November 7 – 12, 2019
I don’t know when Karl Stirner first came to Easton. I do know that he moved here in 1983. He purchased an old sewing factory with warehouse space at 230 Ferry Street where he created his metal sculptures, opened his art gallery, and carved out his living space overlooking the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers. He also provided studio and commercial space to others with a creative bent. This old industrial building, eventually came to be known as the Easton Arts Building. This is where Stirner’s “Easton Experiment” began in the 1980s. Karl Stirner would dedicate the rest of his life to promoting and revitalizing the arts scene in Easton.
Karl Stirner was born in Bad Wildbad, Germany on November 14, 1923. Four years later, his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He trained as a mechanical engineer and worked as an industrial designer before joining the Army during WWII. After the war, back in Pennsylvania, Stirner ran his own metal working shop.
Despite having little formal education and no real artistic background, but possessing incredible artistic talent, Stirner taught at the Tyler School of Art, Moore College of Art and Design, Swathmore College, and Temple University. His reputation and recognition as a metal sculptor grew. After a short stint as a gallery owner in New York City, he came to Easton, Pennsylvania. He died here on February 18, 2016.
And today, the City of Easton honors him with the Karl Stirner Arts Trail.
Next, we’ll explore Downtown Easton.