Habitat Artsquest PartnershipHabitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley’s (Habitat Lehigh Valley) partner families throughout Bethlehem’s SouthSide and beyond will enjoy increased access to arts and educational programming thanks to a new partnership between Habitat Lehigh Valley and the arts and cultural nonprofit ArtsQuest. The new partnership will make available art scholarships at the Banana Factory arts education center for all Habitat Lehigh Valley partner families, as well as provide various opportunities for families to discover the free arts and education programming available to them year-round at the SteelStacks arts and cultural campus.

While Habitat Lehigh Valley builds and rehabilitates homes and revitalizes neighborhoods with exterior repair projects for low-income families throughout the Lehigh Valley, more than 60 percent of its homes are located on Bethlehem’s SouthSide, only a short walk from the ArtsQuest Center and SteelStacks. The new partnership is part of Habitat Lehigh Valley’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program, an initiative launching in 2016 that focuses on partnering with housing and community organizations that are dedicated to community revitalization and neighborhood stabilization.

“Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley offers expertise in partnerships and affordable housing solutions. Partnering with residents and other organizations helps ensure that Habitat Lehigh Valley’s work — from rehabs to community projects like a garden or block clean up, from new homes to financial literacy classes — contributes to the fabric of the neighborhood and makes it an inviting place to call home,” says Melissa Siegfried, Director of Resource Development for Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley. “We believe that an affordable, decent home provides the foundation for a healthy, fulfilled life and partnering with ArtsQuest connects our partner families to new opportunities to grow and achieve new dreams.”

As part of the new partnership, all Habitat Lehigh Valley partner families now have the opportunity to apply for arts scholarships at the Banana Factory. The scholarships will provide opportunities for adults and children alike to explore visual arts programming and classes benefiting them in school, career development and life. The Banana Factory offers more than 350 visual arts classes, workshops and summer camps annually ranging from digital photography and graphic illustration to glassblowing and ceramic arts. In addition to the new scholarship program, ArtsQuest will join Habitat Lehigh Valley for a volunteer work day at its target SouthSide neighborhood in the coming months.

“This partnership between Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley and ArtsQuest allows our organizations to work together to benefit families living on the SouthSide,” says ArtsQuest Vice President of Community Partnerships Julie Benjamin. “Both organizations are committed to south Bethlehem’s neighborhoods and its residents, and we know there are many benefits to empowering families to use the many arts and cultural assets available at the Banana Factory and SteelStacks.”

About Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to provide affordable housing for hardworking low-income families. Homeowners commit to 250 hours of “sweat equity” to be eligible for a Habitat home. Partner families repay a no-interest mortgage as part of Habitat’s philosophy of giving potential homeowners a “hand up” instead of a “hand out.” Since 1989, Habitat has built and renovated over 100 homes in the Lehigh Valley and has dedicated its 100th home last year. Contact Habitat Lehigh Valley at 610-776-7737 for additional information or explore its initiatives by visiting the website www.habitatLV.org.

About ArtsQuest ArtsQuest™ is a Bethlehem, PA-based nonprofit dedicated to presenting music, arts, festivals, cultural experiences and educational and outreach programs that aid in economic development, urban revitalization and community enrichment. Through festivals such as its flagship event, Musikfest®; the Banana Factory® arts education center; and the ArtsQuest Center and SteelStacks™ arts and cultural campus, ArtsQuest’s programming reaches more than 1.5 million people annually. For more information on ArtsQuest, visit www.artsquest.org, follow on Facebook.com/ArtsQuest and Twitter.com/ArtsQuest or call 610-332-1300.