Allentown native, Matt Halm brings community together through his art. Learn more about the artist behind the captivating mural that is displayed adjacent to the construction site of the future home for Da Vinci Science Center at PPL Pavilion
What does community mean to you? .
Growing up in a large, loving family has shaped my sense of community. It is about compassion and respect and being willing to lend a helping hand. It is about finding common ground with those around us and celebrating our diversity.
Did you always know you wanted to become an artist?
My grandmother Christine was a painter and student of Walter Baum, so art was always revered in my family. For as long as I can remember I enjoyed drawing and creating, but until my time at the Arts Academy at William Allen HS, I never thought it was possible to make it a career. It led me to study illustration at Syracuse University and eventually pursue public art.
What is your typical day like?
As a full-time artist, there really isn’t a “typical” day. Each new project has unique challenges. I could be working with students, designing on a computer, or painting 50 feet in the air. Any day that I can spend time with my amazing wife Laura, do something creative, is a good day.
What are some of the most interesting projects you have overseen?
One of my favorite projects involved working with the Creative Abilities Group (an arts group centered on young adults with autism) to create murals for the Lehigh Valley Hospital Allentown. It was amazing to work with these artists and see the joy that they got from creating artwork and collaborating. We made three 5ft. x 5ft. mural panels with themes like friendship, creativity, and compassion. The murals are permanently displayed in the main hallway of the LV Hospital on 17th St. In Allentown.
What is most challenging about your work?
As with most small businesses, the biggest challenge is to continue to find opportunities to apply your craft.
As an artist, what do you think of the concept of integrating Arts into STEM to create STEAM?
There is a misconception that creative fields exist separately from other academic studies. Almost all creative pursuits have elements of science, math, technology, etc. Specifically in the mural world, artists are solving creative and logistical challenges with elements of STEM. On any given project, an artist may use geometry (in visual concepts), mathematics (spatial relationships), measurement (defining the physical space), chemistry (identifying the appropriate materials for the surface and environment), technology (utilizing specific equipment such as an aerial lift, projection, or paint sprayer), among many more. The arts are about creative problem solving, which is a common thread with all fields of STEAM education.
What is your favorite thing to do when you are off the clock?
My wife Laura and I enjoy traveling and spending time with family. I also enjoy playing music and juggling.
What does it mean to you to be an Allentown native who is so involved in the community?
I am so grateful to be a part of the revitalization of Allentown. Growing up here, I have seen the evolution of this place and I am honored for the opportunities to help this community. It’s very rewarding to bring some beauty to life and make meaningful and positive public art.
Learn more about Matt Halm’s Da Vinci mural project.