ECCOTA awards arts grants

The Elk County Council on the Arts [ECCOTA], in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts [PCA], awarded 15 grants to organizations in Cameron, Clarion, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean and Potter counties.On Wednesday evening, ECCOTA and the PCA awarded $19,779 in grant funds through the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts [PPA] program to organizations to support arts activities in the region."Since early 2000 the PCA looked at how the state was getting its art funding and they saw that there was a disconnect," said Abbi Peters, ECCOTA executive director. "There were certain areas in the state that were getting funding and other parts that weren't applying and getting distribution of the money."According to Peters, the PPA partners with art organizations throughout the state to act as administrators for the funding. The PCA then receives the initial state funding and distributes it to organizations."And we [ECCOTA] act as the local grassroots group for all of the organizations to get that money," Peters said. "We are the local go-to for the seven counties in the area. We distribute all of the information and make sure projects are applying and if people have questions on how to apply or use the granting system, they come to me."Peters said a local group of panelists reviews the applications and scores them based on a funding formula for an allocated amount based on the area.Each grant request can be up to $3,000."Some people request exactly what they need, which, in some instances, is more like $400… some applications go for the full $3,000, but don't necessarily receive it," she said.According to Peters, other organizations can apply."They don't have to be an arts organization," Peters said. "Go and talk to them, give them my information and get them connected, so we can get this money moving and get it up above Route 80 and distributed to different organizations."Jefferson County Historical Society executive director Ken Burkett attended Wednesday's ceremony to express his appreciation for the grant.The Jefferson County Historical Society plans to bring the Wildcat Band and Fieldstone to Jefferson County in 2011-2012 as part of its PA150 Civil War Commemoration with the $1,226 grant."This is part of our five-year plan," Burkett said. "They play 1860s-period instruments and are coming to the courthouse for a concert in December and then we will be continuing with a series of civil war concerts throughout the year."