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Allentown Art Fest spreads artistic diversity

The 4th Annual Allentown ArtsFest was held at Cedar Beach Park Sept. 29th to Oct. 1st. An
admission free, three-day festival that highlights the diverse art, music, food, and culture to be
found in our local area, ArtsFest offers something for everyone to enjoy.
There are three stages playing ongoing local music of all genres, tons of activities for kids from
molding clay to making slime, a skate park, giant graffiti murals, comedy and improv sets,
breakdancing competitions, dozens of artists with work on display and for sale, delicious local
food, and craft beer and wine.
This was the first year, Becki Fahs, the artist behind colorFused, a form of fused glass art, had
her artwork on display and for sale. “I have been an artist all my adult life, having studied art in
high school and college. I have been doing fused glass for the past year,” Fahs said, “I love
colors and it’s easy to incorporate color into my work. As I am designing my pieces in my mind,
color is one of the first things I envision. I see colors in my mind when I hear music or hear
numbers. It’s called Synesthesia.”
This style of glass art is different than glass-blowing. “I use specialized stained glass which I cut
by hand and layer on top of other pieces of glass. The pieces go into my glass kiln which heats
up to 1500 degrees and cools back down over 24 hours. Magic happens to the colored glass in
the kiln, and the separate pieces melt into one solid piece of glass. If I am making a suncatcher or
jewelry, I finish the pieces by attaching the bails or earring posts, etc. If I am creating a dish or
bowl, I put the glass back in the kiln over a ceramic mold- refuse to 1350 degrees, again over 24
hours, to soften the glass so it slumps into the mold shape. Fused glass is considered “warm
glass” whereas blown glass is hot glass because it is worked at 2000-3000 degrees.”
Fahs attended NCC in 1980, originally as an art major, and then switched majors, graduating in
1982 with a degree in nursing.
She has always used art as therapy, “I absolutely believe art is great therapy. In my ‘real job’, I
am a psychiatric nurse who specializes in working with adults with intellectual disabilities, and
art and music therapy are amazing tools. It also keeps me sane and grounded. I can’t imagine life
without being able to create art. Next month I will be teaching a fused glass class at the
Bloomsburg Children’s Museum. You’re never too young to start creating.”
Also new to the ArtsFest this year was another local artist, Garett William Fitzner. The 36-year-
old artist grew up in Brodheadsville, PA. Fitzner has been a self-proclaimed ‘doodler’ since he
was a child, but has been a professional artist for about a year now.
His artwork includes a spectrum of abstract paintings to interactive 3-D art with moving parts.
“It all depends on my mood. Sometimes I’ll splash paint onto a canvas and follow what I see. I’ll
improvise and let the colors guide me. Other times, I’ll use an X-Acto knife and cut precise
pinwheel designs into layers that, when removed from the glass frame, will pop-up and become
multidimensional pieces with interactive moving parts.”

Fitzner has worked with all forms of artistic mediums from calligraphy pens, to oils and acrylics.
“I have never used a template. I believe our role as artists is to show a piece of ourselves, like
who we are as unique individuals. I will look at a building or piece of machinery and see it in
parts. I try to look at things in a surreal way, not realistic.”
Fitzner also agrees that art is a great therapeutic tool. “From the good to the bad, I use art to
express how I’m feeling. Whether it be as an artist or a musician, I find an outlet in both areas. I
am part of a musical duo called, Ningen Kiki. I play guitar, bass, keyboard, sitar, and the tiple.”
His advice to artists who are afraid to harness their craft, “Don’t fear anything. Just do it. Don’t
let fear stop you from doing anything because if you do, you’ll never do anything. Use your
passion. Stop thinking so much and just create. Not everyone will understand you or your
methods, and that’s OK. You’re not doing it for them. There will be people drawn to things the
way you are and share in your passion. One person’s passion can ignite another’s. There’s no
‘wrong way’ when it comes to art.”