The Father Ryan Arts Center has its origins in the outcome of the 1994 Sanders Consent Decree, which sought to address discrimination in public housing throughout Allegheny County. McKees Rocks was identified as one of seven communities in Allegheny County cited in a housing discrimination lawsuit filed by Cheryl Sanders and residents of low-income public housing plans in Allegheny County. The suit charged that a disproportionate share of these housing plans were located in a handful of communities in Allegheny County. On behalf of the people of McKees Rocks, Focus on Renewal (F.O.R.) applied to The Sanders Task Force and was awarded $800,000. As the steward of the settlement funds, FOR rallied residents to determine how the settlement funds should be used. Unanimously, the community called for a place to come together and express ideas, share local traditions and grow culturally resulting in the creation of the Father Ryan Arts Center.
The Father Ryan Arts Center receives general operating support from the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD), a unit of local government with a mission to support and finance regional assets in the area of libraries, parks and recreation, cultural, sports and civic facilities and programs.
A Place for the Arts
The Father Ryan Arts Center of Focus On Renewal is a fully-accessible, multi-level facility with a vision of creating an environment that reaffirms the area’s traditions while expanding the region’s cultural and artistic opportunities. It accomplishes this vision by presenting interdisciplinary arts programming, live theater productions and unique exhibitions.
The Father Ryan Arts Center creates opportunities for the community and the individual to be inspired, empowered and enlightened through the arts.
Through the arts, the Father Ryan Arts Center will foster a sense of accomplishment and hope by developing the spirit, mind and body of all who participate.