GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Three cultural organizations in Berks County are being offered some help in weathering the financial storm brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Commonwealth Financing Authority has approved grants for the Foundation for the Reading Public Museum ($85,280), the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts ($66,263), and the Reading Symphony Orchestra ($39,083).

The organizations can use the money to offset revenue they lost as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state's shutdown order.

"During this difficult time, it's rewarding when we are able to reach out to local organizations to provide support," said state Rep. Tom Caltagirone. "I am relieved to see three local organizations will receive the help they need."

The money comes from the state's COVID-19 Cultural and Museum Preservation Grant Program, which is funded through the $2.2 trillion federal CARES Act that President Trump signed into law in March.

"I'm hopeful these grants will help our local organizations and help diminish some of the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic," said state Rep. Mark Rozzi said. "This year has been one unlike any other, so it's rewarding to see federal funds going back to our community to help some of the organizations in need."

Both the Reading Public Museum and the GoggleWorks have reopened their doors, with safety measures in place to protect both visitors and staff.

The Reading Symphony Orchestra, however, has yet to perform a concert since the COVID-19 outbreak began. The RSO canceled its final two concerts of last season and the first three concerts of the current season.

In April, the orchestra received a loan through the CARES Act's Paycheck Protection Program to help pay its musicians and staff through the end of the shortened 2019-20 season.

"Arts and cultural organizations play a critical role in improving the quality of life and economic vitality of Reading and Berks County," said state Sen. Judy Schwank. "These funds will help our local organizations weather the impact of COVID-19 and continue to serve our community."

As of now, the RSO's next concert is set for New Year's Eve, Dec. 31.

The CFA also approved Tuesday a $48,478 grant for Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust.

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