Arts in Education Manager (AIE), Allentown Art Museum
Although life, career, and family have pulled her away at times, Amanda Lovell just can’t stay away from the Lehigh Valley – and she doesn’t want to.
Born in Allentown’s Sacred Heart Hospital, Amanda spent the first 12 years of her life in the Lehigh Valley but had to leave when her father’s career took the family to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Despite their desert relocation, the Lehigh Valley was always on their minds, she said.
“There was always this kind of longing for the Lehigh Valley. We all really missed it as a family, so we ended up moving back,” Amanda explained.
Over the next few years, Amanda left the Lehigh Valley several times. She attended college in Philadelphia and London and eventually took a job in New York City, but all the while, Lehigh Valley was calling her home.
“Honestly, in all those places that I’ve lived and worked, my roots are here in the Lehigh Valley. This is where I feel the most at home and at peace,” Amanda said.
Though she kept her job in New York City, Amanda answered the call and came back to the Lehigh Valley but commuted. For the next 10 years, her route took her over the Pennsylvania border and into New Jersey and eventually into New York.
Each day she left the city and made the drive back home, and each day she had a moment when she would breathe better and feel the effects of the day slip away.
“There’s a point…when the entire landscape changes and it just opens up into these rolling hills and, I kid you not, every single time, every day on that commute when I would hit that point, I would breathe differently. I’d be like “Oh my gosh, I came home, I’m in the Lehigh Valley,” she said, “So that was always a really key part of my day that I would always remember when I was doing that commute.”
After a time commuting began to wear on Amanda so she began an extensive job search to find a position where she could fulfill her career goals and stay close to home. Amanda’s dream finally came true about a year-and-a-half ago when she was hired by the Allentown Art Museum as the Arts in Education Manager.
“I’m just really thankful that I found the Allentown Art Museum because it’s a great place for art and design and to continue those conversations in that part of my career that I was doing in New York City,” Amanda said. “I feel like I can really connect and contribute here, to the community and to education. I’m really passionate about connecting people to the arts in general, removing those barriers of appreciation to the art.”
These days, the mother of three said she has no plans to leave the Lehigh Valley and all that time commuting is done. The Lehigh Valley’s schools and communities offer everything she needs.
“There is so much culture and so many opportunities to connect with culture in the arts here, but also you’re close enough to New York City and Philadelphia. I just think it’s the best of all worlds here, really. You have the farmland. You have the culture and the arts, and it’s a really great place to raise a family,” Amanda said.