The Banana Factory has been a home for the arts and a resource for the Lehigh Valley since 1998. Resident artists go through a two-phase jury process before being approved for a studio to ensure quality of work. Once placed, resident artists create art, teach classes, workshops and welcome the community once a month at a free event called First Friday.

The Banana Factory artists are community-centered and regularly donate their talents to help local initiatives via fundraising, local mural projects and educational and speaking engagements amongst other things. During normal circumstances, the Banana Factory is accessible for free 7 days a week so anyone in the Lehigh Valley can experience high quality arts programming. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, these programs had to stop, practically overnight.

The purpose of this campaign is to raise money to help support resident artists at the Banana Factory by providing rent relief. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many small businesses around the Lehigh Valley have had to stop work with little to no warning. The Banana Factory has shut its doors by the mandate set forth by the Governor of Pennsylvania as it’s considered a nonessential business. This has put a real financial strain on artists who have lost their means to generate income. Despite the lost revenue, bills are due. Whether you have been to the Banana Factory or not, chances are you know one or more of the artists who have a studio in the building.

A gift in support of the artists who work at the Banana Factory is an investment in people who will help restore beauty and vibrance to Bethlehem’s culture when we all get back together. It is a vote of optimism that someday we will connect in public again, and when we do, we will be thirsty for homegrown attractions, entertainment, camaraderie and thoughtful social discourse.

If you have benefited from the presence of artists in the Banana Factory and appreciate having them in our community, please consider a donation. Even a small contribution matters greatly.

We are grateful for our community and thankful for the Lehigh Valley’s support!