What is Festival UnBound?

Festival UnBound is a 5-day hyper-local, arts-infused community celebration and conversation for those who call the Lehigh Valley home.

Its mission is to engage our diverse community–through art and civic dialogue–in the radical act of envisioning our future together.


In 1998, after an almost 150 year history building this nation, Bethlehem Steel finally shut down steel making here in Bethlehem. It was a traumatic event, and Touchstone, to help the community work its way through it, created and assembled several works of art and cultural projects into a festival called Steel Festival: The Art of an Industry.

In October 2019, twenty years after that extraordinary event, we began to explore questions of a different and perhaps more daunting nature. Who are we, now that the Steel is gone? What are the challenges ahead, and what are the values that will hold the community together as we face the task of shaping our future? Out of these questions came our first year of Festival UnBound, a collection of arts and community dialogue around concerns of diversity, sustainability, health, youth leadership, and interconnectedness. You can recap more of the 2019 festival here.

In an extraordinary 2020, the festival resumed, with performances distanced outdoors and live-streamed online, continuing the discussion and bringing audiences together in a time when loneliness and isolation were the norm. In 2021, with COVID safety measures in place, we welcomed guest artists from across the U.S. and abroad, as well as new and longtime local partners, to dig deeper into the questions at hand.

Now, in its fourth year, Festival UnBound continues to change what it means to bring a community together and innovate new ideas to move us all in the right direction.



National Endowment for the Arts

Air Products Foundation
Community Action Development Bethlehem
Just Born Quality Confections
Lehigh Valley Community Foundation
Pennsylvania Council of the Arts
The Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation

Amaranth Foundation
Beall Fowler
Keystone Savings Foundation
A grant from a donor advised fund of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation
Lehigh University Africana Studies (NEH)
TD Charitable Foundation
WDIY 88.1 FM, Lehigh Valley Public Radio

Martin Guitar Charitable Foundation

Mike & Elaine Ackerman
Astound Broadband powered by RCN
Hank & Joanne Barnette
Alvin H. Butz, Inc.
A grant from the Cinquino Community Fund of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation
Comfort Suites Bethlehem
Crayola, LLC
Bekah Eichelberger
Embassy Bank
Fig Lehigh Valley
Good Shepherd Rehabilitation
Highmark Blue Shield
Interfaith Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley Conference of Churches
Kraft Hillman Family
Charlie & Ruth Marcon
Chad & Lynne Paul
SWBR, Inc.
Rich & Maria Thulin
Tri Outdoor
UGI Utilities, Inc.
Working Dog Press
Ron & Sharon Yoshida

Kevin & Emma Ackerman
Mark & Roses Ackerman
Bethlehem Interfaith Group
Wendy Borst
Julie Bratton
Brandon Brinson & Jess Wismer
Matthew Budd
Victor & Deb Chong
Nancy Christensen
Alex Clare
Louis Consiglio
Alischer Cottrill
Peter Crownfield
Alison DelRe
Todd Dietrich
Ted & Cindi Egging
Chris Forsthoefel
Kathy Fox
Fox Optical
Edward J. Gallagher
Bill & Bridget George
Andrew Henry
Lynn Hill
Cora Hook
Rebecca Johnstone
Tahya Keenan
Lisa Koch
Ramona LaBarre
The Lanning O’Donnell Family
Jenny Lim
Amy Lippincott
Elizabeth Lischner
Rebecca Louden
Janis Marsh
Jutta Marzillier
Daniel McAuliffe
Bonnie Norton
Janice Ostock
Scott Page
Bob & Esther Peruzzi
Katie Phykitt
Kim Plyler
Santiago Rivera & Margarita Gonzalez-Rivera
Roy Schreffler
Joe & Barbara Scull
Dave & Jeanne Shook
Abbie Slaman
The Sobrinkski Family
Don Sodo
St. John’s Windish Evangelical Lutheran Church
Ernie T. & Jessica Stiegler
Donna Taggart
Clint & Sonja Walker
Steven & Silagh White
Bonnie Winfield
Stanley & Judy Woloff

Support received after 9/15 is not listed but greatly appreciated.