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Bucks Playhouse, Mercer Museum take part in Senate hearing

Two Bucks County cultural institutions were featured in a Senate committee hearing that highlighted the value of historic, arts, and cultural organizations to local and state economies, and the support they need to survive the challenges of the pandemic.
State Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-10) Monday, co-hosted the Senate Democratic Policy Committee Hearing on the Impact of COVID-19 on the Arts, Cultural, and Historical Institutions of Pennsylvania.
Two local panelists, Kyle McKoy, president & CEO of the Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle, and Alexander Fraser, producing director of the Bucks County Playhouse, provided testimony on the challenges of serving the public during the pandemic.
“The public and private sectors have responded in tremendous ways to support charitable organizations. A key shift in giving has been the increased focus on the need for nonprofit entities to receive general operating support,” McKoy testified.
“Just like the for-profit sector, there is a cost for doing business ... we need to pay people, maintain properties, buildings and offices. ... nonprofits are vital to the health and viability of our local communities. Nonprofits support other businesses – banking and financial services, manufacturing, hospitality, printing, technology, and the list goes on.”
McKoy added that the Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle’s combined total economic impact is $13.9 million, in direct, indirect and induced spending for the Doylestown area. Similarly, Fraser said the Bucks County Playhouse drew over 85,000 visitors to New Hope, generating $10 million to the Pennsylvania economy last year.
“Like all performing arts institutions, today, the Playhouse is fighting to stay alive. As a young nonprofit organization with no endowment, the Playhouse is particularly vulnerable,” testified Fraser. “Please allow theaters to resume indoor performances with prudent safety guidelines such as the allowance of 50% occupancy for indoor restaurants.”