The Urban Arts Trail is a 2.75-mile long trail in the Southside that showcases over 40 art installations. The newest addition, “Hope in Flight," is a mural created by two teachers from East Hills Middle School and their students to foster representation for populations in the Southside. (Maeve Kelly/ B&W Staff)

Urban Arts Trail builds Southside’s culture


A painted piano, vibrant murals and blue heron statues made out of gardening tools are all art installations adorning the Southside, showcasing the community’s commitment to reinvigorating the city.

All a part of South Bethlehem’s Urban Arts Trail, the 40 public works of art are scattered across the city to represent the community’s diverse cultural populations.

The 2.75-mile-long trail is supported by the SouthSide Arts District, a nonprofit formed in 2015 that focuses on commercial revitalization in the core business district.

The SouthSide Arts District partners with Lehigh University and the Bethlehem Economic Development Corporation on the organization, promotion, design and economic vitality of South Bethlehem.

Works range from a dynamic collection of murals, sculptures and mosaics to functional art structures, which include painted bike racks, painted planters and a community piano.

Erin Zebertavage, the downtown manager of the SouthSide Arts District, said the trail’s purpose is to build upon the rich arts culture that already exists in the Southside.

Zebertavage said the works of art were created by local artists in the community to reflect a community survey of potential designs and recommendations.

“The whole concept of public art is really to enhance the environment, create a sense of pride in the community, as well as just to add beauty,” Zebertavage said.

Katy Wirth, assistant downtown manager of the SouthSide Arts District, said there is a lot of diversity throughout the art’s ideas and themes.

As an already diverse community, Wirth said the pieces are heritage-based to include a majority of the city’s different cultures and representations.

Adding to the trail, two teachers at East Hills Middle School worked with their students to contribute a piece that represents their own community.

The “Hope in Flight” mural, located on the South Bethlehem Greenway near Hobart Street and Railroad Street, was spearheaded by Carla Majczan and Tiffany Anderson and their students.

The mural is created on a flight of stairs, depicting piano keys across the staircase surrounded by vibrantly colored birds, flowers and a woman.

Majczan, an art teacher at East Hills Middle School, explained the mural’s goal was to represent how they feel about the community and world. The artists were also inspired by the song “You Gotta Be” by Des’ree, which is about hope.

“We would listen to the song and draw things out that we heard,” Majczan said. “This song was about hope and the lyrics in the song were actually pretty close to what we’re trying to get across.”

For example, Majczan said the bird symbolizes the migration of people and culture.

Majczan wanted her students to be involved in creating the mural.

“It was a big deal for me to be able to have my students work with us,” Majczan said. “They can say, ‘I was a part of something big in my community,’ and now they have more admiration and confidence in their art.”

Majczan and Anderson created two separate ideas for the “Hope in Flight” mural and had the community comment on which they thought represented them more.

Zebertavage said there is always more potential to enrich and enhance the community with more art. She mentioned that community members have requested where they want future artwork to be displayed, and the next mural will be finished this spring near Broadway Street.

“The long term vision will serve to bring people to Southside Bethlehem not just to check out the art but also to patronize our local mom-and-pop businesses here,” Wirth said. “The Urban Arts Trail just really helps draw people into that aspect of the community.

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