ArtsAltoona believes in community.
Our mission is to foster a thriving, creative community and enhance economic development through the arts, education, and culture and help to evolve Blair County into a destination community for the arts and culture. From the beginning, ArtsAltoona has strived to support the strong existing network of arts organizations in our area through our website’s community calendar, Facebook page, newsletter, and community events to help enhance the local economy through the arts.
Between 2015 and 2016 we researched over fourteen cities in Pennsylvania and identified two challenges specific to Blair County, 1, we have 7100 fewer employable workers, and 2, multigenerational poverty. We felt a comprehensive strategic arts program could positively impact this area, particularly through arts education classes that provide the following benefits to students:
- Art develops confidence and self-esteem.
- Art instills pride.
- Art helps your child develop real-life skills.
- Art leads to higher test scores in the classroom.
- Art increases opportunities of self-expression.
- Art increases an individual’s sense of belonging or attachment to their community (good for all of us!)
And creativity (a bigger basket of imagination) IS the key to the future, certainly for young people.
In early 2020 we began work on the ArtsAltoona Center! Our center consists of two buildings which were donated to us by the congregation of Simpson-Temple United Parish in early 2020. With the acquisition and development of our ArtsAltoona Center, in the heart of Altoona’s sixth ward community, we strive to serve and bring the arts to those surrounding us. Through community festivals and events, live performances, art classes, workshops, our Learning Pod program, partnerships with other local community organizations, and more, we have begun to cement our place in the community. It has been an ongoing process (especially amidst a pandemic!) to develop and transform the facilities into a thriving arts center, complete with classrooms, multiple performance venues, meeting and event spaces, and more. We’ve only just begun to unlock the potential the space has to offer!