Arts Park, Allentown

About RTA

Quick Facts

About the Project


Read the press release for Rise Together Allentown (PDF file)


Exciting New Project Engages the Allentown Community

Allentown, PA –

The Allentown Art Museum is pleased to announce “Rise Together Allentown”, a

collaborative site-specific and community based sculptural project with artist Charlie

Brouwer. This project will engage the greater Allentown community by asking them to

lend their ladders to make a large-scale, temporary installation to be built in the Arts

Park, located at Fifth and Linden Streets in Allentown, across from the art museum.


Everyone (individuals, families, businesses, schools, churches, organizations)

will be invited to participate. Brouwer hopes to borrow many ordinary real ladders of all

sizes, but stepstools, toy ladders, and creative ladders made of any material in any size

will also be welcome. Lenders may personalize, or decorate their ladders and they may

lend them in the name of someone or something they wish to memorialize. In the artistʼs

words, “Each ladder represents the hopes and dreams of a part of the community, but

when they are all connected, supporting and being supported by each other, they will be

able to rise together to create a metaphor for community."


Each ladder will be recorded and tagged, and its lender will be added to the “List

of Ladder Lenders” on the project website – www.risetogetherallentown.org, and on a

sign in the Arts Park. All ladders will be returned after the month-long exhibition, but if

owners do not want theirs returned, they will be donated to Habitat for Humanity of the

Lehigh Valley for resale.


The projectʼs goal is to include hundreds of ladders from as many people and

parts of the greater Allentown community as possible so the metaphor of a true

community rising together will be complete. The artist regards the entire project - from

informing and engaging the public, to borrowing ladders, to building the sculpture in

September and returning the ladders in early October - to be the artwork. “The beauty”,

he says, “will be in the participation, cooperation, and community togetherness.


The Allentown Art Museum will begin collecting ladders starting September 2nd

and construction of the sculpture will begin the following week. A celebration will be held

when the last ladder is added on September 13th. Visitors will be able to walk into and

around the installation, read the names of lenders on the tags, and find their own ladder

within the sculpture.


Ladders can be dropped off in the designated area in the Allentown Art Museum

visitor parking lot, located behind the building on the corner of Penn and Linden Streets.

Drop off times are weekdays 9am-5pm, 11am-4pm Saturday, and 12-4pm on Sunday, or

you can call (540) 250-2966 and arrange for pickup within a 10-mile radius. All ladders

will be returned the week of October 13th following the culmination of the project. If you

have questions or would like to get involved with the project, please contact the

Allentown Art Museum at (610) 432-4333 ext. 127 or email



Visiting artist Charlie Brouwer earned his MA in painting and MFA in sculpture from

Western Michigan University. He was a professor of art from 1987-2008 at Radford

University in Virginia. Since retiring from teaching, Charlie has dedicated himself to

creating and exhibiting his own artwork. He has completed similar ladder installations in

communities around the country including Atlanta, St. Louis, Roanoke, and Wilmington,

NC. Information and images of all his projects can be seen at www.risetogether.info