People_Arts Festival Reading

By: 69 News 2.7.17

READING, Pa. – The GoggleWorks is celebrating the start of its 12th year by reaping the rewards of a fundraising effort launched by the arts center’s new leader.

The GoggleWorks announced Tuesday that it has received more than $500,000 in contributions to support new and continuing artistic and education programs.

The Windgate Charitable Foundation granted the largest gift of $300,000 in matching funds over three years. Other major donors include Ray and Carole Neag, East Penn Manufacturing, and Kris Kraras with White Star Tours.

“The GoggleWorks community — our board, staff, and artists — are honored by these gifts,” said Levi Landis, the GoggleWorks’ new executive director. “For the last 10 years, we have relied on the continued support of our founders and a small group of donors. We continue to see so many help sustain our mission, but it’s especially meaningful to discover new donors coming forward on a regional and national scale toward a fresh vision.”

Landis has been on the job at the GoggleWorks for nearly a year. He previously served as the director of business operations at The Center for Art in Wood in Philadelphia.

The new fundraising effort is part of his plan to bring new initiatives to the GoggleWorks, which bills itself as the nation’s largest, interactive arts center.

“I can’t give away our surprises,” Landis said, “but we have an aggressive plan for 2017 and 2018 to treat GoggleWorks like the country’s largest, creative start-up. I’m digging through a list of 12 new initiatives for support from this funding, which I believe will keep GoggleWorks the most compelling art center anyone can experience.”

The center also enters 2017 with a new leader at the helm of its board of directors. Gust Zogas, a former president of Reading Area Community College, will serve as the board’s chairman. He follows Paul Cohn, who led the board during a refocusing effort that led to Landis’ hiring.

“It’s like changing the tire on a moving car,” Landis said of the organization’s transition. “GoggleWorks serves a quarter of a million people annually through a host of substantive educational programs, but we have many challenges to overcome in order to be more relevant to our immediate community and more sustainable in the future. Luckily, we have an all-star staff and volunteer base that will help GoggleWorks transform lives.”

The GoggleWorks is open daily from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Admission and parking are free.