ArtsQuest, Musikfest Keep Bethlehem On Top
We've written about ArtsQuest
, the nonprofit organization that drives arts-based economic growth in Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley, every year since Keystone Edge launched in 2008. So we know the group has been busy.
As Musikfest, the group's flagship event and annual 10-day festival that serves up mostly free musical acts of all genres from across the globe in downtown Bethlehem, hits its stride this week, ArtsQuest
is back on our radar again as a new report details the organization's growing economic impact.
In June, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia issued a report
that found Bethlehem was the most economically healthy city among 13 similar cities included from the Fed's large territory (which represents two-thirds of Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware).
Bethlehem rated first in median household income, fewest percentage of residents dependent on government subsidies, highest median sales price of residences, lowest housing vacancy rates and it was one of two cities that had a higher population in 2010 than it did in 1950.
The report cited SteelStacks
, the major arts, culture and education campus being constructed on 4.5 acres around the former Bethlehem Steel factory, as an indicator of the city's accomplishment and promise.
Also in June, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council
released a report
that found the arts have a $208 million impact on the region, including $78 million from ArtsQuest activities.
And if you haven't yet been to Musikfest, you've got the next few days to get there. Maybe you can take some of the ArtsQuest magic back to your city.
JOE PETRUCCI is managing editor of Keystone Edge. Send feedback here.