LUAG Collaborates with Bethlehem Farmers’ Market for Taste of Art
By: Grace Alto '26 & Kelley Versocki | Published Thursday, November 16th, 2023
Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG) partnered with the Bethlehem Farmers’ Market (BFM) for their Taste of Art Program Series. Taste of Art brings together culture and history by pairing local SouthSide Bethlehem cuisine and recipes with works of art from LUAG’s permanent art collection.
The program was designed for individuals to experience the intersection of art, cultural heritage, and cuisine and was open to individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Each program featured live and pre-recorded art and culinary history discussions, as well as a cooking demo with program partner Maite Gomez-Rejón of ArtBites: Cooking Art History. Over 500 Free Taste of Art kits were distributed to the community over a two-year period. Each kit included essential ingredients, a recipe card, a reproduction of the works of art, and a link to the educational video.
The collaboration of Taste of Art with the Bethlehem Farmers’ Market featured two of the BFM’s vendors, Soap Muffin and Lone Birch Microfarm. On October 12th, 2023, the LUAG staff hosted a table at the market and distributed 50 free Taste of Art kits which each included cornbread mix from Soap Muffin. LUAG staff were assisted by local teaching artist, Claire Marcus, who taught printmaking techniques inspired by current exhibitions and allowed individuals to customize LUAG tote bags or pencil cases.
The Partnerships between LUAG & the BFM
“The Taste of Art program was created to highlight the incredible ways that food, creativity, and culture bring people together and support our individual and collective well-being,” Stacie Brennan said. “Each workshop paired a work of art from Lehigh's art collection with a recipe from the featured restaurant or small business to highlight the diverse cultures and voices that make up the Bethlehem SouthSide community.”
Deb Martin, Bethlehem Farmers’ Market Manager, was “thrilled” when Brennan reached out requesting the BFM partner with LUAG for this unique event.
"Having taken part in previous Taste of Art events, I was thrilled when Stacie Brennan of LUAG approached me about partnering with the farmers market,” Martin said. “This has been a great opportunity to showcase a couple of our vendors, Lone Birch Microfarm and Soap Muffin, and to reinforce the connections between nourishing our bodies and nourishing our hearts and minds.”.
A Community Celebration
LUAG planned a community celebration on November 8th from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. to mark the culmination of the grant funding supported by the Institute for Museums and Library Services (IMLS) America Rescue Grant. At the celebration, there was a limited number of community cookbooks given out for free. These community cookbooks featured 15 recipes from community partners, including Cornbread Mix from Soap Muffin and Squash, Apple, and Sweet Potato Soup from Lone Birch Microfarm.
The event featured the first in-person interactive lecture with program partner Maite Gomez-Rejón, a culinary historian who has dedicated her career to exploring art and culinary history and is the creator of ArtBites: Cooking Art History.
Kate Jackson (Ph.D., MSS, MLSP, Assistant Professor in Lehigh University’s College of Health), a participant at the event, said she was “so grateful to be part of a community where food and art are tools for deeper connection and celebration. The collaboration with Azizi, the magical maker of SoapMuffin goods made me especially excited, as she never fails to bless, teach, and feed me each week in our time together at the Farmers Market. Knowing that so many people are able to share in this experience is a beautiful thing!”
To learn more about LUAG’s various Taste of Art events, watch videos, and try out featured recipes, visit their webpage at LUAG’s Taste of Art. A limited number of Community Cookbooks are still available. Please stop by the LUAG Main Galleries or email@example.com.