South Carolina Arts Alliance’s Betty Plumb, always an inspiration to me, had spoken for years about the Arts Caucus in South Carolina’s legislature. It was large and seemed very responsive to Betty and her arts advocates. To be honest, I was slightly jealous. But after speaking for some length with Betty about the caucus, I was determined to start one in Pennsylvania. I mean, how hard could it be, with the largest full-time legislature in the nation?
I first knew we—the Pennsylvania Citizens for the Arts Board of Directors at and I—had to identify the initial contact in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Our likely candidate was Senator Jay Costa (D-Allegheny). He had served on the Council of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) and was on the board of directors at several Pittsburgh area arts and culture organizations. My board chair, Mitch Swain, approached Sen. Costa about this idea to start a bi-cameral, bi-partisan Arts Caucus. We were positive the only way the caucus would work is for both Houses and political caucus to work together. To our delight, Sen. Costa thought the idea was great, agreed to act as a co-chair, and took on the task of identifying the other three Arts Caucus leaders.