Do you value the arts? Voice your opinion NOW on Philadelphia’s FY21-22 budget
This Sunday, February 28, is the last day that you can fill out the city's questionnaire about Philadelphia's FY21-22 budget. Make your voice heard today-- find the link to the survey in this post!

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Philadelphia City Hall south elevation, viewed from South Broad Street. Courtesy Spikebrennan. Cropped for Artblog.
Philadelphia City Hall south elevation, viewed from South Broad Street. Courtesy Spikebrennan. Cropped for Artblog.

Philadelphia, we learned today that the city wants your help and feedback on its revisions to the FY2021/22 budget that passed in June. They’ve created a survey for you to fill out. But, time is running out to make your voice heard on the revised budget, which needs tweaking to deal with the increased (and unexpected) spending and lack of revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic. February 28, 2021 is the hard deadline to fill out this survey and make your concerns about the city’s FY21-22 budget known. If you support the arts and want arts funding re-instated, let the city know! This survey gives you the opportunity to do so.

Artblog, alongside many local artists, organizations, and citizens, made our stance very clear on the original budget back in June (when the city initially zeroed out the Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy at the same time they proposed an increase to the Police budget). We know there are many ways to suggest budget cuts and we are not fiscal experts but, we suggest ending the 10 year tax abatement and significantly defunding the Police budget, which continues to be a huge piece of the budget pie. We believe that the city should instead invest in the arts and in the community — more funding for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, more hiring of artists for city-funded community arts projects, re-instatement of the OACCE as a proper, full-functioning department. It goes without saying that for the overall health and wellbeing of Philadelphia and its residents, the city should invest more in education and in affordable housing and homelessness prevention.

Please take a few minutes (it took us less than 10) to fill out the survey form.
Filling out this form definitely stirred up feelings of anger from this past summer, when the budget cuts to the arts happened, so we hope you can stay level-headed while filling out this questionnaire, which asks “You have $100 to spend on ten categories in the Philadelphia Budget. How much would you spend in each category?” [ED.Note: If you care about the tax abatements policy, which is not part of the 10 budget categories, you can voice your opinion about it in the open ended response section that follows.]

Here’s what people said publicly last summer, on Artblog and in city hearings, on the importance of funding the arts in Philadelphia:

Without public funding and more importantly, the city’s nominal support of arts and culture, you create a power vacuum in the arts that will be filled by an oligarchy of private interest groups. And the bleeding edge of creative industries–the people who give Philadelphia its gritty, weird, fun, nerdy, outspoken, belligerent-will stop investing in Philadelphia. People will stop coming to Philadelphia, and then all our artists will do the inevitable: take that sarcastic welcome as an indication to leave Philadelphia.

Anne Ishii, Executive Director, Asian Arts Initiative – Save the arts and serve all the people, restore OACCE and PCF budgets

While I fully understand that the City is facing an unprecedented budget challenge, I must describe that since I came to Philadelphia from Puerto Rico in 1976, I have seen our city grow to become one of America’s greatest and diverse cultural hubs. It is incomprehensible to those of us that have fought hard for over 50 years to establish a visible, meaningful presence for the arts in City government that, in one move there will not be an office in City Hall. The minor short-term budget savings associated, in addition to the additional savings of eliminating the cultural fund, is more a reflection of how art is undervalued by this administration than the true impact of these savings. The impact of these cuts far outweigh the long- term economic damage that will be inflicted on the arts sector.

Carmen Febo San Miguel, Executive Director, Taller Puertorriqueno – Save the arts and serve all the people, restore OACCE and PCF budgets

“…zeroing out funds for the Arts is not only an economic story. It tells a larger story – the story Philadelphia tells about itself. The arts in Philadelphia will survive, even without city funding. How can it not? It is the pulse of the human spirit and can’t be stopped as long as humanity exists. But it will do so despite the City and its leadership. The story that Philadelphia will tell is that the “arts” are not important and that the city’s spirit is not worth recognizing. We will be grimmer for it and not happy about the values we have given up when we emerge from the cave of this pandemic.

Neil Kleinman, Professor (emeritus) of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Former director, the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy at The University of the Arts – Save the arts, restore OACCE and PCF, Part 3, testimonials by Julia Guerrero, Neil Kleinman, Steven Burns

More information from the City

…Due to COVID-19, the City is facing difficult budget choices this year. We have fewer resources than in the past but know that Philadelphians have more needs than ever before. Before the City finishes drafting the budget, we want to hear from Philadelphians like you on how the City should focus its spending.

Please share your thoughts with our 10-minute survey:

The deadline for responses is Sunday, February 28.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas to help the City meet the needs of Philadelphians.

Want to learn more about the City Budget? Check out this year’s Budget documents.

Detail of City Hall in Philadephia.
Detail of cupola on the Philadelphia City Hall, 4 September 2007, courtesy Nfutvol, Cropped for Artblog (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Phlcityhalldetail.jpg)
Tags

10 year tax abatement, Annabelle López Ochoa, arts & culture, Budget, city budget, city of philadelphia budget, covid-19, defund the police, fund the arts, FY21, FY22, global pandemic, office of arts culture and the creative economy, philadelphia, Philadelphia budget, philly, Philly art, philly artists, save the arts

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