I returned to Erie in September 2018 to steer the cost at Erie Arts & Tradition, the regional arts council serving northwestern Pennsylvania and its artistic and cultural sector. Since then, one in all my speaking factors has been to focus on what Erie has to supply because it pertains to the humanities, leisure and recreation (AER). I’m assured in making the declare that per capita there could also be extra AER establishments, amenities, points of interest and occasions in our metropolis than wherever else in america.
Skeptical? Identify one other metropolis that has a inhabitants of roughly 100,000 that additionally has an artwork museum, a youngsters’s museum, a maritime museum, a historical past museum, a philharmonic, a 400-plus capability playhouse, a 2,000-plus capability historic performing arts heart, a 9,000-plus capability enviornment, a conference heart and so many community-centered heritage festivals and reside occasions all through the summer season that our calendar of actions overflows. That is all compounded whenever you take into additional consideration the menu of choices for participating with the performing arts, whether or not by way of small and midsized organizations or packages delivered by native universities and faculties.
Our neighborhood’s relationship with AER establishments, amenities, facilities and occasions has been drastically totally different in 2020 and 2021 than in previous years. Out of an abundance of warning, and to adjust to state rules, our favourite establishments have been closed, phases have been darkish and occasions have been cancelled. This has had a direct and extreme affect on the nonprofit organizations, small companies, employees members and particular person artists who work to ship artistic and cultural experiences that add taste to our area and contribute to our high quality of life.
We’re calculating the affect that the pandemic has had on our sector, and thus Erie’s native financial system. This effort has began with surveying Erie Arts & Tradition’s 5 Cultural Service Companions: the Erie Philharmonic, the Erie Playhouse, the Expertise Kids’s Museum, the Flagship Niagara League and the Hagen Historical past Heart. Between March and December 2020, these 5 organizations recorded a income loss totaling $2,191,676. To outlive, they accessed traces of credit score totaling $1,465,092. We all know that small and midsized organizations have equally suffered substantial monetary losses.
The pandemic has additionally been devastating to artists who reside and work in Erie — artists who depend on reside occasions, festivals and educating alternatives as a part of their annual earned earnings. In 2020, Erie Arts & Tradition launched an Emergency Financial Assistance Fund for artistic and cultural professionals. Since launching the grant program, we’ve awarded greater than $45,000 in funding to help 124 requests for help, with awarded funds getting used to cowl fundamental dwelling bills, similar to hire and groceries.
Our AER property and actions create and reinforce emotional bonds between folks and place. They supply the town and county with a definite comparative and aggressive benefit when working to draw new residents, guests or investments. The worth derived from the artistic and cultural sector isn’t one thing that must be undervalued as we each rebound from the pandemic and work to holistically develop in a fashion that’s equitable and inclusive.
When you worth the artistic and cultural sector and what it supplies within the type of the humanities, leisure and recreation, I ask that you just please contemplate exhibiting sturdy help this summer season to the organizations, companies and people that comprise the sector. This could come within the type of buying tickets to occasions, making unrestricted donations to help the organizations whose missions you align with or buying the art work of an Erie-based artist. This could additionally come within the type of reaching out to your sphere of affect and asking that they too please contemplate supporting the sector. Sturdy help now will assist make sure that our sector is ready to present future generations with alternatives to collect collectively and share enriched experiences.
Patrick Fisher is the manager director of Erie Arts & Tradition. Contact him by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.