Bizzarro, Merski, Harkins: Nearly $10,000 in pandemic relief to local arts and cultural organizations

ERIE, July 6 – Five local organizations dedicated to arts, culture and behavioral health will receive $9,650 in CARES Act funding to help stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today.

The Erie lawmakers said the organizations – the Erie Philharmonic, the Erie Playhouse, the Erie Art Museum, Erie Arts & Culture and Stairways Behavioral Health – will each receive $1,930.

“These grants will help support the arts in our community and ensure they maintain their position as economic drivers,” Bizzarro said. “The arts are a vital part of our state, and many Pennsylvanians go on to play a role in the industry globally. It’s key that we make sure our arts organizations have the support necessary to bounce back from this pandemic and continue to create and inspire.”

Merski said, “The arts enrich our Erie community in so many ways. They bring us together across cultural lines through shared enjoyment of performances, and they encourage expression of diverse stories. They inspire young minds, and they stimulate economic growth by drawing other businesses and commercial activity to the area. Our arts, cultural and behavioral health organizations have been hit hard by the pandemic, and this funding will help provide support they need to continue operating.”

Harkins said, “Arts and cultural institutions create jobs that help power our local economy, and because of their wide appeal, they also help drive tourism activity, which is a great complement to Erie’s existing natural attractions. What’s more, arts audiences spend additional dollars on event-related activities, like dining out. We want to do all we can to help the arts come back stronger than ever, and this funding is a great start.”

Pennsylvania arts organizations received a total of $2.3 million in pandemic relief. Grants were awarded through the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

More information about the funding is available