The Pennsylvania Music Preservation Society (PAMPS) will announce details of its collaboration and hex sign initiative with the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at a news conference on Friday, Jan. 26, at 11 a.m. at the Lehigh Valley Road Runner Clubhouse in the Lehigh Parkway Park.
In addition to providing audio/visual educational seminars during the upcoming Great Pennsylvania Music & Arts Celebration, The Heritage Center at Kutztown University will collaborate with PAMPS on a hex sign project involving kindergarten through high school art educators and their students. The students will design their own unique hex signs, and from these the public will be invited to select the signature hex sign for the Great Pennsylvania Music & Arts Celebration on Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-28, at the historic Allentown Fairgrounds.
“The news conference also will provide highlights of a joint multiple-year Lehigh County Hex Sign Cataloging and Preservation Initiative between us and The Heritage Center,” according to PAMPS CEO Siobhan “Sam” Bennett. “It just so happens that the large white barn near the Road Runners Clubhouse building, where we are holding the new conference, is decorated with examples of the unique and endangered Lehigh County ‘Blumme’ hex sign style that our initiative is being created to save.”
Patrick Donmoyer, executive director of The Heritage Center, has studied hex signs in depth, and he will provide some insights into their meaning and importance to the region during the news conference.
“Like two legs of the same pair of pants, Lehigh and Berks counties share the role of being the heartland of the Pennsylvania Dutch history and culture,” Donmoyer explains. “Eastern Berks and Western Lehigh counties are the epicenter of the indigenous folk art of hex signs and barn stars.”
Besides Bennett and Donmoyer, Lehigh County Executive Phillip Armstrong is confirmed as a speaker during the news conference.