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Agency Overview

Agency Mission 

The mission of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) is to strengthen the cultural, educational, and economic vitality of Pennsylvania's communities through the arts.

Cross-cutting value: diversity, equity, and inclusion

Promote equitable access for all Pennsylvanians to participate fully in a creative life and in the diverse forms of arts and culture in the commonwealth.

Read the PCA's solidarity statement on Black Lives Matter here


1.) Strengthen Pennsylvania communities through the arts.

  • Provide support for arts programming that engages Pennsylvanians throughout the commonwealth in experiencing the arts and exercising their creativity.
  • Invest in community-based arts projects that serve as catalysts to livability, economic development, and community connectedness.  
  • Work with public and private sector partners to build cross-sector collaborations to advance shared goals.
  • Preserve and promote Pennsylvania's diverse cultures and cultural heritage.

2.) Connect and increase Pennsylvanians' access to lifelong learning through the arts. 

  • Support arts in education to cultivate future innovators and build essential skills that promote success in school and career readiness.
  • Advance quality of life for Pennsylvanians of all ages through arts learning and creative endeavors.
3.) Champion public awareness and appreciation of the arts in Pennsylvania communities.

  • Inform and engage the public about the value and impact of the arts.
  • Encourage Pennsylvania's artists, arts organizations, and creative industries' capacity for marketing and sustainability.
  • Recognize and celebrate the arts and Pennsylvania's artists and arts organizations as contributing to the commonwealth's prosperity. 

PCA History

On October 26, 1966, Governor William D. Scranton signed enabling legislation establishing the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Through the provisions of Act No. 538, the Council is charged with "the encouragement and development of the various arts" in the Commonwealth. Funding for the PCA comes from the citizens of Pennsylvania through an annual state appropriation by the General Assembly and from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), a federal agency.

The Council's grants programs began in 1968 with a modest program of support for community arts festivals. Currently, the PCA accomplishes its mission through a combination of grants to the arts; partnerships and initiatives; technical assistance to partners and applicants; and by serving as a resource for arts-related information for public officials, other agencies of state government, and the general public. The PCA undertakes partnerships and initiatives to leverage opportunities, to seek solutions to challenges affecting the arts in the Commonwealth, and to initiate programs that will serve a broad spectrum of artists, arts organizations and arts participants throughout the state.

The PCA's current grants budget is $9,590,000. 


The PCA is governed by a Council of 19 members - 15 private citizens and four members of the General Assembly. The Council sets the mission and goals of the agency, evaluates the progress toward these goals, formulates policy, and makes final decisions on the use of funds.

The PCA’s staff administers the Council’s funding programs, partnerships, initiatives, and provides assistance to the Commonwealth’s arts organizations, arts programs, individual artists and the general public.

Pennsylvania Legislative Arts & Culture Caucus

Established in 2012, the Pennsylvania Legislative Arts and Culture Caucus is a bi-cameral, bi-partisan caucus of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, created to focus on the state's cultural assets. It was established at the suggestion of Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Arts and Culture Coalition, a statewide coalition representing arts, culture, public broadcasting, tourism, and zoos.

Strategic Plan

The PCA adopted its current, 2019-2024 Strategic Plan at its March 2019 Council meeting. The mission and goals featured above are the result of a year-long strategic planning process in which Council and staff worked to gather information from artists, arts and community organizations, schools, Commonwealth agencies, community leaders and commonwealth citizens. Tactics utilized include online surveys, community meetings, partner meetings, one-on-one interviews, networking at statewide events and conferences, as well as an in-depth landscape analysis. In October 2018, Council participated in a strategic planning retreat, facilitated by Dering Consulting, where research findings were presented and strategic priorities identified. 

In 1969 the PCA published its first survey of the arts in Pennsylvania. Since that initial survey, the Council has periodically assessed its role, redefining its goals. In 1973, the Council adopted its first set of goals, along with a formal grant application process and the establishment of advisory panels. In 1979, 1987, 1994, 2001, 2006 and 2012, the Council took its programs and policies to the citizens of Pennsylvania in a series of public meetings that enabled the PCA to develop a set of goals, strategies and tactics that were the basis for the PCA's Long-Range Strategic Plan.