arts educators, has created the new Musikfest artwork, highlighting the talent and quality of the arts professionals coming from our region,” says ArtsQuest President and CEO Kassie Hilgert. “From the musical instruments and the sense of celebration, to the steelworkers and the H-beams that appear so prominently, this poster embodies not only the essence of Musikfest, but the spirit and vibrancy of Bethlehem. The 2019 Musikfest poster is unlike any other artwork in the history of the festival, and we could not be prouder that is was created by one of this year’s Linny winners.”

Bastidas says she is deeply honored and lucky to have been selected to receive a Linny Award and to work on the Musikfest poster considering the wealth of talent in the Lehigh Valley.
“Over the years, these truly pivotal moments in my artistic and professional development were only made possible through the continued support of my teachers, friends, fellow artists, supporters of the arts and of course my splendidly weird and fabulous family,” she says. “This recognition helps to validate my efforts to this point, while also inspiring me to push the creative development of myself and my students to keep the passion for making and self-discovery alive.”

One of the largest music festivals in the nation, Musikfest features more than 500 performances on 17 stages throughout Bethlehem over 10 days. Dates for the 36th edition of the festival are Aug. 2-11. For more information, visit www.musikfest.org.