The Berks Arts Council has been promoting the arts in Berks County since 1969, when a group of local volunteer artists and arts patrons formed an umbrella arts organization to serve the greater Reading community.

Funding from The Wyomissing Foundation has helped the organization’s operating capacity and has supported the council’s own programs, including the Bandshell Concert Series, the Berks Jazz Fest, and the Pagoda Awards.

Madame ButterflyThe Berks Arts Council also actively cultivates diverse arts initiatives throughout the county. The Wyomissing Foundation has lent support to numerous arts activities spanning the fields of music, film, pottery, etc. Examples include the following:

  • The Berks Opera Workshop
    A live concert version of Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly” was presented at the Reading Area Community College Miller Center for the Arts. Prior to the opera, a preview lecture took place at the Reading Public Museum. At the museum event and the performance, members of the Japanese American Alumni Club held educational demonstrations of Japanese culture.
  • Reading Film Festival
    At the three-day festival, emerging filmmakers competed for a concierge package to support their next project in Reading. The weekend featured events in networking, education, and film, and included appearances by nationally acclaimed filmmakers.
  • School ActivitiesStudents making pottery
    Reading Intermediate High School presented an assembly to students featuring members of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. After the school day, a Berks Jazz Jam event was held with students from every school district in the county.

Students from the John Paul II Center for Special Learning traveled to Clay on Main, in Lancaster, four times throughout the school year to develop skills in pottery making.

  • Vox Philia and Berks Sinfonietta
    Vox Philia premiered a Christmas carol, commissioned by them, at two holiday concerts and produced a video about the project.

In addition, the Berks Sinfonietta collaborated with Vox Philia Chamber Choir for a new arrangement of Mozart’s Requiem, as well as works by Beethoven and Shostakovich.

Student actors of the Olivet Boys and Girls ClubFoundation support also has enabled the Berks Arts Council to increase the funds made available to a variety of local grant recipients as part of the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA) re-grant program sponsored by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. The following organizations, and others, received PPA support:Berks Ballet

  • Olivet Boys & Girls Club: Olivet Musical Theatre Camp
  • Reading Buccaneers, Inc.: Big Sounds in Motion
  • Hawk Mountain Sanctuary: The Art of John James Audubon: Birds of America
  • Berks Ballet Theatre: The Nutcracker Ballet
  • Fall Festival of the Arts: En Mis Palabras
  • Muhlenberg Arts Board: Summer Concert Series
  • Reading Recreation Commission: Art Sampler Program for City Youth
  • Reading Theater Project: Marriage Expo
  • Reading Downtown Improvement District: MidDay Cafes
  • Kelsey Frankowski/Lore Stephan: The Red Tent project
  • Santo D. Marabella: Getting Complete!
  • Jennifer Hetrick: The Labors of Our Fingertips: Poems from Manufacturing History in Berks County
  • Art Plus Gallery: Outreach Gallery
    Buccaneers drum and bugle corps

Cover of book of poetry by Jennifer Hetrick

Olivet players perform "Shrek"