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NEW SOUTHSIDE MURAL DESIGNED TO CELEBRATE MENTAL HEALTH RECOVERY

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43-foot wide by 35-foot tall painting by Pau Quintanajornet to be Created at Café The Lodge Starting April 26

BETHLEHEM, PA—Café The Lodge, internationally renowned mural artist Pau Quintanajornet and ArtsQuest are collaborating on an interactive art experience and mural designed to raise awareness of the challenges people face when dealing with mental health issues when Quintanajornet creates a large-scale mural on the exterior of Café The Lodge, 427 E. Fourth St., Bethlehem, April 26-May 5.

The project, which is part of the SouthSide Arts & Music Festival presented by Capital BlueCross, will begin when Quintanajornet arrives at Café The Lodge April 26, 8 a.m.-noon, to share her preliminary sketches of her mural, part of her “Project Wallflowers,” with the community. The open house is designed to get public feedback and suggestions for the 43-foot wide by 35-foot tall painting, which will be created on the west wall of Café The Lodge, adjacent to the City of Bethlehem fire station.

Born in Chile, Quintanajornet moved to Germany in 1985 with her parents as political refugees. When she was 15-years old she moved to Berlin to finish her school and studies, and to broaden her horizons and find a creative outlet. Inspired by Pablo Neruda’s words, “The murals are the books of the people,” she started a long-term ‘artivist’ project in 2013 called “Project Wallflowers.” Today, her work is found on walls in Egypt, Tunisia, Spain, France, The Netherlands, Germany, United States, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Patagonia. She has also appeared in festivals, exhibitions and events around the globe including the METROPOLINK Festival in Heidelberg, Germany; WarmiPaint in Quito, Ecuador; 40 Degree Urban Art Festival in Dusseldorf, Germany; and TEDx Santiago de Chile.

Café The Lodge was selected as the site for the 2019 SouthSide Arts & Music Festival mural because of its important role in supporting individuals who are in recovery from mental health challenges. Led by director Ian Panyko, The Lodge and restaurant provide an environment that affirms self-determination and supports people who express a desire to work at jobs that make them feel productive and part of the community.

“An important requirement of my work is to provide ‘food for the soul’,” Quintanajornet says. “I understand art as an important channel that helps to express ourselves and the world we live in. More than ever, mental health and how we deal with this topic in our society is an important indicator to see where we have improved as human race. I look forward to this experience and hope to bring some colorful Mindfulness to Bethlehem and its community.”

Opened in 2010, The Lodge supports its members in establishing independent living arrangements and a productive and meaningful existence. The program is supported by Northampton County Mental Health because of its outside-the-box approach that focuses on increasing the quality of life as defined by the individual, rather than managing symptoms of mental illness.

At any one time, up to one dozen individuals in mental health recovery live, work and volunteer in the community, learning important life and job skills that help them thrive. In addition to offering transitional housing and development opportunities, Café The Lodge provides vocational support and educational programs that involve music, drum circles, spoken word, skill building classes and more, with a focus on individual recovery and wellness that emphasize mind, body and spirit.

“The Lodge and Café The Lodge are both dynamic programs that focus on the individual in recovery,” Panyko says. “Through one-on-one interactions in a normalized environment we discover what our participants want to do in their recovery, instead of stating what they need to do to be well. The Lodge is a place where we don’t see the line between recovery staff and consumers, we see the person.”

Quintanajornet will be working on her “Project Wallflowers” mural daily through May 4, with an official dedication of the work planned for later this spring. The mural, which is supported by ArtsQuest, Café The Lodge, Resources for Human Development and Just Born, will be done in Pau’s signature style while highlighting Café The Lodge’s mission focused on mental health recovery.