Pa. Gov. Mark Schweiker has delivered $6 million in capital budget redevelopment assistance to the Pennsylvania Academy of Music to build a new state-of-the-art recital hall and educational facility in Lancaster.
"The arts must be a priority for all of us – they enrich our lives and bring us together as a community," Schweiker said. "Our support for the arts in Pennsylvania – our artists and our cultural and historical organizations – is a significant part of our commitment to improving the quality of life in communities all across the state.
"The Pennsylvania Academy of Music has already established itself as a first-class facility. With this investment, we expect bigger and better things for the Academy. It should be a destination both for the public looking for first-rate performances and also for world-class musicians who want to perform in a high-quality venue."
Schweiker made the visit on the first day of a five-day "Celebration of the New Pennsylvania" tour across the state.
The new facility will include a 300-seat recital hall, a recording studio and educational facilities. It will be built at the site of the current facility at 42 N. Price St. in Lancaster.
Joining Schweiker at the announcement were Michael Jamanis, president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Music, and Academy faculty and students.
Commenting on the announcement, Jamanis said, "It takes a real leader to make a gift like this. Gov. Schweiker has helped put the Pennsylvania Academy of Music into a position of international prominence. Our students, faculty and citizens will reap great benefits for generations to come. What a historic event."
The Academy has established an exchange program with the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China. Students and faculty of each organization travel to participate in programs in the other country.
In a letter to Schweiker, Jia-Fang Dai, president of the China Conservatory of Music, praised the state’s support of the Pennsylvania Academy of Music.
"There are so many things that can be done together by our two schools," Jia-Fang Dai said. "We have much in common as we invest in the lives of our young people and speak through the common language of music. Young people and music are always the hope, not only in the United States and China, but the whole world."
The Pennsylvania Academy of Music, created in 1989, has more than 350 students, ranging in age from 4 to 18. Its faculty is comprised of members who have relationships with world-class organizations such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center.
The grant was enabled in February 1999, when the General Assembly approved the Ridge-Schweiker Administration’s plan to raise the cap on the capital budget’s redevelopment assistance fund by $650 million for vital community- and economic-development projects statewide. Schweiker recently signed legislation raising the cap by an additional $250 million.
During the administration, the number of Pennsylvania counties receiving capital budget redevelopment assistance funds has more than doubled from 22 to 46 counties.
The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is a state grant program for the acquisition and construction of economic, cultural or civic improvement projects. The General Assembly must authorize funding for projects before they can be considered by the Governor. Since 1985, more than $1.6 billion in redevelopment assistance funds have helped to leverage more than $4.1 billion in local matching funds. Projects range from museums, zoos, theaters and cultural centers to airports, convention centers and industrial parks.
Since 1995, Pennsylvania families and employers have saved $19 billion through tax cuts, workers’ compensation reform, reduced red tape and electric deregulation. These savings have helped to create nearly 500,000 new jobs.
For more information visit www.state.pa.us.