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Jamie Gauthier

Jamie R. Gauthier represents West and Southwest Philadelphia as the 3rd District City Councilmember. Since assuming office in January 2020, Councilmember Jamie Gauthier has fought for her constituents’ right to live with dignity and remain in the neighborhoods they’ve called home for decades. She is the only elected official in the City of Philadelphia with a planning degree, offering her a unique perspective on a range of social and economic issues. (

How will your office support arts and culture organizations as well as artists in Philadelphia?

The budget is the most powerful tool we have to support arts and culture here in Philly. Through the budget negotiation process, we'll ensure that there are substantial resources allocated to support arts and cultural organizations here in Philly. A central priority of mine is to ensure these resources are distributed equitably, so that the benefits can be experienced by every resident in every neighborhood of our city. I will also be focused on appropriately funding the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, which does vital work throughout Philly. 

If re-elected, I’ll continue to partner with arts and culture organizations throughout the 3rd District. We have cultivated strong relationships with these groups throughout West and Southwest Philly over the last few years, and have successfully hosted and promoted many events together. I look forward to building on those relationships in my second term.

Finally, my office will continue to support arts and culture organizations by simply listening. I'm always eager to gain a better understanding of what our community needs, how I can make that happen as a Councilmember, and what the Council can do better as a body.

What strategies will you support and what partnerships will you leverage to support the financial well-being of the artists and arts organizations who comprise the lifeblood of Philadelphia's creative sector?

Again, the budget is an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to ensuring our arts and culture sector is financially healthy. As a city, we should also be creating a platform for artists so that they can both support themselves and enliven Philadelphia. Having great public spaces where artists can perform or create is a big part of that. 

We've also got to ensure that our city government sees art as an opportunity to revitalize Philly, rather than a hindrance or a nuisance. It made no sense to me when artists were recently thrown out of Rittenhouse Square. We should be tapping into artists and their creativity to come out of this challenging period for Philadelphia, and to bring the city back to life.

I would also like to see the City treat art more as entrepreneurship. For instance, the Commerce Department could be working with artists to connect them to opportunities to help grow their businesses and professionalize their operations. I would push for that if re-elected.


What will you do to ensure more equity in the way the City funds arts organizations?

The way we fund arts organizations must better reflect Philadelphia and its rich diversity. That means ensuring that there are funding opportunities not just for wealthy cultural organizations, but also grassroots artists that are embedded in our communities.

We've also got to continue listening to the community, and using that information to drive policy. The controversy over the Harriet Tubman statue is a perfect example of that. Black artists here in Philly said they wanted to be considered, but the City had already picked a white artist from another part of the country. Why create that kind of battle over a statue meant to memorialize and honor a figure so central to Black history? It's emblematic of the fact that we need to listen more--and in particular, listen to what artists in our communities are saying--in order to shape policy and practice.


Can you please provide specific examples of how you feel the creative and performing arts can influence positive outcomes for some of the major issues in the city?

On countless occasions, I've seen firsthand how artists help improve our public spaces--even when money is limited. 

Even something as simple as typography can make an enormous difference. We recently renamed the Tiffany Fletcher Rec Center in honor of the Parks employee who was the victim of senseless gun violence in Mill Creek last year. Local artists painted her name on the front of the rec center, and it looks wonderful--bringing beauty to a place where tragedy occurred.

Artists also help enliven urban spaces in a way that makes them not only feel better, but do better economically. They've supported our disinvested retail corridors with beautiful installations in vacant storefront windows. "First Friday" gallery showings have brought more attention to our retail corridors, which will help their vitality in the long-run. Artists are helping us rebuild post-COVID, and we've got to lean in to that.

Finally, arts organizations also play a vital role in addressing Philadelphia's enduring gun violence crisis. Art plays a critical role in engaging young people in positive and fun ways. It keeps them out of the path of violence and helps them work through trauma. It's impossible to overstate the importance of this work.


Visitors will be coming to Philadelphia in 2026, for the World Cup, MLB All-Star game, and America’s 250th Anniversary. What will you do in January 2024, the first month of the new legislative session, to begin planning and coordination for residents and future travelers?

These major events are all opportunities to secure much-needed investment for our city--and carry out projects that will make our communities more attractive to visitors. We've got to secure funding to upgrade our public spaces, to improve transit, and to make our streets safer. Those are the kinds of things that will help Philly live up to its reputation of being a dynamic, walkable, human-sized city. And that's what will encourage visitors to explore beyond downtown, and experience all that makes Philly great.

We also have to prepare our businesses and artists to capitalize on all of this increased traffic. We should be using the time leading up to 2026 ensuring that artists and entrepreneurs are able to benefit, both in terms of generating exposure for their work and connecting them to potential customers.