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Statement On City of Philadelphia’s FY2023 Budget

With the passage of the City of Philadelphia’s FY2023 Budget, I can affirmatively state: Advocacy works.

When the initial City budget was proposed in late March 2022, the Creative Economy and its priorities were nearly absent for a third straight year. As a sector, we knew that this was unacceptable and together, we marshaled a weeks-long advocacy campaign to ensure that arts and culture was represented in this budget, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A turning point for this advocacy was our #FundPHLArts Rally at City Hall on May 11. Nearly 200 artists, creative entrepreneurs, arts educators, organizational leaders, and arts and culture allies joined with the Cultural Alliance to highlight the city’s vibrant and diverse arts and culture industry, its essentiality to the local economy, and its critical role in supporting violence prevention initiatives, workforce development and creative entrepreneurship in Black and Brown communities. It also specifically called for the City of Philadelphia to increase its total budget support for arts and culture in FY2023 by $6.2 million, which would bring total City support for the industry to $14.7 million or .26 percent of the proposed $5.61 billion budget.

Through this rally – and with subsequent emails, letters, calls and social media posts focused on members of City Council – Philadelphia’s arts and culture community united and helped to deliver several important victories in next year’s City budget. Most notably, our powerful and collective voice helped to achieve: 

  • An additional $1 million to the Philadelphia Cultural Fund (PCF), maintaining its FY22 budget and City Council allocation at $3.5 million total.
  • Enhanced support for City of Philadelphia-owned arts and cultural institutions including the African American Museum and Mural Arts Philadelphia as well as continued support for the Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy (OACCE)
  • Further investment in City priorities, such as violence prevention and additional funding for security cameras.

These are steps in the right direction and demonstrate the power of the cultural sector’s high-energy advocacy campaign.  But there is still more to do and as we look ahead to the next mayoral election cycle, we will remain passionate, committed, and united in our advocacy for policy-driven public investment in the Creative Economy and its role in a resurgent Philadelphia.

Patricia Wilson Aden
President & CEO
Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance