A Day Along the Karl Stirner Arts Trail, Easton PA

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.

Karl Stirner created the Arch that greets visitor's to KSAT.
Karl Stirner created the Arch that greets visitor’s to KSAT.
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The KSAT is 1.75 miles long, following the the Bushkill Creek, from Downtown Easton to SILK.
This sycamore tree has been dated to 1752, the year Easton was founded.
This sycamore tree has been dated to 1752, the year Easton was founded.
It is a very large tree!
It is a very large tree!
Rachel Hayes produces bright-colored textile installations.
Rachel Hayes produces bright-colored textile installations.
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Lafayette College and the school children of Easton collaborated in the design and execution of “Musical Path.” Using any twig, the straight chimes will play Fur Elise by Beethoven as demonstrated by Jim Toia, Director of Community Based Teaching at Lafayette College and the Chairman of the KSAT Board of Directors.
The curved chimes play Fur Easton by John Gossick.
The curved chimes play Fur Easton by John Gossick.
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The day we walked the trail, there were many children waiting their turn to play! This is a popular exhibit!
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Grace Gate by Willie Cole provides access to the beautiful Easton Cemetery (well-worth a visit). The gate is an abstract self-portrait of the artist with hands in prayer.
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“Late Bronze Root” by Steve Tobin. Tobin earned his artistic reputation working with glass (1st foreigner invited to operate a studio in Murano, Italy.) In 1994 he began working in bronze. Eleven Tobin Sculptures were donated to KSAT by George Ball.
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Water Way by Paul Deery, an interactive earthwork, was the People’s Choice winner of the 2015 Possible Realities Two exhibition.
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This mimics the flow of the Bushkill Creek. I saw it as a little detour from the trail!

Next, we’ll explore Downtown Easton.

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