Learning through the arts establishes and reinforces the soft skills necessary to live an enriched life in today’s ever-changing world. For this reason, Erie Arts & Culture envisions a region where every person has access to meaningful experiences that utilize the arts as a tool for personal development, both in academic and communal environments.
Erie Arts & Culture is one of 14 organizations across the state that formally partners with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to administer an Arts in Education (AIE) program. As a partner, we leverage funds provided by the Commonwealth to support in-depth arts experiences for youth and adults within six counties of Northwestern Pennsylvania, including: Erie, Crawford, Mercer, Venango, Warren, and Lawrence.
Exposure to, and participation in, the arts teaches essential life skills. Access to the arts, especially during key developmental ages, has the power to shape character and influence upward mobility later in life.
Children develop a deeper awareness and acceptance of different people, places, and ideas when they are regularly exposed to various artistic disciplines and cultural practices. This can help them understand and appreciate the differences found in their broader environment.
The arts are major contributors to quality of life. As adults, arts experiences stimulate our senses, imagination, and thought. The arts provide allow us to observe and reflect on the world, both past and present.
For senior citizens, arts experiences can be opportunities to reactivate, strengthen, and increase an existential sense of wonderment. Arts activities can positively impact older adults’ mental and physical health.
Erie Arts & Culture provides paid opportunities to regional artists who are interested in becoming creative catalysts in school and community organizations. As of December 2019, Erie Arts & Culture has 31 rostered artists or artist groups that have been formally equipped with the knowledge and skills to successfully design and implement residencies - either in academic or community settings.
In academic settings, an artist collaborates with educators to use their artistic discipline to teach core curriculum subjects, such as English language arts, mathematics, science, or social studies.
In community settings, artists work intensively with small groups on a specific project. In some cases, projects are used as a means to address critical issues relevant to the hosting community. The artist’s role in these projects is that of a mentor and facilitator, and participants exercise creative control.