SouthSide Bethlehem’s Making History with Lehigh Valley’s First Street Mural

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Bethlehem, PA – The SouthSide Arts District, an initiative of the Bethlehem Economic Development Corporation, is making history this Summer with the addition of a new street mural at the intersections of Adams and Third Streets. “Each year the SouthSide Arts District’s Design Committee strives to add innovative public art to our streetscape. This year, with the help of the City of Bethlehem, The Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission, Northampton County and Lehigh Valley Health Network we are not only adding the first street mural in Bethlehem to our Urban Arts Trail, but we are also working to calm the traffic at this busy intersection,” said Missy Hartney, the SouthSide’s Downtown Manager. ”Public art has long been sought as a solution to busy trafficked intersections. Murals cause the driver to focus and navigate the crossing with caution. Traffic calming is certainly one of the goals for this project, as well as building a sense of community, with an emphasis on health, wellness and walking. We were extremely fortunate to receive over 10 applications from local artists for this project, but it was Sarah Karess and Mounir Mulhem’s proposal that reflected the vision the best.”

A panel of art experts and Bethlehem enthusiasts took part in the final decision, and it was Karess and Mulhem’s design that wowed the crowd. Inspired by David James, an Australian who went viral for handing flowers to complete strangers as an act of random kindness – the design features hands offering various flowers to passersby. The artists noted, “Within any community, the cornerstone to wellness and quality of life is driven by kindness, and we all have a hand in helping each other grow. This mural intends to remind the Bethlehem community to be kind to each other and to oneself. By doing so, we will be well together.”

The mural is scheduled to be painted on the following dates throughout the month of August – weather permitted:

Tuesday 8/3, 8/10 between 6-9PM
Wednesday 8/4, 8/11 between 6-9PM
Saturday 7/31, 8/7, 8/14 between 10-8PM
Sunday 8/1, 8/8, 8/15 between 10-8PM

Members of the community are encouraged to visit and cheer on Karess and Mulhem, as they make history in Bethlehem.

A ribbon cutting celebration and reception will be held for the artists at September’s First Friday gathering, along with pop up artist galleries throughout the district that evening. To make a donation to future public art initiatives in the SouthSide please visit

The SouthSide Arts District, an initiative of the Bethlehem Economic Development Corporation, is a downtown revitalization program that works to improve the economic conditions for businesses and institutions located in the core business district of South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Formally organized in 2015 in partnership with Lehigh University and the Bethlehem Economic Development Corporation, the SouthSide Arts District follows the nationally recognized Main Street Four Point Approach from the National Main Street Program, focused on the developing committees of volunteers committed to the Organization, Promotion, Design, and Economic Vitality of South Bethlehem.