Creating Connections Through Arts, Culture, Communications and Technology

Writer michael vyskocil
Photographer eric forberger
Pictured above left to right: collin holder, the parliament arts organization; joan mummert, york county history center; bernadette reineberg and doug schultz, united fiber & data; todd fogdall, appell center for the performing arts

From paintings and poetry to live performances and living history, York’s artistic, cultural and educational organizations engage with thousands of people. Each year, they deliver high quality programming that expands horizons about art, music, history and more. York’s heritage of creativity and innovation has inspired its arts and culture leaders to use technology to deliver rich arts and cultural programming to the community.

“Though we operate two historic theaters that are close to or more than 100 years old, patrons rely on our use of digital tools during nearly every part of their experience with us,” says Todd Fogdall, president and CEO of the Appell Center for the Performing Arts. Sharing events by social media, purchasing tickets online and streaming live events and films through digital technologies are just a few examples. The Appell Center’s Green Room Gossip podcast brings stories from artists and performers who come to the center’s venues to listeners across the world.

“I am intrigued by the opportunities to increase audience engagement at events. What if audience members were able to watch the action backstage while attending a Broadway show? They could even engage with data that measures the physicality of dance — heart rates, distances jumped, pirouette speed. If done correctly in the live performance environment, we could attract patrons in new ways,” he says.   

Joan Mummert, president and CEO of the York County History Center, says enhancing the visitor experience is central to the organization’s technology strategy. Exhibiting scanned photos and documents through the Library & Archives and presenting distance learning and virtual tours of the historic sites the History Center manages are among some of the organization’s accomplishments through technology.

The History Center has also begun developing ways to put technology at the forefront to engage visitors at its future museum, library and archives at the former MetEd Steam Plant building in downtown York. For example, touchpads and touch screens in the core exhibit area will allow visitors to delve into a topic in depth with images and information accessible with only a few swipes and taps. The “Renewal Theater” will use interactive forms of technology to create conversations about challenging topics, while the entire visitor experience will conclude with an opportunity for visitors to contribute to a crowdsourced video history of York County.

“Museums, libraries and archives are just beginning to understand the power that technology affords to institutions that have long struggled with an inaccessible reputation,” she says. “Embracing and utilizing technology establishes transparency that improves the confidence, enhances relevance and uplifts content.”

With its mission of empowering artists and giving them the visibility they deserve, The Parliament Arts Organization has used platforms such as Facebook Live and Instagram to highlight the work of artists in the community.

“As we keep growing, we plan to do more social media interviews and eventually start an online storefront for The Parliament to give artists who don’t have a brick-and-mortar location more visibility for the art they’re creating,” says Collin Holder, executive director of The Parliament Arts Organization. He sees collaborations among arts-based York County nonprofits that could create impactful technology-based experiences, such as virtual gallery tours, for residents of and visitors to York.

United Fiber & Data appreciates the value that arts and cultural organizations like those represented here contribute to York, Pennsylvania, the home of its headquarters. Just as these organizations are proud to create diverse programming to enhance York’s arts and culture, UFD is proud to share that its physically diverse, secure, scalable, carrier-neutral dark fiber network connecting New York City to Ashburn, Virginia, is now live and ready for service. Offering high capacity, low latency and data storage redundancy, UFD’s infrastructure will help create opportunity for startups, enterprises, carriers and more to enter the next era of data communications so that they, like York’s arts and cultural anchors, can shape experiences that connect people with one another.

YRK PERSPECTIVES:

How does art inspire you in your work?

“When surrounded by art, I am motivated to be more creative in my thought process, to think outside the box when solving problems. If I have a challenging task, it can inspire me to new possibilities and awaken new skills. Art reminds me that technology begins with a human touch.”

Bernadette Reineberg, Community Relations Specialist, United Fiber & Data

united fiber & data
  • 210 York St., Suite 200 York, PA 17403
  • 855.255.5244
united fiber & data
  • 210 York St., Suite 200 York, PA 17403
  • 855.255.5244