A Community Space for Screen on the Green

As a student at Lehigh, I am at Zoellner Arts Center a lot. I sit on its lawn while I read, do homework, or take a much needed break from either of those. Zoellner itself is a quiet refuge for many Lehigh students, who retreat to the third floor for the private music rooms to play piano or hide from various responsibilities. Still, it’s an academic building, and it’s a strange feeling to be inside for anything other than something that’s school related. 

But that’s just what happened on June 28th, 2019, when I went to Screen on the Green to watch Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Due to some rapidly changing and frankly annoying weather, the movie was moved inside to the Diamond Theatre in Zoellner, rather than on the Rauch/Zoellner lawn. Usually, when the weather cooperates, there will be lawn games, picnic blankets, and a starry sky to accompany the movie. 

I got to Zoellner 30 minutes early, for nothing else other than needing to find parking (and finding it much faster than I anticipated), and saw some organizers of the event frantically correcting the location of the film on the chalkboard on the sidewalk outside of Zoellner. I was thanked for coming, encouraged to go inside and find the free popcorn and water, and told to grab a seat. 

Since it had been torrentially raining for the past four hours, I didn’t anticipate many people to come to the Screen on the Green. Of course, I was wrong. 

The inflatable screen was centered on the stage, and Harry Potter theme music had been playing in the theatre since I had taken a seat at 8 p.m. Kids were all over the theatre, asking questions about Harry Potter, or in the case of the family in front of me, playing a game of peekaboo. 

Missy Hartney of Southside Arts District took to the stage promptly at 8:30 p.m., explaining to this audience of all ages that Screen on the Green is a reminder to the Bethlehem community that “Zoellner Arts Center is open to all of us,” that Lehigh is a space that is meant to be shared. She sat down as the movie started, and the Harry Potter theme song that was the soundtrack of my childhood filled the same stage where I had watched Spring Awakening the semester before. Sure, it was a strange mix of experiences, but I was proud to see that my university was opening its doors to the South Bethlehem community. 

Zoellner Arts Center has an open catalogue of events for the entire year. You can check it out here; all events are open to the community. 

The next Screen on the Green will be July 26th at the Zoellner Arts Center Lawn, and the movie being shown is “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Come watch a free movie, enjoy some snacks, and spend some quality time with your Bethlehem neighbors. Cross your fingers for some good weather, and we might just be able to watch this movie under the stars. I’ll see you there!  

Feature photo credit: Sara Boyd

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