Theatre Philadelphia’s Statement on the Proposal to Eliminate the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy and the Cultural Fund | Theatre Philadelphia
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Theatre Philadelphia’s Statement on the Proposal to Eliminate the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy and the Cultural Fund

May 5, 2020

Theatre Philadelphia’s Statement on the Proposal to Eliminate the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, the Cultural Fund, and Arts Funding

Arts and culture are a crucial part of the fabric of our city. The Office of Arts and Culture, the Cultural Fund, and the resources that support Philadelphia’s creative industries are more essential than ever, especially as Philadelphia begins the steps of revitalization in the coming months. Theatre Philadelphia asserts that Mayor Kenney’s proposal to eliminate these resources is unacceptable.

Theatre Philadelphia has benefited in measurable and immeasurable ways from these organizations. This year, we received a Cultural Fund grant of $6,429 to support our mission and programs. Through this opportunity, and the opportunities we have been extended in previous years, we have brought live theatrical events in our region to millions of audience members. We have expanded participation in our Barrymore Awards program, with a year-round adjudication process that has offered over $90,000 annually in support to artists, educators, and organizations of all sizes in our culminating annual celebration. We’ve founded new programs like the annual Philly Theatre Week, a 10-day event bringing thousands of people to our city. We’ve established an ACCESS Live partnership, which allows $2 theatre tickets for 6,000 audience members across our region using an EBT Card. These are just some of the many ways our organization helps serve the city, efforts that were made possible by the Cultural Fund and the Office of Arts and Culture.

The arts and culture sector of Philadelphia binds our city together, providing employment to countless individuals, and offering economic benefits to other sectors, such as food service, hospitality, travel, and transportation. It also provides access to places of community where Philadelphians can turn to for reflection and connection, especially when times are difficult.

During this time of lockdown due to COVID-19, while theatre buildings are dark, we have seen leaders of organizations, artists, and audiences alike come together to support one another. Within a matter of weeks, theatres have responded with virtual, interactive programming. Theatres have continued to work with students of all ages in educational and after-school programs that are badly needed by overrun parents. They have continued to offer audiences alternative forms of media with local, live, and personal stories. At the same time, theatres have also continued to be a source of creativity, comfort, empathy, and enrichment, bringing our city’s community together during a time of hardship and isolation. These are proposed cuts to the funds and resources that theatres rely on the most, proposed at a moment when the arts have never been more essential.

At this time, we have called on the entire theatre and arts community to join together in opposition of Mayor Kenney’s proposals through a collective letter urging all City Council Members to oppose this budget. This letter represents signatures from 80 organizations in 7 districts, and counting. Our cultural organizations and our audiences will continue to advocate for the preservation of the Office of Arts and Culture, the Cultural Fund, and the city’s arts funding. Theatre Philadelphia will fight tirelessly against efforts to shutter them.

We extend our gratitude to our creative colleagues, arts leaders, advocates, patrons, and audiences, as always, for their blood, sweat, tears, and investment in the enduring importance of the arts. Our arts are essential to the life of our city. We must preserve them.

Sincerely,

Theatre Philadelphia’s Staff and Board
 

Jason Lindner, Board President
Emily Zeck, Board Treasurer
Katherine Clark, Marketing Manager
James Haro, Programs Manager
Patreshettarlini Adams, Board Member
Daniel Perelstein, Board Member
Rachel Camp, Board Member
Leonard C. Haas, Board Member
Deborah Block, Board Secretary
Grace Grillet, Board Member
Kash Goins, Board Member
Erlina Ortiz, Board Member