ArtsQuest has received $7 million towards the revitalization and preservation of the Turn and Grind, a 150-year-old, 26,000-square-fott building that used to be part of Bethlehem Steel.
The building is next door to the SteelStacks Visitor Center.
The funds come from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP)
Work on the building will include the creation of a 14,000-square-foot public programming space to feature nationally touring education programs, science- and arts-related exhibits, expansion of ArtsQuest’s festivals including Christkindlmarkt, Octoberfest, Musikfest and more.
“This is a unique building in South Side Bethlehem,” said Kassie Hilgert, ArtsQuest President and CEO. “We’re extremely thankful that this structure, originally gifted by Sands (now Wind Creek), will be reimagined in a way that preserves our history and allows ArtsQuest to continue our mission of providing unparalleled access to the arts.”
According to Hilgert, Air Products provided an initial $1.5 million pledge, with some of that funding slated for ArtsQuest’s planned 80,000-square-foot Cultural Center that will replace the Banana Factory on Third Street.
Northampton County has also pledged $1 million for the new Cultural Center and $1 million for the Turn and Grind.
Hilgert said that ArtsQuest is currently relaunching its $66 million capital campaign, which is designed to transform Bethlehem’s Southside Arts District and enhance access to the arts regionally.
“These are exciting times for ArtsQuest and the City of Bethlehem,” Hilgert said. “We’ve demonstrated a strong track record of dynamic growth these past four decades, working with the private and public sectors, transforming and strengthening access to the arts in the Lehigh Valley. Replacing the Banana Factory with a new cultural center and revitalizing the former Turn and Grind will aid in the attraction of visitors, artists, businesses and the creative class to the city and region spurring additional economic development and urban revitalization.”