Joe Giles, County Councilman, Erie County (PA)
Throughout his tenure as a legislator in Erie County, Councilman Giles has consistently and creatively sought opportunities to promote the arts for all in Erie County. He served on the Warner Theater Preservation Committee, which preserved an original Warner Brothers theater for use as a performing arts venue. He obtained funding for the renovation and addition to the Erie Art Museum. Commissioner Giles served on the Board of the Arts Council of Erie, now known as ArtsErie, for close to 30 years, retiring only when new term limits were adopted.
As a county councilman, Giles was deeply concerned with the funding of Erie County’s regional assetswhich included arts and cultural organizations. In 2007, he chaired the Erie County Gaming Revenue Committee, which developed a plan for utilizing funding from a new casino to support regional assets. Most recently, Councilman Giles initiated a Poetry Committee and the creation of a Poet Laureate position for Erie County, which is funded by the county government. This move has resulted in the creation of an anthology of poems from Erie County poets.