Bizzarro, Harkins, Merski: $13,000 in COVID emergency relief to Erie Art Museum, Historical Society

ERIE, Aug. 5 – The Erie Art Museum and Erie Historical Society will receive $13,000 in federal funding to help with operations impacted by the pandemic, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, all D-Erie, announced today.

The grants include $7,000 to the historical society and $6,000 to the art museum. 

“As we reopen, rebuild and restructure to adapt to life during the pandemic, it’s critical that we continue supporting these special places that showcase and preserve our unique Erie history and culture,” Merski said. “The artwork and documents they protect and display serve as a chronicle for future generations about how our community persevered and survived -- even during times of adversity. Keeping them operating is as important now as ever." 

 Harkins said, “In addition to collecting and preserving unique and important art and artifacts, our Erie Art Museum and Historical Society do so much to keep our community educated and engaged through learning, community programs, classes and events. This funding will help ensure that these important community centers can continue operating to provide these services now and in the months to come.” 

Bizzarro said, “Through their exhibits and displays, our Erie Art Museum and Historical Society play an important role in attracting visitors and tourists to our area, which is important to our local economy. This funding is going to ensure that these well-loved Erie institutions continue operating and are able to provide the safest possible environment for staff and visitors.”

The grant is part of package of $780,500 in emergency relief grants under the Pennsylvania Humanities Council’s CARES Program – funded by the CARES Act – to 140 state cultural nonprofits that have been impacted by the pandemic. The goal of the funding is to help sustain the state’s cultural infrastructure by supporting humanities programs and helping organizations adapt to site closures and the cancellation of in-person events. 

Award amounts ranged from $3,000 to $10,000 and were scaled to each organization’s average annual operating budget. The recipients are museums, historical societies, libraries and other vital cultural institutions in 57 counties, selected with an emphasis on equity and geographic diversity.   

 The funding was distributed to states by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Today’s funding from the PHC CARES program complements the $2.4 million in CARES Act funding Pennsylvania previously received from the NEH.