Great things are happening with ArtsAltoona!

By March 5, 2020 March 7th, 2020 Around the Area, Arts, Letters from The Board

We Have a New Home!

We now officially own the buildings and property gifted to us by the Simpson-Temple United Parish! This includes the grassy lot with the electronic sign at the corner of Sixth Avenue and 23rd Street, the red brick education building in the middle of the block, and the magnificent stone church at the corner of Sixth Avenue and 22nd Street, as well as a large parking lot behind the buildings. Whether you call it a God Moment or Serendipity when a chance meeting between ArtsAltoona’s George Sackandy and Duane Bordell, a member of the STUP, resulted in this amazing result, we are enormously grateful to the congregation for making the decision to partner with us in this way! We are especially pleased that Kris Fraundorfer and Becky Snyder, who are co-chairs of the church council, who believed in the benefits of our collaboration and led the process with the parish, have accepted positions on our ArtsAltoona board, so our work of service to the community in that area and beyond has just begun. Leah Klevan, another member of the church council, has come onboard with us as an AmeriCorps member who will be helping us with our After School Arts Programs and other activities in the community.

We want to make it very clear that the congregation is still there for Sunday morning worship with Pastor House, their weekly Bible Study and the monthly Love Feast, in conjunction with several other local church communities. They were struggling with a declining membership and strained finances when a chance meeting resulted in the concept of ArtsAltoona taking over the property and related expenses. They are responsible, of course, for religious related expenses and they retain offices in the education building.

Our ArtsAltoona offices have moved there from the LaunchBox and the LS Fiore blue building. Please make a note, the name of our new facility is the ArtsAltoona Center and the address is 2212 Sixth Avenue, Altoona, PA 16602. More will be coming in future newsletters about our planned uses for the buildings and how you can help.  In the meantime, if you have ideas to share about performances or rental ideas, please email our AmeriCorps member, events coordinator, Claudia Montero at You may know Claudia from the many years she spent with the Allegheny Ridge Corporation at the Altoona Heritage Discovery Center. Her knowledge and creativity are extremely valuable to us as we begin maximizing the potential uses of the building to serve our mission.

After School Arts Programs – ASAP

We are currently involved with presenting several ASAP classes at various locations through sponsorship of the Altoona Area School District Foundation. Plans are set for additional classes funded through grants from both the United Way of Blair County and Operation Our Town and numerous contributions from our fundraising efforts. Please check the ASAP page on our website at and spread the word to youth or families that you know. We are targeting students in the junior high years since this is a very vulnerable time of life and the exposure to the arts can be profoundly impactful in building self-confidence and belief in their self-worth. Who knows what future art skills may be inspired as well!

Spring into the Arts

We are working with the Penn State Altoona Sheetz Fellows to produce a street fair similar to the stART here event we partnered on in the Spring of 2018 in Juniata. This time it will be held along Eleventh Avenue in downtown Altoona on Saturday, April 4th from 11am to 5pm. It will feature music, visual arts, food trucks, vendors and activities for children presented by area non-profit organizations. This will be a family friendly event with no alcohol. Please mark your calendar and plan to join us for a great day! Check out the Spring into the Arts Facebook page for up to date information.

Please let us know how you want to get involved with our organization – we have lots of opportunities for volunteers! Just email me at

Donna Gority
President of the Board