The arts and humanities are fundamental to society. Together, they foster creativity, beauty, and a deeper understanding of the human experience. They can be leveraged to express our values, support lifelong learning, and build bridges by bringing people together regardless of their differences.
Established in 1967, the United Arts Fund, which is managed by Erie Arts & Culture, supports the arts and humanities in Erie’s urban core by providing unrestricted funding to the Erie County Historical Society, the Erie Philharmonic, the Erie Playhouse, the expERIEnce Children’s Museum, and the Flagship Niagara League. The annual United Arts Fund also supports Erie Arts & Culture's Ignite Arts grant program.
The non-profit cultural sector has a positive impact on personal, community, and economic development in Erie County. This is why the arts, entertainment, and recreation are included as key indicators for Erie Vital Signs and were included as a focus area in the Destination Erie plan. Unfortunately, the public health pandemic has sent a ripple effect through our sector. The doors of many of our cherished assets remain closed to the public due to social distancing requirements, financial business interruptions, and staff furloughs. Arts and humanities non-profit organizations have been severely diminished, bringing into question what the future looks like for all organizations impacted. Through record tracking over the past five months, we conservatively estimate that non-profit arts and humanities organizations in Erie County have suffered a financial loss of more than $3.9 million due to disruption of standard business operations. Our goal for the 2020 UAF campaign is to collectively raise $500,000.