Monday, April 5, 2010

York hopes Governor's Arts Awards event leads to big changes

The celebration almost was canceled. But on Thursday, York is the center of the Pennsylvania arts world

Daily Record/Sunday News

At 12:30 p.m. Aug. 14, music blared from speakers on Continental Square in York.
Traffic and business stopped. People watched about 100 dancers perform in the street.
After the song came the message: York would host the 2009 Governor's Awards for the Arts.
Judge Marjorie Rendell had made the announcement months earlier, and the flash mob built community interest.
But a few hours later, Gayle Cluck, arts in education director at the Cultural Alliance, received a phone call. The governor's awards, originally scheduled for Oct. 1, were indefinitely postponed.
The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts -- the state organization that selects the host city and nominees, produces the ceremony and covers 20 percent of the cost -- had other issues to deal with. The state budget impasse forced it to cut back its staff and, at one point during negotiations, the council itself faced elimination.Without the council, the governor's awards would end.The bad news struck York hard, Cluck said.

But the budget passed Oct. 9. The council remained intact and began to regroup. Plans and fundraising efforts for the governor's awards, which had been put on hold for months, picked up where they left off. And on Thursday, York will become the cultural capitol of Pennsylvania for a day -- artists, celebrities, politicians and community members will gather downtown for the governor's awards. Read more...

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