From the city streets of Logan Square to the woodlands of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania touts a wide variety of geographies. Every corner of the state supports networks of creative entrepreneurs working hard to achieve creative fulfillment, business growth, and social impact.

KACE aspires to build an ecosystem of like-minded arts and culture and/or economic development organizations committed to equitable, measurable, and lasting revitalization in Pennsylvania communities. KACE organizations include a range of emerging and established organizations that bring expertise and innovation together around a shared approach to fostering creative economies across the Commonwealth. Explore the profiles below to learn more about the organizations working to foster equitable creative economies in Pennsylvania communities.

Creative Business Accelerator | CraftNOW | PA Wilds Center | ACRE Partners | Erie Center for Arts and Technology | Valley Fab Lab | STEAMSHOP | Oil Region Alliance

"KACE enables me to keep CraftNOW well connected with peers and programs from across the state to share best practices and lessons learned in creativity-driven economic development."

Leila Cartier Executive Director | CraftNOW

Creative Business Accelerator

Pittsburgh, PA

KACE Contact: Katie Johnson | CBA Director | Bridgeway Capital

In 2016, Bridgeway Capital launched the Creative Businesses Accelerator (CBA) to channel its 30 years of business building and community development capability into the creative economy of western Pennsylvania. The CBA empowers creative businesses to contribute more actively to equitable economic growth. Strong and successful creative businesses emerge as effective allies in Bridgeway’s efforts to make western Pennsylvania a thriving region for all. They achieve financial resilience, grow small businesses, create quality jobs, reactivate post-industrial spaces, and bring commercial and creative vitality to disinvested communities in need of new and innovative economic activity.

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Philadelphia, PA

KACE Contact: Leila Cartier | Executive Director | CraftNOW

CraftNOW Philadelphia unites the leading institutions and artists of Philadelphia’s community in a celebration of the city’s rich legacy in the field, its internationally-recognized contemporary scene, and its important role as an incubator for arts based in wood, clay, fiber, metal and glass. CraftNOW invites locals and visitors alike to explore Philadelphia’s innovations in the world of the handmade. CraftNOW was founded by a consortium of individuals, galleries, museums, universities, retailers and civic organizations. Though diverse in background, CraftNOW has been united in its desire to capitalize upon Philadelphia’s outstanding craft resources and highlight the city’s continuing role in defining the future of craft.

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"Although we all are supporting a wide range creative economies and entrepreneurs in different geographies, the KACE partners benefit from aligned goals and shared metrics for equitable economic growth."

Abbi Peters Chief Operating Officer | PA Wilds Center

PA Wilds Center

Coudersport, PA

KACE Contact: Abbi Peters | Chief Operating Officer | PA Wilds Center

The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc. (PA Wilds Center) is a nonprofit that integrates conservation and economic development to strengthen and inspire communities in the Pennsylvania Wilds. The Pennsylvania Wilds, one of the state’s 11 official tourism regions, is a large rural area that covers about a quarter of the Commonwealth. Tourism currently accounts for about 11 percent of the region’s economy. In addition to the jobs it creates, it also creates amenities that make it easier for our region’s larger employers to attract and retain talent and improves quality of life for residents. Visitors currently spend an estimated $1.8 billion annually in the Pennsylvania Wilds.

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ACRE Partners

Johnstown, PA

KACE Contact: Lindsay K. Gates | Execute Director | Touchstone Center for Crafts

The Alliance for Creative Rural Economies (ACRE Partners) is a scalable model to bring creativity-driven and COVID-19 responsive economic development to rural areas across western Pennsylvania and beyond; meeting creatives where they are in their creative career journeys and offering multiple levels of support and resources to achieve business stability. ACRE Partners aims to support local, regional, and national creative entrepreneurs that are interested in achieving creative fulfillment, financial resilience, and social impact in the Johnstown area.

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"Bridgeway has learned so much from the other partners about the opportunities and challenges facing creative entrepreneurs from urban and rural settings, and everything in between."

Katie Johnson CBA Director at Bridgeway Capital

Erie Center for Arts and Technology

Erie, PA

KACE Contact: Jude Shingle | Arts Program Director | Erie Center for Arts and Technology

Erie Center for Arts and Technology (ECAT) recently launched the ErieMade Business Academy, a free six month accelerator program for creative businesses based at the area. ECAT is a community-based educational arts and career training facility that inspires, educates and empowers people of all ages with adult job training and creative youth programs. The ErieMade Business Academy is designed for emerging and established creative businesses (makers, artists, designers, craftspeople, an/or micro manufacturers) in the Erie area looking to pursue meaningful business growth. The program is a strategic collaboration between ECAT, the Creative Business Accelerator at Bridgeway Capital, and Erie Arts and Culture.

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Valley Fab Lab

Sharon, PA

KACE Contact: Maggie Horne | Director | Gannon University SBDC

The mission of the Valley Fab Lab is to support local artisans and entrepreneurs in an inclusive, creative, and collaborative space. It is a place where a variety of makers can enjoy the creative process and/or pursue entrepreneurial growth. Valley Fab Lab began when three entities combined their resources to bring a makerspace to the community. The Valley Fab Lab works to provide diverse educational programming at the intersection of art and technology. It serves as a hub for regional makers to share ideas, and for the community members to access education. Valley Fab Lab aims to jumpstart microenterprises and provide underserved citizens a pathway to prosperity through making.

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"We're always looking for new ways to show students pathways to entrepreneurship, and KACE will provide examples of success to them consider."

Sharon Massey Associate Professor | Indiana University of Pennsylvania


Indiana, PA

KACE Contact: Sharon Massey | Assoc. Prof, | Indiana University of PA

STEAMSHOP is an interdisciplinary makerspace co-located with entrepreneurial services. The facility is available to students and faculty from every department on campus and was designed by an interdisciplinary team to ensure that it meets the needs of a diverse group of users. The STEAMSHOP is positioned to promote interdisciplinary collaboration across IUP. Additionally, STEAMSHOP has a commitment to diversity and inclusion, with targeting programming to ensure that women and those pushed to the margins feel welcome and empowered in the facility. STEAMSHOP has been envisioned from the ground up as an interdisciplinary, community-focused learning facility that embraces a maker culture.

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Oil Region Alliance

Oil City, PA

KACE Contact: John Philips | President & CEO | Oil City Alliance

The territory served by the Oil Region Alliance includes all of Venango County in addition to the borough of Hydetown, Oil Creek Township, and the City of Titusville in eastern Crawford County. The mission of the Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism is to manage the Oil Region National Heritage Area and to increase the prosperity of the Oil Region by enticing people to live, work, learn and play in “the Valley that Changed the World” through the preservation, promotion, development, and support of historical, educational, natural, recreational, residential, commercial and industrial destinations.

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