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Pennsylvania College Gets $500K for Live Event Tech Degree

A grant from the Steinman Foundation to the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design will support technology and classrooms for a new degree program preparing students to work in the live entertainment industry.

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(TNS) — A new program underway at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design aimed at boosting the ranks of live industry workers recently received a $500,000 boost in the form of a grant from The Steinman Foundation.

The grant will assist in developing the college's new live experience design and production major and its partnership with Rock Lititz and UK-based Academy of Live Technology, the college announced. The first cohort of live event majors began this fall at the downtown Lancaster PCA&D campus and will eventually train at new facilities under construction at Rock Lititz in Warwick Township.

There are 17 freshmen and two transfer students in the first cohort, said PCA&D spokesperson Daina Savage. However, freshmen don't declare their majors until spring so the number may change.

"We've started conservatively so that we can better manage the student and partnership experience as we get our first cohort through the curriculum," Savage said. "We plan to grow the program rapidly and expand capacity with each new class."

Tuition for the school is $29,250 per year. In addition to other college scholarships, the live experience applicants can also apply for special industry scholarships. Savage said there are four scholarship students in the live experience program this year.

Academy of Live Technology classrooms are to open in the fall 2024 semester when construction is expected to be completed on the $10 million Pod 1A, the 33,600-square-foot education facility. The new facility will adjoin existing large-scale rehearsal spaces at Rock Lititz, Studio 1 and Studio 2. In addition to classrooms, the new facility will house production space, digital labs, and a students' common area, with the option of expanding to the second and third floors to meet future needs. An additional rehearsal studio is also included in the structure, which will accommodate productions creating shows within the clubs, theaters, and small amphitheater markets, while providing PCA&D students with hands-on experiences in production technologies.

The plan is for students to attend their general education classes at PCA&D's downtown Lancaster facilities, then receive their immersive technical education on the Rock Lititz campus, earning a four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in live experience design and production.

Rock Lititz President and CEO Andrea Shirk previously said the target for the beginning phase is for 20 to 30 students with the potential for growth in response to demand.


The college also announced as part of the grant, the faculty leader of the Institute that guides the partnership will be known as the "Steinman Dean, Institute for Leadership, Creative Entrepreneurship, and Innovation."

Jason Hartz, the college's chief of staff and director of institutional research, will take on the role of Steinman Dean, as the new leader of the Institute for Leadership, Creative Entrepreneurship, and Innovation. Prior to joining PCA&D in 2020, Hartz was assistant professor of art history and chair of the art and design department at Adrian College in Michigan.

Hartz has more than two decades of experience in the classroom and in higher education administration and leadership. At PCA&D, Hartz has been fundamental in developing the Live Experience Design & Production curriculum and forging the partnership with ALT, the college said in its announcement.

PCA&D President Michael Molla said that the grant helps ensure that the Institute and the partnership can begin its work on a strong financial foundation.

Rock Lititz has said the education center — part of about $25 million in projects set for its campus — is needed to develop its live event workforce as the industry experiences robust growth.


Shirk said it's important to create opportunities for students to explore careers off the beaten path.

"Work in the live entertainment industry asks for both artists and technicians to find out-of-the-box solutions, to build today's most immersive experiences. Integrating students into the working environment at Rock Lititz will provide a level of education only gained from trying something first hand," Shirk wrote in a statement.

She has said that students will become industry professionals on day one, learning next to experts and working on active projects with current gear and they will leave the program with work experience and ready to transition onto Rock Lititz crews and teams.

Steinman Foundation President Shane Zimmerman said the college seized an opportunity to partner with global leaders in the live entertainment industry and would leverage the opportunity to address a unique set of workforce demands.

"This approach, which aligns educational instruction with employment opportunities, is consistent with other countywide initiatives that are currently underway through the work of the Lancaster County STEM Alliance," Zimmerman wrote in a statement.

In June, the program got a boost from a nonprofit group made up of live event professionals pledging $130,000 in scholarships for live experience design and production students in the program.

©2023 LNP (Lancaster, Pa.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.