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Jeffrey A. Parks is the President and Chief Quest Officer of ArtsQuest, a nonprofit community-based arts organization in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Mr. Parks has been active in the development of arts districts through creative placemaking and arts programming since 1984. ArtsQuest is one of the largest arts organizations in Pennsylvania with a full time staff of 50, over 2,500 volunteers and an annual budget of $17,000,000. The dual mission of the organization is to offer access to the arts and to assist in economic revitalization through arts programming. ArtsQuest offers arts, cultural and education programs every day of the year.
Mr. Parks is the principal founder of Musikfest, a 10-day music festival that features more than 300 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.
In addition to Musikfest, ArtsQuest presents Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem. Patterned after German Christmas markets this event features juried crafts, retail gifts, entertainment, specialty foods, and children=s activities. Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem attracts more than 60,000 visitors per year and contributes to the Christmas tourism program in the region.
In January 1998 ArtsQuest opened the Banana Factory community arts and cultural center, which presents numerous programs in the visual arts. Located in a former banana distribution warehouse,. the Banana Factory features studios for 34 visual artists, three exhibit spaces, a community room, and classrooms for hot glass, glass slumping, ceramics, digital and traditional photography, jewelry, drawing, painting and sculpture.
In April 2011, ArtsQuest opened the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, a contemporary performing arts center presenting world-class live music concerts, as well as independent and foreign films, stand-up and improv comedy by national and regional comedians, dance, an art gallery and art installations. The SteelStacks campus operated by ArtsQuest also includes the Levitt Pavilion, an outdoor music venue with lawn seating for 2,500; the Air Products Town Square (an outdoor venue adjacent to the ArtsQuest Center that features a stage for live performances) the Bethlehem Visitor Center; and PNC Plaza, which is home to Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem, the Musikfest Sands Steel Stage and Oktoberfest at SteelStacks.
Mr. Parks is a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, an organization that serves performing arts organizations, artists and agents throughout the United States and Canada. He has served on the Board of Directors of Discover Lehigh Valley (tourism promotion agency), and numerous other community organizations. Mr. Parks is a frequent speaker on the topics of arts and community revitalization, economic development and leadership.
Mr. Parks graduated from Lehigh University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He resides in Bethlehem with his wife, Susan.