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Statement On Philadelphia Cultural Fund Allocation In the Proposed City Budget

MARCH 31, 2022

The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance is deeply disappointed that the Kenney Administration did not maintain the Philadelphia Cultural Fund’s (PCF) comprehensive $3.5 million allocation in its proposed budget. As the City grapples with surging gun violence and a continued reckoning around equity and access, the decision to reduce the PCF by $1 million is shortsighted at best. PCF provides crucial financial support to hundreds of arts organizations located in neighborhoods across the city, which make significant contributions to the well-being and safety of residents. Understanding the significant impact of these organizations in their communities, in the FY21 funding cycle, PCF prioritized arts organizations that operated with budgets of less than $450,000. The loss of $1 million to the Cultural Fund will have a real and potentially devastating effect on these small and mid-sized arts organizations, many of which are only beginning to recover from the pandemic.

What is most disappointing, though, is that $3.5 million was deemed “too much” to allocate for arts and culture within a $5.61 billion budget (Less than 1%). This is hard to fathom knowing that the City is leaving $800 million in federal pandemic aid allocated to Philadelphia by the American Rescue Plan untouched in this budget cycle. While we can appreciate the desire to demonstrate fiscal responsibility, there is a lack of vision and innovation in this budget around the arts and culture industry, which Philadelphia can ill-afford. As we witness peer cities, such as Chicago, make multi-million-dollar investments in their creative economies to accelerate economic recovery, this administration continues to view arts and culture as a “nice to have” amenity rather than a crucial catalyst to solve the real challenges we face.

The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance will be strongly advocating for the full restoration of the PCF to $3.5 million in the final budget – at minimum – and we look forward to engaging other industry partners in this effort to ensure that PCF is not left so woefully under-resourced by the City it serves.