Easton’s Karl Stirner Arts Trail wants to expand with new art and part-time curator

From concerts in Scott Park to colorful new murals enveloping downtown buildings, Easton is going through an art renaissance, and the group that oversees the Karl Stirner Arts Trail hopes to keep it going with a new strategic plan that includes creating a $3 million endowment and hiring a part-time curator to bring in new artwork.

Jim Toia, chairman of the Karl Stirner Board of Governance, presented the plan to City Council last week. The 10-member board oversees The Karl Stirner Arts Trail, a 2.5-mile trail that meanders along Bushkill Creek, connecting the old Simon Silk Mill on 13th Street to Third Street at the base of the stone stairs leading to Lafayette College. The trail is named for Easton sculptor Karl Stirner and decorated with his work and that of local artists.

Last year, The Karl Stirner Arts Trail was granted nonprofit status.

Currently, the arts trail budget is “nonexistent,” and the board has to rely on volunteers, grants and fund-raising, Toia said. The new strategic plan proposes establishing an endowment of at least $3 million plus fundraising for specific installations from well-known artists.

A $3 million endowment would allow for an annual operating budget of $160,000. Of that money, $50,000 annually would go toward the services of a part-time curator. The rest would be used for sculpture transportation, installation and maintenance; trail improvements; support for permanent and temporary works, and promotional materials, according to Toia’s presentation.

An advisory council has been created to guide the board on how to implement its strategic plan, said Monica Seligmann, chairperson of the Friends of Karl Stirner Arts Trail, a group of volunteers who assist with trail cleanups and other events.

The advisory council met for the first time last Tuesday, Seligmann said. It includes Tom Moran, the chief curator of Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton Township,…

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