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Penn College, Community Arts Center finalize merger

With a consolidation essentially completed, Pennsylvania College of Technology will assume administrative/operational oversight of the Community Arts Center.

Effective July 1, staff working at the Arts Center, a wholly owned subsidiary of Penn College, become employees of the college. The transition further strengthens the college’s commitment to the venue’s long-term stability as a community asset offering cultural and educational programming to the Greater Williamsport area and beyond.

Pennsylvania College of Technology and its wholly owned subsidiary, the Community Arts Center, have essentially finalized a consolidation, with administrative/operational oversight of the cultural arts venue transitioning to the college.
Pennsylvania College of Technology and its wholly owned subsidiary, the Community Arts Center, have essentially finalized a consolidation, with administrative/operational oversight of the cultural arts venue transitioning to the college.

Penn College extensively renovated and reopened the Community Arts Center, the former Capitol Theatre, in 1993. Since then, the college has increasingly subsidized operational and infrastructure costs associated with the 2,100-seat West Fourth Street facility, which was forced to shut down in March 2020 due to pandemic-related restrictions that have eased only recently.

During the shutdown, the college, with approval of its board of directors, explored ways to ensure the Arts Center could continue to provide programming to enrich the cultural environment of the region. The resulting consolidation allows the college to allocate its own marketing, development, finance, hospitality and human resources toward that purpose.

“With the impending completion of this merger, we believe the Community Arts Center is well-positioned to continue providing the type of diverse, high-quality programming that will benefit our area for many years to come,” said Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour. “We welcome the ongoing support of our financial partners and our volunteers, without whom this effort cannot succeed. And, we are grateful to the local community for its enduring patronage of Arts Center programs and events, which enhance the quality of life for all.”

The Community Arts Center relies upon philanthropic support from the community to thrive, with the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania leading the way.

“The Foundation is most appreciative to Penn College for its continued stewardship of a community treasure and for creating partnerships with countless nonprofits,” said Jennifer D. Wilson, president and CEO of the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania. “This display of leadership helps to ensure that personnel, facility maintenance and (with Lycoming College) operational costs will be covered. FCFP has provided more than $4 million in grants to the Arts Center over the years, and we look forward to future opportunities to enhance cultural and artistic experiences for the residents of our region.”

Funding assistance also comes from local government, Visitors Bureau grants and individuals. Existing endowment funds associated with the Community Arts Center will remain separate from college funds, as will any new donations designated specifically for Arts Center use.

An annual investment from crosstown higher-education partner Lycoming College has also been essential to the effort in recent years. Lycoming College continues its use of the Arts Center for curricular and co-curricular programming – offering valuable opportunities to cross-enrolled Penn College students, as well.

“Lycoming College is delighted that PCT has taken action to ensure the long-term viability of the CAC,” said President Kent C. Trachte. “Given its heritage as a college in the tradition of the liberal arts and its long history in Williamsport, Lycoming College has a deep connection to the performing and visual arts that also translates into a commitment to support the arts and culture of the city and region. In that spirit, we have established the Lycoming College Art Gallery downtown. In a similar way, our investment in the CAC both creates opportunities for our students and helps to nurture the vitality of the arts in our region.”

Since 1993, the Community Arts Center, located at 220 W. Fourth St., has hosted more than 1.77 million patrons for live events and movies.

For more about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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