Our friends within the Altoona Arts community have been working for a number years to promote the multitude of opportunities to get involved with the arts as well as appreciate them and we are excited that their new website ArtsAltoona.org will be going live on July 1, 2017.
The group also has an active Facebook presence and looks to serve as a resource with a calendar of events for all of the arts partners in the Altoona region. The inclusion of an active arts community is an essential piece of our community and something that helps set us apart from other mountain towns. It is a well rounded community that embraces the outdoors, arts, families, education and so much more nestled in the mountains of the Allegheny Front.
Read the complete article from the Altoona Mirror below.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE FROM ALTOONA MIRROR: June 4, 2017 by Bill Kibler
Economic development tool casts light on arts in Altoona
In her long public life, centered around 28 years as a Blair County commissioner, Donna Gority was never the type whose default attitude was annoyance.
But Gority gets annoyed when people in this area complain there’s nothing to do, she said.
“There are tons of things to do,” said Gority, a principal in the creation of a new economic development tool that should help ensure there will be less of the kind of complaining that exasperates her.
The tool is an interactive, online calendar, a clearinghouse for events related to the arts, entertainment, history and other components of the humanities, according to fellow principal, George Sackandy.
The site, artsaltoona.org, will go live about July 1, according to the principals.
The organization behind the calendar filed for incorporation Wednesday as ArtsAltoona — although the principals must wait to ensure the name can be trademarked.“It’s a nonprofit focused on economic development, using the arts as a foundation for its strategy,” Sackandy said. “(The calendar) is the first of several phases.”
The calendar itself is a tool for economic development to benefit downtown and the county as a whole, Sackandy said.
It will be constructed by a local web designer on an open-source platform and follow the pattern of other arts calendars, especially artsboston.org, according to Gority.
The Boston site includes headings for stage, music, art, culture, things of interest to kids and things that are free; a general search box; and specific search boxes for artistic categories — including music, with subcategories like classical and jazz; as well as search boxes for venues and date ranges.
Altoona’s calendar will have a directory for artists, organizations and venues; a directory for workshops and trainings and a directory for fundraisers and galas, Sackandy said.
A related Facebook page went live two weeks ago and has 500 followers already, said Sackandy, a member of the Altoona Symphony board, former vice president and managing director at Toftrees/Marriott Resort and former vice president for strategic partnerships at Crown American Real Estate Investment Trust.
The organization has been promoting events through the Facebook page, including a West African drum circle, Ranger Days at Fort Roberdeau and a P&J production that commemorated the 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Gority said.
There will soon be a newsletter, which people can sign up for on the Facebook page or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, Gority said.
Representatives of the group had a booth at the recent Blair County Arts Festival and more than one passer-by said “It’s about time,” Sackandy said.
By making it easier for people to find things to do, the partners hope to improve the quality of life here, which will help encourage people to remain here, rather than move elsewhere; or return here to live, if they’ve lived elsewhere; or come here to live for the first time, Gority said.
The more people use the site and support the events listed, the more successful will be the organizations that sponsor the events, which will lead to more and better events, in a virtuous circle, Gority said.
The site will also make it easier for organizations planning events to schedule them at times that are not crowded with other events attractive to the same demographic, so all the events can be more successful, the partners said.
Ultimately, the site may help ensure that Blair County is “viewed by insiders and outsiders as a community very rich in the arts and culture,” Gority said.