Lehigh University offers many courses in the Baker Institute for Entrepreneurialism, Creativity and Innovation that give students an opportunity to learn from other entrepreneurs in business and in society. One course offered in the spring is ENT 198: Art Entrepreneurship Community. In this course, students explore the dynamic relationship between art(ist), producer (public, private, single & multiple) and audience. A significant part of their learning is through applying their own talents to the annual Spring on Fourth festival. Through this practicum, students have seen the impact of their work in terms of relationship building between the South Bethlehem business community and the campus.
They have also been given a great opportunity to see how a festival impacts local businesses. These local businesses are the backbone of the local economy; and students are learning all of their owners by name - and not by name tag. They have become very familiar with the assets of the community around their campus - and are coming to understand the value and shared responsibility of supporting a local economy through events and festivals that raise the quality of life for all citizens who live and work in the same zip code.
The following series is written by the students of ENT 198 - Spring 2013.
Last month I ventured to Cleo’s Silversmith Studio & Gallery on Third Street for the first time in order to investigate what the business was all about. When you enter the store, you are submerged into a nature inspired open space decorated with charming displays of handmade wooden and glass pieces, candles and soaps, home décor, and paintings. Then I noticed that towards the back left side of the store were many cases of jewelry. As I got closer, I began to recognize the very same pieces that I mentioned previously and became overrun with excitement and nostalgia. The jewelry that I grew up with laid in front of me behind a thin layer of glass and had been a few streets away from me during the past four years I’ve spent at Lehigh. It goes to show that sometimes you must escape your little bubble of everyday life because you never know what lovely things you may find right around the corner.
I proceeded to talk to the young lady at the cashier’s register and asked her for permission to take some photos and ask her a few questions about the store. I found out that she was the store owner’s daughter, Chelsea. Not too much later her mother, Cleo, came out from the gallery to join the conversation. After learning about the official history of the family business, their commitment to the Bethlehem community, and the love and vigor that they put into their business, I immediately grew very fond of and had a great appreciation for their small enterprise. My brothers and I always joke that someday we will become entrepreneurs and have our own family business. I only hope that we can emulate in our endeavors the positive energy that I felt that Friday afternoon when I visited Cleo’s.
Lehigh University, class of 2013