Berks County Community Foundation awards $41K in grants to arts programs

A girl works on some street art during the Hamburg Arts & Crafts Festival and Car Show in May 2017.
A girl works on some street art during the Hamburg Arts & Crafts Festival and Car Show in May 2017. Submitted photo - Our Town Foundation

Berks County Community Foundation has awarded seven grants totaling $41,000 to bring arts programs, concerts, public art, workshops, and more to rural areas of the county.

This is the fourth annual round of funding through the Community Foundation’s Rural Arts Grant Program to bring the arts to outlying areas of Berks County where residents do not have ready access to offerings provided by the established arts community. Many of these artistic offerings take place in townships and boroughs that were identified in the Community Foundation’s Vital Signs reports as places where people were least likely to have experienced an art event in the previous year.

“Our local artists and performers are creating new ways to reach rural audiences, and those audiences have been appreciative of the effort,” said Heidi Williamson, the Community Foundation’s Vice President for Programs and Initiatives.

This year’s rural arts grants include:


$15,000 to The Hamburg Area Arts Alliance, a subsidiary of Our Town Foundation, to support public art in Hamburg. This is the fourth year in a row that a major part of the Rural Arts Grant Program funding went to support a significant art endeavor in Hamburg. These funds will be used for the installation of public art (murals, sculptures, mosaics, etc.); performances at the Hamburg Strand Theater and in the downtown business district; hosting and promoting exhibits of local visual art; “Meet the Artist” nights; and art classes, workshops, and art-related summer camps.

$6,000 to Reading Symphony Orchestra to perform Peter and the Wolf at Penn-Bernville Elementary School in the Tulpehocken Area School District, with Bethel Elementary School students also attending.

$5,000 to Reading Choral Society for “Summer Sings.” This is the third year of Rural Arts funding for this program, which provides choral music workshops throughout rural Berks County to give singers the opportunity to perform a variety of music with outstanding choral directors. The summer sings will be held at Robeson Lutheran Church, Route 10, Robeson Township; New Life Bible Fellowship Church, Route 73, Oley; and St. Thomas Church, Route 183. Bernville.

$4,825 to Clay on Main to set up arts tents at rural festivals. This is the fourth year of Rural Arts funding for this program, which sets up booths at local festivals where people can create and decorate their own pieces of art. In addition, in the winter, Clay on Main will bring fused glass workshops to rural communities.

$4,700 to Reading Pops Orchestra for side-by-side concerts in the Kutztown School District. A side-by-side concert allows Berks County students to practice, play, and perform with the Reading Pops musicians. The Rural Arts program previously funded such concerts in the Hamburg, Oley and Tulpehocken school districts.

$3,775 to the Foundation for the Reading Public Museum for its RPM ART-GO program. Museum educators will participate in the Oley Valley Community Fair to teach about museum offerings, present a hands-on learning activity and craft, and to inform teachers how they may apply for funds to bring their classrooms to the museum at no cost.

$1,700 to Opus One Berks Chamber Choir to perform a concert at Robeson Lutheran Church in Robeson Township.

Berks County Community Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that serves as a civic leader for our region by developing, managing and distributing funds to meet existing and emerging community needs. More information is available at