Rich Howells

With arts funding in danger, In Concert with the Arts shows its importance in Wilkes-Barre on March 26

With arts funding in danger, In Concert with the Arts shows its importance in Wilkes-Barre on March 26
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In January, Lackawanna County Commissioner Laureen Cummings talked about changing the way the county’s annual arts and education tax is distributed, which could have limited or cut funds for projects, venues, and events across the area, but the Tea Party Republican was quickly met with resistance from the local arts community, resulting in Commissioner Patrick O’Malley promising to continue the funding as is. Now, arts funding across the country is in even greater danger.

President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget cuts take aim at the arts, eliminating financial support for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, specifically.

While not naming Trump or his fellow Republicans, a newly formed network of “local artists, artisans, actors, and musicians” will come together at the Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre (537 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre) on Sunday, March 26 from 2 p.m.-5 p.m. for In Concert with the Arts, a volunteer, nonprofit effort that will serve as “a celebration and reminder of the importance of arts and culture in the Greater Wyoming Valley.”

General admission tickets are $15 and can be purchased in advance via Eventbrite. Proceeds benefit the arts through The Luzerne Foundation. Donations can also be made to the ICWTA Fund by mailing a check to: ICWTA Fund, The Luzerne Foundation, 140 Main St., Luzerne, PA 18709.

The event page explains that In Concert with the Arts is not a political statement, but a way to raise awareness of the importance of the arts in the community:

We are representing a group of local artists, artisans, actors and musicians – a group concerned with the future of the arts in Wyoming Valley and beyond. As in the case with the transition of any higher-level political administration, there are always questions as to funding of government programs. Regardless of who comprises the new political administration, arts always seem to be at the forefront of financial cuts. We are neither Republican nor Democrat but rather try to be bipartisan – this is not a protest of the current administration but rather a rejoicing of all the current artistic avenues open to the youth of our valley. We are just trying to be a little pro-active and positive about the future of the arts.

In addition to a variety of live art activities, In Concert with the Arts will feature performances by:

Andrea Bogusko
Borealis Quartet
Dane Bower
Alex Brandreth
Kevin Costley
Chris Fetchko
Alyssa Golden
Zack Hammond
Shari Epk Kantor
Mark Kratz
Mark Laubach and the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Choir
Dawn Colangelo Leas
TDoyle Leverett
Jessica Jean Lochie
Eddie Pashinski
Marcie Herman Riebe
Heidi Germaine Schnappauf
Connie Scott
Wayne Smith
Nathan Thomas
Ryan Wasko
Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre Performers
Music Box Dinner Playhouse Players
Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School Dancers

Show Director: Joe Sheridan
Musical Director: Michele Millington
Technical & Logistics Director: John W. Dawe
Production Coordinator (for LTWB): Jill Worthington

For more information, see the Facebook event page or visit

Photo of “Rock of Ages” at the LTWB by On My Cue Photography