Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance

Media Statement: Mayor Jim Kenney’s Proposed FY2022 Budget


Media Statement: Mayor Jim Kenney’s Proposed FY2022 Budget
Priscilla M. Luce, Interim President & CEO
April 15, 2021

The proposed FY2022 City of Philadelphia Budget from Mayor Kenney reflects a budget constructed with only difficult choices to be made. As a sector, arts and culture certainly understands hard choices as this last year has been defined by them.

While the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance is pleased that the Philadelphia Cultural Fund (PCF) has been allocated $2 million within next year’s budget, we continue to call for its full restoration to $3.14 million– and its future expansion. Given its singular role in supporting hundreds of arts and culture organizations across the City, PCF provides necessary funding for social impact programs in our neighborhoods – programs that so many count on for creative engagement, community support, and safety. Whether addressing issues of racial justice, serving the LGBTQ+ community, providing accessibility to the arts for people with disabilities and more, this is vital work being done every day by arts and culture. Unfortunately, having the PCF’s budget remain 33% below its pre-pandemic level, continues to deeply challenge our sector’s ability to deliver on this work. More importantly, it leaves many arts and culture organizations in our City at serious risk due to lack of funding.   

Beyond social impact, however, arts and culture is essential to Philadelphia’s long-term economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our sector is a $3.4 billion economic engine in the City of Philadelphia, and we play an integral role in the City, intersecting with tourism, restaurants, local businesses, labor, and more. Simply put, we are a driving force for commerce here and all that arts and culture brings forth is woven into the fabric of Philadelphia’s reputation as an international destination. A full recovery from this crisis cannot happen if the power of arts and culture is diminished.

We look forward to constructive conversations with the Mayor’s Office and City Council around the FY2022 budget before its passage later this spring.  It is important to note that Philadelphia’s priorities, as evidenced by Mayor Kenney’s proposed budget, are not divorced from that of arts and culture. We too are focused on equity, return to work, support for BIPOC-led organizations and businesses, tourism and hospitality, workforce development, violence prevention, supporting commercial corridors, and more. But $2 million to the PCF in annual support for a sector that is losing $1 million per day due to the pandemic will not be enough to survive let alone, thrive.