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Blair County Arts Festival to proceed

The Blair County Arts Foundation announced the organization has received funding to proceed with the 2004 Blair County Arts Festival.
BCAF Executive Director, Kate Shaffer, received word Thursday from Allegheny Ridge Corporation Executive Director, Jane Sheffield, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has authorized her group to fund the Arts Festival under the Heritage Parks Program.
According to Sheffield, the foundation upon which the heritage park is structured involves building regional coalitions of community leaders, nonprofit interest groups, the private sector, state agencies and federal government.
“It is through these regional partnerships and planning strategies that the Commonwealth’s multitude of cultural, historic, recreational, natural and scenic resources are identified and promoted to strengthen regional economies,” said Sheffield.
“The Blair County Arts Festival is consistent with the DCNR’s strategy and they feel very strongly about supporting this long standing community celebration. This enabled Allegheny Ridge Corporation to respond to the urgency of the Festival’s funding dilemma by appropriating program dollars to the event.”
Sheffield reported that, “The Allegheny Ridge Corporation Board of Directors is thrilled to have the opportunity to further develop important partnerships between Altoona’s Heritage Discovery Center and the region’s cultural organizations.”
“The BCAF is beyond grateful for the DCNR and Allegheny Ridge Corporation support,” said Kate Shaffer. “Allegheny Ridge Corporation has always maintained a strong presence in the community’s cultural life. We have previously worked together on the restoration of the Mishler Theatre and the development of the Blair County Arts Hall of Fame.”
Shaffer said, “Their rescuing of this year’s Arts Festival makes an extraordinary contribution to the area’s Arts organizations and the audience they serve.”
Shaffer stated that last week’s cancellation announcement also prompted an encouraging outpouring of Festival support from the business, professional and private sectors.
“We have received word from Scott Stuttard, of the Lytle Group, that Hoss’s and Sheetz, Incorporated have agreed to help sponsor this year’s Arts Festival. Both of these organizations are extremely community oriented,” said Shaffer. “They are consistently generous when it comes to committing financial resources to sustain this region’s quality of life.”
According to Shaffer, the participation of Allegheny Ridge Corporation, Hoss’s and Sheetz has provided the stability necessary for event planners to move forward with the 2004 Blair County Arts Festival.