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Tell Gov. Wolf to restore funding to the PA Council on the Arts

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Dear Pennsylvanians: please tell Governor Wolf to reverse his decision to freeze grant funds for the PA Council on the Arts (PCA).

On April 27, Karl Blischke, Executive Director of PCA, sent the following communication to grant recipient organizations:

"All Pennsylvanians are experiencing the immense health, economic, and deeply personal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The unprecedented impact of this health emergency has resulted in a marked decrease in revenue, which the commonwealth is closely monitoring. Given the rapidly evolving changes in the commonwealth’s financial situation, we regrettably must advise you that this means the PCA can no longer guarantee completion of processing for current year grant awards.

While it is conceivable that the commonwealth will be able to process your grant award agreement at a later date this year, the outcome is highly uncertain, given the aforementioned circumstances."

These grants were already awarded to arts & culture nonprofits for the Commonwealth's current fiscal year. Furthermore, this year PCA switched to a reimbursement model, instead of sending a check as it would have in previous years. This means that many if not most grantee organizations have already incurred expenses and submitted them to PCA for reimbursement in the amount equaling their grant award, now without the prospect of recouping these expenses.

The revocation of awarded grant monies will have a devastating effect for small to midsize arts & culture nonprofits, which are already reeling from the effects of the COVID19 pandemic. These smaller organizations, despite their significant impact in communities all over PA, are very unlikely to have wealthy trustees or major donors who can offer them a lifeline at this time. The Commonwealth reneging on an already promised grant only compounds their financial woes when many streams of earned revenue have been made impossible by stay-at-home orders. It is no exaggeration to say this poses a question of survival for these arts & culture nonprofits.

We all understand that hard choices are being made at the federal, state, and municipal levels. But the arts are one of the most important things that people have turned to for comfort and reassurance in this time. Governor Wolf, please restore funds to PCA so that it may fulfill its awarded grants this year.

To view Stephan Salisbury's recent article on the matter, please visit https://www.inquirer.com/business/cultural-museums-arts-groups-wolf-grants-freeze-pennsylvania-20200430.html



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