ArtsQuest and Faces International Partnering to Present Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton with Artwork

Artist Bart Cooper and Faces International

Pieces from Bart Cooper’s ‘Heroes Exhibition’ selected by each mayor

BETHLEHEM, Pa.— ArtsQuest is proud to partner with Lehigh Valley-based Faces International to present artwork from Bart Cooper’s Heroes exhibition to the mayors of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton on Monday, Jan. 16. The presentation will be held in the Banana Factory’s Crayola Gallery at 8:30 a.m. The pieces selected by mayors Tuerk, Reynolds and Panto will be installed later in their respective city halls.

Focused on themes of social justice and equity, the spring 2022 exhibition featured artwork, educational and public programming and outreach events highlighting Cooper’s experimental work, with the installment inviting viewers and attendees to examine heroes in popular culture. Cooper’s work in the series tows the line between real and fictional worlds, using mixed media methods to create portraits of powerful Black women, matching them with suitable Marvel characters to highlight the connection between America’s favorite comic characters, and the country’s history of powerful, gritty, brave Black women leaders.

“For me ‘Heroes’ was all about an intergenerational impact on our community through the stories of women that have changed the world,” said Kevin Greene, Faces International Chief Operating Officer. “Education in all its forms has built the world we have today and will build the future. The black women in the ‘Heroes’ series are just a snippet of the impact black people from all parts of the globe have contributed to us all. I thank the mayors for coming together and continuing the impact and I thank Bart Cooper for the vision. I want the Valley to know that Faces Int. will continue to facilitate the evolution of the culture in the Lehigh Valley.”

Cooper’s portrait of American singer-songwriter Nina Simone was chosen by Allentown’s Mayor Mathew Tuerk. “Nina Simone is one of the most distinctive voices in the history of American music, and she committed her gift to justice,” said Tuerk. “When I saw the portrait by Bart Cooper, pairing her with Wonder Woman, I saw a perfect fit for Allentown.”

Bethlehem City Mayor J. William Reynolds selected Cooper’s portrait of American political activist Angela Davis. “Bart Cooper’s Angela Davis portrays her as saying that ‘we are changing the things we cannot accept,’ he said. “In Bethlehem’s City Hall, we start with the question ‘What is the right thing to do?’ as we work to change the policies and structures that hinder our communities. It’s an honor for us to accept this piece as part of our collection.”

“We’re very excited to place one of Mr. Cooper’s paintings in our city hall and showcase his talents,” said Easton Mayor Sal Panto, who selected Cooper’s portrait of Madame CJ Walker, recognized as the first female American self-made millionaire.

“ArtsQuest is proud to partner with Faces International, ensuring Bart’s timely perspective will continue to spark creativity and conversations,” said Kassie Hilgert, ArtsQuest President and CEO. “His work serves as a reminder how diversity, equality and inclusion enable us to reconcile our most contemporary and historic challenges while advocating for one another’s humanity, showcasing the power of collaboration to change the narrative.”