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Letter to the editor – Where is the leadership?

Here is a letter to the editor that we received from Philly artist Dan Schimmel, who argues for greater visibility of the city's arts and culture leaders. We welcome letters to the editor at Artblog! Email us at – Artblog Editor


Where is our Arts and Culture leadership when we need them?
By Dan Schimmel

Anyone committed to the arts knows that creativity is not about playing it safe. In the midst of the current national crisis over the President’s Executive Order banning Muslims from seven countries from entering our country, and just now, the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary, where are the voices of Philadelphia’s Arts and Culture leaders? When the Mayor makes an emergency stop at #PHL’s International Terminal to reinforce that Philadelphia is a Sanctuary City and when five thousand citizens show up to protest the order, why is there a yawning silence from our leading cultural institutions?

Perhaps there are non-profit, 501C3 restrictions on their capacity to publicly protest relevant issues, like Republican intentions to kill the NEA.

The mission statements of most of Philadelphia’s highest-standing Arts and Culture organizations embrace the power of art to enlighten, to educate, and to enrich our lives.

Now is the time for Philadelphia’s Arts and Culture leaders to speak out a little and to help build a coordinated front. Their opinion and leadership is urgently needed at this point.

Dan Schimmel is an independent artist and former Director of the Esther Klein Art Gallery at the University City Science Center.