• Petitioned John Federico
  • Responded

This petition was delivered to:

Pittsburgh Opera Director of Development
John Federico
See response

Rescind the Tom and Susan Corbett Lifetime Achievement Award.

    1. Petition by

      Ron Gaydos

      Pittsburgh, PA

Tom Corbett has slashed the budget for education and the arts since taking office while simultaneously making  corporate tax cuts of $800 million .

Pittsburgh Opera's press release on the award, however, states "Governor Corbett will be honored for his early work as a teacher as well as his long-standing protection of the public interest as Pennsylvania Attorney General. Additionally, as Governor, he has recognized the economic, educational, and social value of the arts. Mrs. Corbett has been an accomplished producer and presenter of arts programs through the years, and, as First Lady, has championed greater participation in the arts in her role as Chair of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts."

Pittsburgh Opera officials may not be aware that Corbett's first two budgets were extremely damaging to the arts and education in Pennsylvania, cutting funding to the arts 10%, 10% to basic education funding, and funding to higher education 45% since taking office.

It is a slap in the face to all who appreciate the vital role the arts and education play in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and in the Pittsburgh region. Pittsburgh Opera's recognition of the Governor's destructive actions is embarrassing to the Pittsburgh community.

Recent signatures


    1. Shutting this site down on Saturday May 19 - POST ADVICE to PGH Opera

      Ron Gaydos
      Petition Organizer

      Dear all,

      I'm shutting down this petition site on Change.org on Saturday. Thank you all for your concern and spirit! 1,900 people signed this petition to express their concerns, over 200 went Saturday to call Tom Corbett on his unfair budget priorities, and the dialogue continues.

      Pittsburgh Opera has been reading posts and is hopefully learning from this experience.


      The link is below:

    2. Response to Development Director John Federico letter

      Ron Gaydos
      Petition Organizer

      As Mrs. Corbett has no power over the Pennsylvania budget, I, and the other nearly 1,800 signers of this petition may not have such strong objections to her recognition tonight.

      However, as you can see from budget figures yourself on the PA Department of Revenue's web site, the cuts are indeed grave. Yes there WAS money to make up for them, but one of Governor Corbett's first acts in office was to offer an $800,000,000 corporate tax cut to a constituency heavy on his largest campaign contributors. The cuts in education and therefore arts education as well as the arts in Pennsylvania, can be described, then, as nothing less than predatory.

      I and the other thousands - who so strongly object to Governor Corbett's recognition for deprivation of children - wish Pittsburgh Opera well. We hope you will make more sensitive decisions in Maecenas Galas in the future. If you have a chance to step outside tonight, you will find the festivities at least as interesting as what is inside.

    3. Decision-maker John Federico responds:

      John Federico

      Dear Ron Gaydos and the other signatories to this position.

      Pittsburgh Opera has held the Maecenas Benefit Gala to celebrate the end of the opera season and raise money to fund our productions and community programs for the last 28 ye...

    4. Reached 1,500 signatures
    5. Over 1,000 signers!

      Ron Gaydos
      Petition Organizer

      Just want you to know that even though it isn't likely that the award would be rescinded, people at Pittsburgh Opera has made everyone look up from what they are doing and think about the real motivations of Pittsburgh Opera's leadership, and that there may be a price to pay for pandering to a reactionary politician dedicated to the dismantling of our educational and cultural institutions.

    6. Reached 1,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Wendy Taylor CHICORA, PA
      • over 2 years ago

      Presenting thelifetime achievement award to these people will make a mockery of the PA Department of Education. This is completely ridiculous with the amount of schools being closed, teachers losing jobs and the students of Pennsylvania losing out on qualiy education.

    • Marlene Aron SAN FRANCISCO, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      As a former resident and educator in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and an adjunct instructor in painting, drawing and art history at Penn State University, as well as an artist who exhibited for over eight years in museums and galleries in Pittsburgh and throughout PA, I find it appalling that Tom Corbett should be honored for his contribution to the "social value of the art." When, in fact, he has slashed programs and the budget for the arts, showing no regard what-so-ever for the education of our young people. Shame on you for bestowing this honor on a man who in fact has cut money for the arts, as well as education. He does not deserve this honor.

    • Chrissy Reese PHILADELPHIA, PA
      • over 2 years ago

      I grew up in Pittsburgh and the arts were a huge part of my upbringing. In addition to being active in my school's marching band, concert band, orchestra and choral programs, I also spent years participating in the Children's Festival Chorus and the Civic Light Opera's educational programs. These programs not only kept me busy after school with positive activities (rather than drinking or discovering drugs, as many of my peers did), they also gave me a place to find friends with common interests -- a place to use my mind and my talents to become a better person. If Mr. Corbett has "recognized the economic, education and social value of the arts," then he should know that slashing these budgets is an absolutely terrible idea. Since he obviously does not, we, as the people he serves, need to set him straight!

    • Austin Davidheiser NEW KENSINGTON, PA
      • over 2 years ago

      Welll I guess the loss of two different state jobs teaching theater to high school and college students might do it, or perhaps it was the fact that between myself and my wife our family lost 75% of our income due to state budget cuts of this nature. No, I don't think a governor who finds tax breaks for fracking but slashes budgets for education or the arts needs to hanging any awards in his office.

    • Ashwin Iyengar PITTSBURGH, PA
      • over 2 years ago

      This is absolutely ridiculous. My school's music program is, over the next few years, probably going to be effectively slashed, SPECIFICALLY due to Corbett's tax cuts. Whoever is on the Pittsburgh Opera award committee is clearly engaging in political brown nosing and deserves no respect from the people who are trying to save our arts education programs.


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