Unlikely as it might seem, York has proven it has a penchant for the arts.

Somewhere in between a baseball stadium, a farm show hub and a mix of fast and fancy restaurants, an unassuming theater brings a different kind of entertainment to York City.

The Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center -- which provides live entertainment, including Broadway, comedy and family shows -- recently announced the public launch of its Sustainability Campaign. The fundraising effort aims to raise $3 million for renovations and improvements to the facility, including making seats more comfortable and connecting different lobbies. He said it might focus on improving sound and lighting, as well.

Wesler said the theater affects the city at large, with $10 million in economic impact each year. He said the theater has had 12 sell-outs so far this year, and in turn supports local restaurants and encourages safety through the amount of people that consistently come and go from the shows. Supporters see that kind of effect and want to support an organization like that, he said.

"I think it's incumbent on us to make sure that the theater is thriving and it is a good investment for the community."

'A vote of confidence': The campaign originally aimed at raising $2.5 million to eliminate the debt remaining from an extensive renovation completed in 2003, but had already met 94 percent of that goal during the campaign's quiet phase. The Strand-Capitol board then approved a decision to increase the campaign's goal by half a million dollars.


It was hoping to have 50 percent to 60 percent of its original goal at this time -- not 94 percent, said Ken Wesler, president and CEO of the Strand-Capitol.

He said he is grateful that York residents support and see the importance of the theater.

"We are interpreting this as a vote of confidence," he said. "I think that people recognize the value of what we're doing and the case for support kind of spoke for itself."

The public phase of the campaign officially begins April 1 and runs through June 30. Wesler said the Strand-Capitol holds private and public phases of a campaign in order to show donors that the effort is going to be successful by the time it goes public.

Wesler said the theater has about 150 volunteers, but its ramped-up schedule lends itself to a constant need for more. To volunteer for or donate to the Strand, call 717-846-1111 or visit strandcapitol.org.