HARRISBURG, PA − April 26, 2023 − Today, Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Arts and Culture Caucus gathered in the Capitol Rotunda to celebrate “Arts Advocacy Day” along with Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania, a nonprofit advocacy group.
The four co-chairs of the caucus – Senator Jay Costa, Senator Pat Stefano, Representative R. Lee James, and Representative Joe Ciresi – joined advocates to praise the artists who contribute their talents to their communities, and called for continued investments in arts and culture in order to boost local economies, tourism, and downtown revitalization.
“Art is a communication tool that humans have used for centuries, connecting us to one another,” said Senator Pat Stefano. “People are instinctively drawn to beautiful things because we crave the release that’s triggered when we see or hear something that resonates with us. That in its simplest form is connection.”
“We all deserve to live in communities full of artists and art,” said Senator Jay Costa. “I am a proud patron of the arts and I was proud to join with advocates today to celebrate Pennsylvania’s contribution to the arts. I look forward to working with this bipartisan, bicameral caucus as we continue supporting a thriving arts hub in our beautiful commonwealth.”
The press conference included performances by Harrisburg poet Rick Kearns, Poetry Out Loud State Champion Peachy Lee, and the Altoona Area High School Jazz Ensemble.
“The Arts matter in PA,” said Kelley Gibson, Board Chair for Citizens for the Arts advocacy group. “Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania strongly believes that it is time for Pennsylvania to take the lead in supporting Arts and Culture. PA’s creative sector added more than $28.6 BILLION to the commonwealth’s economy in 2021, and these creative jobs and businesses are in every county in our community. The dance classes, local music festivals, and hands-on arts experiences that PA citizens experience are supported by these critical funds.”
Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania praised Governor Josh Shapiro for a 2023-24 fiscal budget that includes an increase to the Grants to the Arts line item, administered by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, for the first time since the 2015-2016 budget. The advocacy group also supports several other initiatives such as:
- The Pennsylvania Arts Education Association in support of their advocating for the need to update the Arts & Humanities standards.
- The Pennsylvania State Task Force for Music Therapy in supporting Professional Licensure of Music Therapy.
- Funding to support the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.