Arts and cultural partnership receives big donation

Johnstown, Cambria County, Pa. - Wednesday, the 1889 Foundation announced it will donate up to $1.2 million to four arts and cultural organizations in the Cambria City neighborhood of Johnstown.

The money will go to the new Cambria City Cultural Partnership, which includes Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center, Johnstown Concert Ballet, Venue of Merging Arts (VOMA) and the Steeples Project.

The non-profit raised the money through private donations. The money will be donated over the next three years.

"Population Health encompasses a lot of different things, but obviously having a strong cultural and arts community is an important part of that whole equation," said James Hargreaves, the chairman of the 1889 Foundation.

The new funding could bring in even more money to help pay for structural improvements.

"These four organizations already have money in hand for capital projects. The commitments made by 1889 will help them finish projects that have been on the shelf waiting to be started," said Jeanne Gleason, Community Liaison for the Cambria City Cultural Partnership.

Some of the projects include a greenspace area on the roof of Bottle Works, a new elevator and studios at the concert ballet's Danceworks building and facade renovations at VOMA.

"It will be the first in this area. I think it will be a signature attraction and bring more attention as we emerge as a cultural district," said Laura Argenbright, the executive director of Bottle Works. 

Eventually, the partnership hopes to include other cultural and arts organizations in Cambria and Somerset Counties.

"I think we can expect to see more rehab and renovation, hopefully some work on the river-walls. And this will be a place, not only on the weekend, but during the week people will come to do exciting things," Hargreaves said.


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