I returned to Erie in September 2018 to steer the cost at Erie Arts & Tradition, the regional arts council serving northwestern Pennsylvania and its inventive and cultural sector. Since then, considered one of my speaking factors has been to spotlight 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 the US.
Skeptical? Title one other metropolis that has a inhabitants of roughly 100,000 that additionally has an artwork museum, a kids’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 area, a conference heart and so many community-centered heritage festivals and reside occasions all through the summer time that our calendar of actions overflows. That is all compounded once 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 schools.
Our neighborhood’s relationship with AER establishments, amenities, facilities and occasions has been drastically completely 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, levels have been darkish and occasions have been cancelled. This has had a direct and extreme influence on the nonprofit organizations, small companies, workers members and particular person artists who work to ship inventive and cultural experiences that add taste to our area and contribute to our high quality of life.
We’re calculating the influence 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 instructing alternatives as a part of their annual earned earnings. In 2020, Erie Arts & Tradition launched an Emergency Financial Assistance Fund for inventive and cultural professionals. Since launching the grant program, we’ve got awarded greater than $45,000 in funding to assist 124 requests for help, with awarded funds getting used to cowl fundamental dwelling bills, equivalent to lease and groceries.
Our AER property and actions create and reinforce emotional bonds between individuals 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 inventive and cultural sector isn’t one thing that needs to be undervalued as we each rebound from the pandemic and work to holistically develop in a way that’s equitable and inclusive.
When you worth the inventive and cultural sector and what it supplies within the type of the humanities, leisure and recreation, I ask that you simply please contemplate exhibiting robust assist this summer time to the organizations, companies and people that comprise the sector. This will come within the type of buying tickets to occasions, making unrestricted donations to assist the organizations whose missions you align with or buying the paintings of an Erie-based artist. This will additionally come within the type of reaching out to your sphere of affect and asking that they too please contemplate supporting the sector. Sturdy assist now will assist make sure that our sector is ready to present future generations with alternatives to assemble collectively and share enriched experiences.
Patrick Fisher is the chief director of Erie Arts & Tradition. Contact him by e-mail at email@example.com.