Episode 45: Jeff Parks, Founder, ArtsQuest
Jeffrey A. Parks is the Executive Director of the ArtsQuest Foundation, a support organization for the nonprofit arts and cultural organization ArtsQuest, based in Bethlehem, PA. Mr. Parks is also the founder and former President of ArtsQuest. Appointed to the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts by Governor Tom Corbett in 2014, Parks was appointed Chair of the Council by Governor Tom Wolf in December, 2016.
ArtsQuest’s mission is building community through the arts, working towards this goal by offering arts, cultural and education programs every day of the year, while serving more than 1.5 million people annually.
Mr. Parks is the principal founder of Musikfest, a 10-day music festival presented by ArtsQuest that features more than 500 live musical performances on 15 stages each August. With more than one million attending, the event is one of the largest music festivals in the United States.
Under Mr. Parks leadership ArtsQuest developed two cultural campuses in Bethlehem: Banana Factory Arts Education Center and SteelStacks, the later consisting of 10 acres and five buildings in the shadow of the iconic Bethlehem Steel Blast Furnaces. From these campuses ArtsQuest offers more than 2,200 programs annually including art classes and camps; artists in residence programs in area schools; after-school programs; and art exhibits in five gallery spaces. It also runs a visitor center offering tours of the former Bethlehem Steel plant; a two-screen art cinema featuring independent, documentary, foreign and curated film series; hundreds of music concerts, many of which are free to the community; dozens of free family programs; and a variety of programs that serve the community in unique ways such as becoming an official FIFA viewing site for the 2015 Women’s World Cup and the 2014 Men’s World Cup.
Mr. Parks is an advocate and frequent speaker on community development and placemaking through arts and culture.