Faces International, ArtsQuest and United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley Announce ‘HEROES’ Exhibition with Renowned Artist Bart Cooper
BETHLEHEM, Pa.— Faces Int, in partnership with ArtsQuest and United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, is proud to present “Heroes,” an exhibition by 2022 Musikfest artist Bart Cooper. The exhibition opens on March 18 and will be free to the public seven days a week at ArtsQuest’s Banana Factory Arts Center. The exhibition will be accompanied by virtual seminars exploring topics such as: What is Fine Art, The Business of Art and the Impact of Art, spread across March, April and May. The artist will also host youth educational programs at the artist’s former school in the Whitehall School District.
“When Bart Cooper first showed me the ‘Heroes’ collection it made such an impression, I knew Faces had to help enhance its reach. I am excited for the impact ‘Heroes’ will have on the Lehigh Valley community. Our partnership with ArtQuest and United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley will enhance the reach of ‘Heroes’ and showcase the power of collaboration to change the narrative,” says COO of Faces Int, Kevin Greene.
“Heroes” is a project of artworks, educational and public programming and outreach events that feature the experimental work of Bart Cooper. The installment invites viewers and attendees to examine heroes in popular culture. Toying the line between the real and fictional worlds, Cooper uses mixed media methods to create portraits of powerful Black women, matching them up to suitable comic book characters to highlight the connection between America’s favorite comic characters, and the country’s history of powerful, gritty, brave Black women leaders.
“ArtsQuest is proud to partner with Faces Int and United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley on this community-wide project,” Kassie Hilgert, President & CEO of ArtsQuest said. “We are grateful to have an artist of Bart Cooper’s caliber come back to the Lehigh Valley to inspire the next generation of artists. This exhibition and accompanying educational events will spark creativity and conversations.”
Focusing on themes of social justice and equity, the juxtaposition of each woman and the Marvel characters emphasizes their true power. The powerful Black women depicted in the images are met with fine art techniques that are inspiring and moving, as a result of the skilled layering, shading and texture of each image. “Their intelligence, their trials and tribulations, their willingness to lead shows strength and resilience. These people had powers and practiced them rigorously, and not only for themselves, but for others,” says the artist, Bart Cooper.
“It’s exciting to play a role in bringing Bart’s art and timely perspective to the Lehigh Valley,” stated Marci Lesko, Executive Vice President, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley. “It’s true in the arts, as in our lives, that inclusion, representation and raising diverse voices deepens and strengthens racial equity for our community.”
To kickoff this partnership, Cooper will host a mini residency on February 15 at Whitehall High School (WHS). Cooper, a WHS alum, will lead a variety of activities for WCSD students including artist talks and art-making demonstrations. He will also hold an event for WCSD families in the Whitehall High School Auditorium on Tuesday, February 15 from 7 – 8 p.m. Additional events will be announced throughout the year.
The Heroes Exhibition would like to thank presenting partners PPL Corporation, Lehigh Valley Community Foundation and Crayola, as well as community partners Moravian University, United Way Women United, Penn State Lehigh Valley, Capital Blue Cross and People First Federal Credit Union.
To learn more about the “Heroes” project, programming and artwork, visit heroeslv.com.