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Wolf Administration Art Partnership Engages Schools in Project to Make State Parks More Welcoming to All

05/31/2022

​Harrisburg, PA -- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today announced a new diversity, equity, and inclusion partnership with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts that is connecting students with local artists to create and display art at three state parks.

“To reach new people about all the benefits state parks offer, this partnership has us working with students in schools in underserved communities,” Dunn said. “If we increase their familiarity with our parks by having their art displayed for a time and through organized field days for them to explore and enjoy, we hope they will feel more welcome and connected to our parks and public lands.”

Dunn noted that in addition to working with the artists at their schools, the students are receiving environmental education programs at the parks providing a cultural and natural history overview. Each park also for a limited time is hosting the installation or performance of the artwork.

The program is occurring at the following locations:

  • Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center in Northampton County worked with ArtsQuest and the Donegan Elementary School to bring in textile artist Mallory Zondag who led students through the creation of a fiber living wall;
  • Bald Eagle State Park in Centre County worked with Galaxy/Intermediate Unit 10 and the Sugar Valley Rural Charter School to partner with artist Lynn Anne Verbeck who facilitated the creation of student-designed murals and sculptures;
  • Presque Isle State Park in Erie County partnered with Erie Arts & Culture and folk artist Gyan Ghising who lead the students at Edison Elementary School through a storytelling and folklore residency.

A fourth program is being planned at Kings Gap Environmental Education Center in Cumberland County for the 2022-23 school year.

“We are excited to utilize our Arts in Education and Folk and Traditional Arts partnerships to help create opportunities for students to engage in a variety of creative artforms while experiencing our commonwealth’s parks,” said Karl Blischke, PCA Executive Director. “This partnership with DCNR helps further PCA’s commitment to building stronger communities, supporting lifelong learning through the arts, and promoting equitable access for all Pennsylvanians to participate fully in a creative life.”

The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts is a state agency under the Office of the Governor. Governed by a council of 15 citizen members appointed by the governor, and four legislative members, the mission of the PCA is to strengthen the cultural, educational, and economic vitality of Pennsylvania’s communities through the arts. By leveraging the immense potential of Pennsylvania’s arts and cultural sector, the PCA supports jobs, builds community, motivates learning, promotes the commonwealth nationally and internationally, and sparks innovation.

More information about Pennsylvania state parks is on the DCNR website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson, DCNR, 717-877-6315
                                Norah Johnson, PCA, 717-585-4713

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