By Mary Spicer
Meadville Council on the Arts is in trouble.
That’s the word from Jack Moyers, the very concerned vice president of the organization that has called the second floor of Meadville’s historic Market House home for more than three decades.
As Pennsylvania enters its third month without a state budget in place, funding for the arts is one of the items that’s been left on indefinite “Hold.” Stir in a hearty local dose of nationwide fiscal stress and you have a situation Moyers characterizes as desperate times calling for desperate measures.
“The funds currently available to Meadville Council on the Arts are at a very critical point,” he wrote Thursday night in an e-mail targeted at pretty much everyone he knows. “Without a serious cash infusion, MCA will not see the end of the month.”
Serious steps have already been taken. For example, Executive Director Kate Radivojevich has officially been on layoff status since Friday.
“I’m a good volunteer,” she said Wednesday, speaking from behind a very familiar desk in a very familiar office. “I love this place,” she continued. “I would feel really sad if it closes. There’s so much talent in this area, it would be a shame to lose this opportunity to show it.”
“Think about no October Evenings, no Blue Planet Cafe,” Moyers agrees.
“It would be tragic to lose this icon of the community,” he continued, urging everyone who has enjoyed the “free” shows, openings, performances and fellowship MCA has given the community for more than 30 years to step forward and support the organization.
Ironically, the shortfall hit just as MCA is repositioning itself. “We’re working toward becoming more self-sustaining,” Radivojevich explained, noting that while MCA has traditionally received between $6,000 and $12,000 per year in support from Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, they’d already been warned that this year’s allocation might be substantially less.
“We have fundraising ideas and we’re developing some innovative educational programming, but it takes time to get things into place,” said Radivojevich, who has directed the organization for just six months. “It takes time to do those things — and now it looks like we might not have that opportunity.”
They’re also gearing up for October Evenings, a month-long combination of juried art, music and entertainment that has long been both a highlight of the MCA calendar and a major annual fundraiser for the organization. Both Moyers and Radivojevich are hoping there will be a gala opening night to celebrate.
To contribute, become a member or donate time, visit the Meadville Council on the Arts Web site, www.meadvillecouncilonthearts.com; visit the gallery Tuesday through Friday from noon to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; call 336-5051 during gallery hours; or send your check to Meadville Council on the Arts, P.O. Box 337, Meadville, Pa. 16335.
Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at email@example.com.