Arts and cultural community demonstrate at City Hall for more funds

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — On Wednesday, members of Philadelphia’s arts community gathered in a rally outside City Hall to demand more city funding for arts and culture organizations in Philadelphia.

“Arts and culture, make some noise!” Patty Wilson Aden, president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, exclaimed as fellow protesters shouted approval.

Aden said she’s had enough of the city treating the creative economy as what she calls an afterthought. She believes that the arts are an essential player in achieving the city’s priorities.

“Violence prevention, developing creative entrepreneurs, developing the workforce — we’re already doing that work,” Aden said.

She and other arts advocates are asking for an additional $6.2 million in city funding to support city-owned cultural institutions, such as the African American Museum of Philadelphia and the Dell Music Center.

Patty Wilson Aden, President and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.

Photo creditPat Loeb/KYW Newsradio

They also want the money to support arts organizations, such as Cambodian American Girls Empowering. They were part of the nine groups that were to present their artistic proposals during the demonstrations. Dancer Seleena Hing represented them with a performance.

“That’s why I’m here, to do what I love, Cambodian dance, and to be part of something,” Hing said.

Councilman Derek Green came out to show his support and assure protesters that the Philadelphia City Council intends to increase the mayor’s budget.

“We will put the money back in the budget like we do every year. It’s unfortunate that we have to go through this dance every year, no pun intended,” Green said.

In Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposal for fiscal year 2023 in March, the budget would allocate about $2 million to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and about $2.5 million to Mural Arts Philadelphia. The budget proposal also indicated that other arts funding would be incorporated into various city departments, including dollars for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.

At the time, the Philadelphia Cultural Alliance criticized planned $1 million budget cuts to their contribution to the cultural fund, saying it would “have a real and potentially devastating effect on these small and medium-sized arts organizations, many of which are only just beginning to grow.” recover from the pandemic.

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