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Rue Landau

​​Landau started her career as an activist and housing organizer working on the frontlines in the fight for economic justice—demanding access to affordable housing in Kensington and organizing to provide social services during the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic as an active member of ACT UP, Kensington Welfare Rights Union (KWRU) and Women’s Health Action and Mobilization (WHAM!) Rue served as the director of both the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations and the Fair Housing Commission, the city’s civil rights and housing enforcement agencies. During her 12-year tenure, she transformed the agencies into national models for government and community engagement, social justice, and equitable opportunity. (

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

My office is committed to championing the arts and culture sector in Philadelphia. In addition to working closely with our City’s artist communities to ensure City Hall is supporting and highlighting their work when appropriate, I will advocate for the establishment of a permanent Officer of Arts and Culture and the Creative Economy, which will work to coordinate essential resources, support, and coordination to our vibrant creative community. I will work to secure dedicated funding streams that bolster the financial well-being of artists and arts organizations, ensuring their sustainability and growth.

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?

I'll collaborate with local businesses, foundations, and community organizations – as well as the state and federal government –  to establish innovative funding models, including grants and subsidies, that provide stable and living incomes to artists and arts organizations. I'm also open to exploring tax incentives that encourage private investment in the arts. Leveraging partnerships, I believe our City can encourage mentorship and training programs to empower artists as entrepreneurs, fostering their financial independence.

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

Equity is paramount. Working with the City’s Controller’s Office, I would support a comprehensive review of the City's funding distribution process, ensuring that marginalized and underrepresented artists and organizations receive equitable support. By incorporating community input, we'll create transparent criteria that prioritize diversity and inclusivity in funding decisions. Additionally, I'll advocate for targeted grants aimed at supporting grassroots initiatives that reflect the rich tapestry of our city's cultural heritage.

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?

The arts have transformative power. Public art installations can be a positive part of revitalization of neighborhoods, fostering community pride and aiding in economic growth. Arts education promotes critical thinking and empathy among our youth, contributing to reducing crime rates. Community theater and music programs offer safe spaces for dialogue on social issues, and give artistically inclined young people another much-needed outlet. By collaborating with artists, we can address major challenges like inequality, mental health, and urban blight in innovative and inspiring ways. As the Director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, I worked with community groups and arts organizations during difficult times of racial tension, gentrification, and violence - I have witnessed the transformative healing power of the arts firsthand.

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?

In January 2024, I will collaborate with fellow members of City Council and the Mayor's office to establish a dedicated intergovernmental workgroup. This workgroup will consist of key stakeholders from various city departments, including tourism, transportation, public safety, and arts and culture. Together, we will develop a comprehensive strategy for effectively welcoming visitors and ensuring the seamless coordination of these major events. Our focus will be on enhancing the city's infrastructure, promoting local arts and culture, and prioritizing the needs and interests of our residents, thus guaranteeing a memorable and enjoyable experience for all.