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Agency Overview

Mission of the PCA

The mission of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) is to foster the excellence, diversity, and vitality of the arts in Pennsylvania and to broaden the availability and appreciation of those arts throughout the state.

Vision of the PCA

The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts believes that arts and culture play a vital role in the diverse communities across Pennsylvania. The multitude of artists, arts organizations, and arts programs and projects provide our fellow citizens with opportunities to engage in and benefit from the arts as creators/artists, audiences or participants. Statewide arts in education programs provide schools and community settings access to the arts for people of all ages. The PCA will continue to—directly and through regional and statewide partnerships—provide support and information to enhance the delivery of cultural services to the people of Pennsylvania.

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.

In Fiscal Year 2017-18, the PCA had a grants budget of $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

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.

At the Council’s request, in 2018, the PCA began its next strategic planning process.  Throughout the year, information has been gathered from artists, arts and community organizations, schools, commonwealth agencies, community leaders and commonwealth citizens through online surveys, community meetings, partner meetings, one-on-one interviews, networking at statewide events and conferences and 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. Plan drafting is currently underway with a March 2019 goal for Council adoption of the 2019-2024 Strategic Plan.