Summer Festival of the Arts Now Hosted By The Cultural Alliance

Summer Festival of the Arts
Now Hosted By
The Cultural Alliance

Welcome To The Cultural Alliance,

The Region’s Epicenter for the Arts!

Bringing you internationally acclaimed visual and performing artists, with eclectic programming that features everything from Hip Hop to Beethoven, public art to world-class museums. Broadway to Black Box Theater, and everything in between. Explore the arts with us!

About The Cultural Alliance

The Cultural Alliance (TCA) aims to be a broad coalition of arts and cultural organizations, businesses, nonprofits, venues, individual artists, and supporters of arts and culture that is dedicated to bolstering the overall economic and cultural advancement of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania while celebrating the diverse fabric of our region.

Our Vision

The Cultural Alliance believes that arts and culture should be embossed in all sectors of the community. By leveraging the power of creativity, we can help to unite and invigorate our region by building relationships, fostering growth and encouraging cultural connections in Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.

Our Mission

The Cultural Alliance fosters support for the advancement of arts and culture in Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. We will be the innovative leader for a thriving regional arts community. We value strategic partnerships that strengthen vibrant diversity of arts and culture for residents, artists, cultural and civic organizations, business, and tourists.

Our Strategic Goals

  • Support local artists, creative small businesses, and arts and cultural organizations
  • Promote awareness, appreciation and engagement in cultural initiatives and the arts
  • Amplify and promote the positive cultural brand of the region
  • Work to increase public and private investments in cultural institutions and artists in the region and support policies that create a steady stream of funding for arts and cultural entities
  • Support policies that strengthen the power of artists, cultural organizations, and creative small businesses to drive workforce development and economic resilience

Our Founding Members

Officers of the Board of Directors

Chester Amedia, MD; President

Chuck George, Hapco, CEO; Vice-President

Bonnie Burdman, Executive Director, Community Relations/Government Affairs, Youngstown Area Jewish Federation; Secretary

Ken Bigley, Vice-President JAC Management Group; Treasurer

Our History

In July 2019, Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel directed the University to engage Jennifer Cole, then–Chief of Staff at The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, to conduct interviews and a general assessment of the region’s cultural and creative sectors to prepare for the creation of a new, organized cultural coalition. Cole conducted numerous in-person interviews and facility site visits with representatives of the arts and culture sector, including nonprofit, university (YSU), and for-profit leaders. Cole then benchmarked the Youngstown Area with other similar-sized communities around the country to complete a Cultural Asset Report and series of recommendations.

Based on her in-depth research, Cole found that Youngstown and its environs, a beautiful and active community with a rich history of industrial and manufacturing strength, has experienced a series of economic downturns leading to significant population decline and challenges to workforce retention, land use, and economic vibrancy. Despite these difficulties, the community has maintained a strong arts and cultural heritage–with historic world-class venues–anchored by Youngstown State University’s Cliffe College of Creative Arts.

Specifically, the region has outstanding facilities for cultural participation, including a wide range of performance and event venues such as the Covelli Centre Arena with a capacity of nearly 6000 seats, YSU's Ford and Spotlight Theaters, Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre, Packard Music Hall, Youngstown Playhouse, Warren Community Amphitheatre, DeYor Performing Arts Center, Robins Theatre, Stambaugh Auditorium, and numerous other event spaces that host cultural and arts events throughout the year. These events highlight the strong, diverse, and proud ethnic heritages of many who call the region home.

Based on Cole’s findings, YSU convened a group of community arts and cultural leaders to begin planning for the creation of a collaborative, community coalition to determine how best to leverage these regional strengths and to amplify the positive cultural identity of the entire community. The group conducted additional research and interviews with groups across the country to consider best practices in supporting wide networks of organizations working to support, scale, and amplify regional arts and culture.

In February 2021, mission/vision statements and bylaws were adopted, and The Cultural Alliance was formalized. In May 2021, the group received recognition from the Ohio Secretary of State as a nonprofit entity and is pursuing its federal tax-exempt certificate. During the development of operations and planning, YSU has agreed to provide administrative housing for The Cultural Alliance.

Officially, the purpose of The Cultural Alliance is to collaborate in the coordination of diverse and exciting cultural offerings; promote an increase in public and private investments in cultural institutions and local artists; evaluate and facilitate opportunities for shared services and expenses; support policies that strengthen the power of artists, cultural organizations, and related small businesses that will drive workforce development and economic resilience in the region; and promote and support initiatives to allow the region to evolve and thrive as a cultural destinations for visitors and residents.

In short, The Cultural Alliance is designed to enrich the economic vitality and overall quality of life in Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. Come join us! For more information, please contact Katie Merrill at or 330.941.2307.