History and mission
According to the 2000 U.S. census, there are 797,764 people of Slovak heritage living in the United States. Pennsylvania ranks first of the 50 states with 243,009 (30.5%) of these residents. Metropolitan Pittsburgh has 105,525, making it the #1 city in the world for people of Slovak heritage outside of Slovakia itself. Because of the heavy concentration of Slovak-Americans in the area, the Slovak Embassy opened an Honorary Consulate in Pittsburgh in 1997.
Prior to then, many of the Slovak cultural programs available to Western Pennsylvanians were offered by some of the local branches of the various national Slovak fraternal benefit societies. Attendance at these events was generally limited to members of the particular fraternal society sponsoring the event. Furthermore, most of the cultural events consisted of local folk entertainment only.
On March 17, 1997, Slovak Honorary Consul Joseph Senko formed a non-profit organization, Western Pennsylvania Slovak Cultural Association (WPSCA). It was formed to bring diverse authentic Slovak cultural programs to Western Pennsylvania for not only Slovak-Americans, but for the entire public to enjoy. The mission of WPSCA is to offer a variety of Slovak cultural and historic programs including some directly from Slovakia so that the attendees could appreciate the rich cultural talent which is available in the Slovak Republic; secondly, the programs are marketed and made available to all Slovak-Americans in the area, regardless of which Slovak society they are members, as well as the general public. The facilities for these events are always accessible to the physically challenged. Finally, by including representatives of other prominent Slovak organizations on the Board of Directors of WPSCA, there is an increase in the input of ideas, volunteers, attendance and the quality of the programs.