Bringing the community together through art

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Thomas Mann, internationally known jewelry and sculpture artist, brought a new community art project to the Lehigh Valley.

The Trajectory Heart Project, which began in 2009 during an artist in residence program with the Studios of Key West, demonstrates the importance of bringing art to the community by publicly sharing the complete experience of building and documenting the sculpture.

“I’ve been using the heart since the mid-'70s. I don’t use it in a romantic way, I use it in a techno-romantic way. By using the slot concept for its design, the Trajectory Heart is scalable and manageable. It’s iconic in form, look and effect,” said Mann. “Ann Lalik, Penn State Lehigh Valley gallery director and arts coordinator, was the point person to make this a quick, successful process. She networked with City Center and Penn State Lehigh Valley and made it possible.”

Students, artists and members of the community worked with Mann to build the Trajectory Heart Sculpture in downtown Allentown, Mann’s hometown. 

people building trajectory heart sculpture

Thomas Mann and his crew work to build the Trajectory Heart Sculpture. 

Image: Ann Lalik

“Art is necessary for the economy, it brings tourism and culture,” said Mann. “The Trajectory Heart project stimulates art culture in the city. It’s accessible, enjoyable and important for the community to see. This project has been great for community engagement.”

“The Trajectory Heart Project has become more exciting and educational than imagined since we’ve started planning over a year ago,” said Lalik. “Mann’s ability to mentor and communicate has enriched the artistic practice of students and artists who worked with him. The project has brought together artists and the community who wouldn’t normally work together through the building of the sculpture, workshops and travel. This is all possible through the support of the business and education community.”

Since completion, the Trajectory Heart Sculpture has been traveling all over the Lehigh Valley with stops at Penn State Lehigh Valley, West Park, The Promenade Shops, Bogert Covered Bridge, Zion’s Church and many more.

heart sculpture at the promenade shops

The Trajectory Heart sculpture visited The Promenade Shops in Center Valley, PA. 

Image: Emily Collins
heart sculpture with people

The Trajectory Heart Sculpture visited the Baum School of Art in Allentown, PA. 

Image: Ann Lalik

“It’s timely for this to happen in Allentown. It helps the community understand the effect art can have in their lives and in the cultural and business environment of the city,” said Mann.

Mann has built other Trajectory Hearts in Key West, Tasmania and New Orleans.

When asked about the future, Mann said he plans to continue taking the Trajectory Heart Project around the world.

“I want this project to have a life in itself,” said Mann.

During his time in the Lehigh Valley, Mann will be conducting two more workshops and an exhibit:

Artist as Artrepreneur Lecture and Lunch

July 20 (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

Allentown Art Museum, Allentown 

Design ƒor Survival (DfS) Entrepreneurial Thinking and Tactics for Artists, lecture and interactive workshop for artists working in any media.

July 21 and 22 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days)

Baum School of Art, Allentown

ASSEMBLING Thomas Mann EXHIBIT 

Reception: Thursday July 20, 5 to 9 p.m.

Penn State/ RE:find Pop Up Gallery

645 Hamilton Street, Allentown, PA

For more information, call 610-841-4866.

To register for the workshops, visit the Lehigh Valley Arts Council’s Box Office.

The project, hosted by Penn State Lehigh Valley, was enhanced by the partnerships of arts organizations and businesses in the community including, City Center, Cultural Coalition of Allentown, Lehigh Valley Arts Council, Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, RE:find Gallery, The Baum School of Art, and Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley

For more information on the Trajectory Heart Project, contact Lalik at 610-285-5261 or annlalik@psu.edu

Last Updated July 18, 2017