Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance (PRAA) was founded in 1988 with a mission to develop and promote the arts throughout rural areas of southwestern Pennsylvania. PRAA has grown to become a central resource where people can learn about the wealth of arts organizations located in the region and the wealth of arts activities that the organizations provide. The region served by PRAA includes Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Centre, Clearfield, Fayette, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland Counties.
A Board of Directors consisting of arts administrators from throughout our service area guides the organization. The office is staffed by a part-time Executive Director and a part-time clerical assistant. The PRAA office is located at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art on the campus of St. Francis University in Loretto, PA.
PRAA’s member organizations cover a wide spectrum. Some are small organizations with limited paid staff and are chiefly volunteer driven and managed. Others are large organizations with many paid staff members. The projects and programs offered by these arts organizations include a variety of concert series and performances, exhibits, festivals, summer arts programs, and other arts events. Often these events and activities are cultural experiences involving entire communities. Artists who take advantage of PRAA’s services live and work in these rural communities and benefit from the networking and exposure that PRAA can provide.
Core activities of PRAA include managing a program of grant funding in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a grant program in cooperation with the 1889 Foundation, overseeing the Arts Coalition of the Alleghenies, and providing workshops, meetings, conferences, and individual technical assistance.
Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts
In 1996 PRAA was invited to be one of the four original partners in a new initiative of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) – the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA), a regionalized re-granting of funds. The PPA Program offers opportunities for arts organizations, community-based groups and individual artists to apply for up to $2,500 in funding to support performance activities, exhibitions, and other arts projects that are presented to the public. Funded events must take place between September 1 and August 31 of the grant year. The deadline for grant submission is in June.
As one of the four original partners, PRAA worked with consultants and the PCA to design and implement the re-granting application, panel review, and management of grant funds. The PPA Program has been expanded to include 13 partner organizations which serve all 67 counties of the state. State government funding for the arts comes through an annual appropriation by the Pennsylvania General Assembly and from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
PRAA administers the PPA program in Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Indiana, Somerset and Westmoreland Counties. During the application period PRAA offers “hands-on” assistance in dealing with grant applications. Grant application workshops are held throughout the region so that organizations can successfully complete the application process.
Arts Coalition of the Alleghenies
PRAA is the fiscal manager for the Arts Coalition of the Alleghenies (ACOA), an exciting collaborative effort designed to provide shared marketing services, advertising and promotion opportunities for arts organizations in the region, as well as greater recognition of the arts as a key to community vitality. The Arts Coalition of the Alleghenies currently includes member organizations in Bedford, Cambria, Indiana and Somerset Counties.