New Horizons

New Horizons empowers residents, merchants, community organizers, artists, and culture-bearers to actively be involved in shaping the social character and built environment in their neighborhoods. The initiative, in the first three years, invests in the neighborhoods that the City of Erie has identified in their comprehensive plan as the most in need of stabilization. 

Through this initiative, Erie Arts & Culture and its collaborating partners will enhance and activate public spaces by delivering accessible cultural programs and activities that tap into the creativity, imagination, experience, and wisdom of community members. Through the New Horizons initiative, we aim to identify and then directly address systems that have perpetuated neighborhood disparities.  

projection project new horizons
Through our New Horizons initiative, Erie Arts & Culture contracted MenajERIE Studio to create and produce a series of videos that tell the stories of how art and culture plays an imperative role in the personal, communal, and economic development of our region.
Lily Marquis
While in Erie, Lily Yeh facilitated an artist workshop as part of our New Horizons Placemaking Speaker Series.
our west bayfit drum

New Horizons supports Our West Bayfront during a West BayFit event by providing Erie Dance Theatre with funding to bring in World Percussionist Elec Simon. Elec facilitates a drumming workshop for the community at Bayview Park.

Objectives

  • Infuse arts and culture into Erie’s neighborhoods to ensure the benefits of arts and culture are more fully recognized, utilized, and valued. 
  • Make access to information about arts and culture experiences, programs, and events easy and accessible to everyone. 
  • Integrated public art into neighborhood and district development and revitalization plans. 
  • Grow the capacity of artists and cultural organizations so they are better equipped to serve as community leaders.
  • Utilize cultural events as a platform to discuss issues that are relevant to the cultural, economic, wellness, educational, environmental, and social needs of communities. 
  • Record, preserve, and share the culture and history of Erie, both past and present.
pinata promise new horizons

New Horizons community workshop with Esther Ortiz, Erie's only piñata maker and designer, works with kids from the YMCA of Greater Erie and the Erie Martin Luther King Center at Bayview Park.

Outcomes

  • Erie and Northwest Pennsylvania are differentiated from other regions as a result of arts and cultural experiences perceived as extraordinary. 
  • Feelings of engagement and connection to the community are deepened by widening participation in arts and cultural experiences for all. 
  • The vibrancy of communities, in particular those that have been historically under-resourced and/or undergoing revitalization, is enhanced by increasing the accessibility and availability of arts and cultural assets and experiences in Erie County and Northwest Pennsylvania. 
  • As a community, we have a better cross-cultural understanding because of increased accessibility to arts and cultural experiences that are inclusive and representative. 
  • Individuals at all life stages have increased access to, and participation in, meaningful arts and cultural opportunities, whether socially, educationally, or economically.
World Refugee Day Dance
World Refugee Day event participants learn through movement about traditional Acholi dances native to South Sudan and Uganda.

 

To support these objectives and outcomes, Erie Arts & Culture is committed to the following action items. 

  • The hiring of a Community Organizer
  • The formation of a New Horizons Task Force
  • The creation of a Placemaking Speaker Series
  • Adopting a formal Cultural Equity Commitment Statement
  • Establishing the CHROMA Guild for artists and cultural workers of color
  • Making investments in thought-provoking public art
  • Co-curating participatory cultural experiences and activities in public spaces
  • Asset mapping points of interest to create a cultural heritage trail for pedestrians
  • Develop and present a symposium geared towards artists and cultural workers to build their capacity as leaders in their communities
  • Create opportunities for artists to serve in residence with neighborhood organizations and municipal departments

New Horizons is funded in part by