Cultural Alliance of York County
  • 14 West Market St. York, PA 17401
  • 717.812.9255

The Arts in York: Impact and Influence

Writer Ivy Rodgers
Photographer Eric Forberger


Innovation always begins with an idea … a brushstroke that creates a painting, a note that forms a piece of music, or key resources that enable arts and culture to thrive. For the Cultural Alliance of York County, an innovative new initiative for artist funding is filled with promise and excitement. 

The year 2020 will be a big one for the Cultural Alliance and for artists in York County. With a goal to help artists “not feel like they’re alone,” Rita Whitney, director of communications and engagement, is dedicated to helping artists succeed in their work through her role with the Cultural Alliance.

Here’s how this artist support works: The Cultural Alliance is creating a two-stream method of arts and culture funding. The first is the Innovation Prize, a large sum of money that will be awarded annually to one creative in York County based on merit. The second stream will be Artists Initiative Grants, consisting of smaller amounts of money that will be awarded on a rolling cycle throughout the year for projects and career advancement opportunities. The streamlined application process will provide working artists with the support they need to make an impact in York.

“The Cultural Alliance isn’t simply here to give away money but to show the world that artistry is way more functioning in our society than we give it credit for,” says Lexus Gore, current York College Appell Arts Fellow and fine artist.

Local musician Andrew Abaria adds, “Rita took the time to chat with me and to hear about the music projects I’m currently pursuing … [it’s] made me feel seen and welcomed as an artist.”

Chris Tamburro shares his love for the physical art forms of ArtFlow and spinning poi, a style of performing arts. He says, “The Cultural Alliance and The Northeastern Senior Center have provided me with a chance to blend my desire to help others with my love of flow arts.”

Rita and the Cultural Alliance believe this new funding structure will help artists thrive by leading more passion-fueled, sustainable lives. “I want to support all of these crazy people doing crazy things,” she says.


How does art inspire you in your work?

“I’ve learned over the last few years that as much as I enjoy painting for myself, facilitating others in creating their own work is just as valuable of an art form to me.”

—  Rita Whitney, Director of Communications and Engagement, Cultural Alliance of York County

Cultural Alliance of York County
  • 14 West Market St. York, PA 17401
  • 717.812.9255