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'We can go back safely': Week of free events boosts arts, culture in York County

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

The Cultural Alliance of York County is "raising the curtain" on a week of free events dedicated to bolstering the arts and culture the county has to offer.

The multimedia campaign from Feb. 14 through Feb. 19 will serve as a kickoff to the nonprofit's annual campaign, in which fundraising throughout the year culminates in grants for individual artists and nonprofit organizations.

This year, the Cultural Alliance aims to host a diverse panel of events to increase tourism in York, according to Rita Whitney, the organization's director of engagement.

"This campaign will bring people into experiences again — like festivals, concerts and gallery shows," Whitney said. "It can be an economic recovery tool, which is extremely helpful."

According to Kelley Gibson, the president of the Cultural Alliance, York County's cultural groups are still working to recover from an estimated $17.97 billion pandemic loss as of July 2021. 

A salsa dance class at Greater York Dance is part of the Cultural Alliance of York County's Raise the Curtain event.

"They need us to help them dim the lights, draw the curtains and reconnect with the arts that bring us joy and healing," Gibson said. 

Here is a full list of the Raise the Curtain events: 

Monday, Feb. 14:

  • Celebrate Black History Month with a virtual presentation by Union Lutheran Church and Weary Arts Group at 6 p.m. Interested individuals can join the presentation virtually via livestream on the Union Lutheran and Cultural Alliance of York Facebook pages.

Tuesday, Feb. 15: 

  • York Story Slam: ABOUT LAST NIGHT. Hosted online via Zoom with Cultural Alliance's Rita Whitney at 7 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 17:

  • World Art Drop York, all day. This event encourages artists to create a piece of art and hide it somewhere in the world for somebody else to find as a "random act of kindness." Interested individuals can provide clues on social media, and the finder of the art piece gets to keep it. Use the hashtag #YorkArtDrop to keep up with all art that drops.
  • Starting at 5:30 p.m., Cultural Alliance President Kelley Gibson will be behind the bar serving drinks as a part of Aviano’s Celebrity Bartending series. Aviano's is located at 101 S. Duke St.
  • Royal Square gallery crawl from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Starting at 6 p.m., beginner salsa dancing class at Greater York Dance, 3524 E. Market St.

Saturday, Feb. 19:

  • From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Family Day with the York County History Center includes “Made in York” at the Agricultural and Industrial Museum, 217 W. Princess St.
  • At 10:30 a.m., Dvorak’s New World Open Dress Rehearsal presented by the York Symphony Orchestra at the Appell Center for the Performing Arts, 50 N. George St.
  • Starting at 1:30 p.m., trumpet master class presented by the York Symphony Orchestra. The class will be held at the Appell Center for the Performing Arts

For full details for any of the events, visit www.culturalyork.org/events/raisethecurtain/.

“We wanted to really be able to promote the arts and cultural sector, in addition to our own partners, so the campaign is to raise awareness for all of the great artists and cultural organizations in York County," Whitney said. 

Using the York365 platform, the Cultural Alliance  can organize all events into different groups based on COVID-19 safety.

For example, site users can filter events based on masking or vaccine policies.

“That will help people feel safer," Whitney said. "I went to see 'Rent' at the Appell Center, and it was a relief to get back to those events. It's proof we can go back safely to those things."

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.