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Longtime leader of state arts group steps down

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After 25 years in office, Philip Horn is leaving his role as executive director of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency that awards grants to artists and arts organizations around the commonwealth

Karl Blischke
Karl Blischke - ()

He is being replace by Karl Blischke, who worked for the council from 2000 to 2009 but has worked most recently for state agencies in Florida.

"I am delighted that Karl is rejoining the agency, bringing with him important experience, especially regarding economic development programs," Jeffrey Parks, the council's chairman, said in a statement. "I believe he will bring new perspectives and opportunities to the PCA."

Before rejoining the council, Blischke served in several senior-level positions in Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity and Governor's Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development.

He focused on Florida’s efforts to diversify its economy, promote business location and expansion in the state, rural economic development initiatives, and access to capital for small businesses.

"It is a pleasure to return to Pennsylvania where my previous work with the PCA’s many programs and initiatives taught me the business of state arts agencies," Blischke said in a statement. "My family and I look forward to being Pennsylvanians, me for the second time and my family for the first. Pennsylvania is a great state for the arts, with unbeatable opportunities for meaningful employment in creative industries and for everyone to experience arts and culture in every region. Having been away for nine years, I have come to appreciate even more the richness and diversity of the arts in the Keystone State."

Blischke's predecessor, Horn, is retiring from state government, having worked under five governors. He is the longest-serving executive director in the history of the council, which was founded in 1966.

Under Horn’s tenure, the council overhauled its approach to grantmaking; initiated Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, a state-based program of support for performing artists; and navigated many changes in the national and state funding landscape, according to a press release from the state. 

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