Berks County Community Foundation has awarded nine grants totaling $66,812 to bring plays, an art camp, a film premiere, concerts, and more to rural areas of the county.
This is the fifth annual round of funding through the Community Foundation’s Rural Arts Grant Program.
Over the five years, each round of funding averaged about $50,000 in grants for a total of about $250,000. There is a sister program with a similar funding amount that brings the arts to Penn Street in Reading.
Many of the rural artistic offerings take place in townships and boroughs 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:
• $15,060 to Yocum Institute for Arts Education for a dozen performances of Charlotte’s Web at rural elementary schools.
• $14,750 to Hamburg Area Arts Alliance, a subsidiary of Our Town Foundation, to support public art in Hamburg. This grant will fund performances, a public art installation, and a new summer art camp for kids. Funding for a significant artistic endeavor in Hamburg has been part of all of the five annual rounds of Rural Arts Grants.
• $10,000 to Amazing Berks to support the filming of Dust Nuggets in rural Berks County with a film premiere at The Hamburg Strand.
• $9,702 to Clay on Main for arts activities – such as ceramics, print-making, felting and button-making – at area festivals and at Berks Encore senior centers in rural municipalities.
• $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. This is the second year in a row for this performance.
• $3,300 to Ringgold Band for a spring or summer concert at the Hamburg Band Shell.
• $3,000 to Reading Choral Society for the “Summer Sings!” program in rural areas.
• $3,000 to Berks Youth Chorus for an afterschool elementary choral program at Perry Elementary School in the Hamburg Area School District.
• $2,000 to Reading Pops Orchestra for a side-by-side concert at Oley Valley High School. A side-by-side concert allows students to practice, play, and perform with the Reading Pops musicians. The Rural Arts Program previously funded such concerts in the Hamburg, Kutztown, Oley and Tulpehocken school districts.