ArtsQuest announced that Lisa Harms has been named the organization’s first Director of Education and Outreach. The new position, which is made possible through the generous support of Mrs. Elaine Emrick of Bethlehem Township, will allow the nonprofit arts organization to substantially expand its arts-related educational programs in partnership with public and private schools and community organizations.
As the Director of Education and Outreach, Harms is responsible for creating and implementing arts and education programs that tie into ArtsQuest’s music, visual arts, film and dance programming for the region. Among her primary responsibilities will be the development of in-school, after-school and summer education programs for K-12th grade students, with an emphasis on initiatives that strengthen and expand access to the arts for underserved segments of the community, while using arts in education as a supplemental teaching technique for non-arts curricula including science, social science, math and English. Harms will also be responsible for developing educational and community programs and professional development classes geared toward area educators, seniors and persons with disabilities.
“ArtsQuest has long targeted education and outreach as an area it wanted to expand in to help meet some of the growing needs of our diverse community,” says Kassie Hilgert, President and CEO of ArtsQuest. “However, with so many of our resources dedicated to providing free programming and events, this is a position that had gone unfilled for a number of years. Creating this new position will allow ArtsQuest to develop educational experiences that tie in to our existing events and programs, as well as create new in-school and after-school programs benefitting elementary, middle and high school students throughout the region. ArtsQuest and the many young people of the Lehigh Valley who will benefit from this program are deeply indebted to Mrs. Emrick for her vision and support.”
A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and New York’s Pratt Institute, where she earned her Master’s Degree in Library Science, Harms has more than 18 years of experience in education, outreach and library sciences.
From 2001-’14, she was employed at the Thomas J. Watson Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, most recently as the Assistant Museum Librarian for Collections and Access. During her tenure with the museum, Harms developed several initiatives and educational programs that increased library registrations by 95 percent and expanded the library’s collection circulation by 65 percent. Prior to coming to ArtsQuest, Harms worked for the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem, first as a consultant and then as Collections Manager and Education Coordinator, developing the museum’s education plan while serving as liaison to the Smithsonian Institute.
Harms lives in Whitehall Township with her husband Aaron and their son, Henry. In addition to her role with ArtsQuest, she serves on the Whitehall Township Public Library Board of Directors and was a member of the Suburban North Family YMCA Board of Directors.
ArtsQuest is a Bethlehem-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 Center; and the ArtsQuest Center and SteelStacks arts and cultural campus, ArtsQuest’s programming reaches more than 1.5 million people annually. The organization’s programs and events, approximately 65 percent of which are free to attend, have a combined economic impact of more than $100 million annually in the region.