Discover All Things Regional in Central PA’s art and culture scene. Join hosts Cary Burkett and Joe Ulrich as they make artistic discoveries throughout the midstate. From music and visual arts to theatre, museums, literature and more! Listen every Wednesday and Friday on witf 89.5 and 93.3 for features highlighting the best and brightest cultural happenings in the region.
Since witf’s Arts & Culture desk launched a year ago and started exploring the different arts-related activities throughout the region, its presence can be summed up by a single theme — “Art will find a way.”
In spite of economic difficulties and funding cutbacks, art institutions in the region have continued to find ways to present events. Not that it’s been easy. Totem Pole Playhouse outside Gettysburg had to launch a major “save the theater” campaign to keep its doors open.
“Arts and Economic Prosperity in the State of Pennsylvania,” a study released this year by Citizens for the Arts in PA, detailed the economic impact of the arts on communities. That report, along with advocacy by groups like the Arts and Education Initiative of EPLC and the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, helped encourage the formation of an Arts & Culture Caucus in the state Legislature.
Concerns continue that the arts in public schools are being cut. Yet, there are a few bright spots, such as the pilot program for the arts in Susquehanna Twp. School District that was developed with aid from Jump Street. And many educational outreach programs continue to be offered by arts groups, such as the York Symphony Orchestra’s summer camp for young composers, “My Opus Magnum.”
But the strongest evidence for optimism comes from the artists themselves. Shane Speal of West York, for example, makes guitars out of cigar boxes and found objects. William Wolfgang and Jesse Rupp of Dover produce Shakespeare plays in a barn and their own original musicals as part of Orangemite Studios. Whether it’s Harrisburg violinist Odin Rathnam’s launching of a new “Classical Passion” concert series or York artist Rebecca Quattrone’s collaborative “Oz” photography exhibit, artists will pursue their art. That’s why even in a downturned economy, conductor Simon Andrews of Lancaster managed to pull together the forces needed to perform the monumental “War Requiem” of Benjamin Britten as well.
It’s because the arts matter. And art will find a way.
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