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Restore funding to the Philadelphia Cultural Fund and help the City recover, Write your Council Members Today

Dear people, please write to your Councilperson and to the seven at-large Council Members to advocate for restoring FULL funding for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund in the city’s 2021-22 budget. Do This Now, while the budget is being negotiated, and before Council casts its final vote. Voting could start as early as June 17th, so don’t delay. Make your voice heard.

Philadelphia city hall captured from north broad street, with PAFA's paintbrush sculpture visible on the right amongst the tall city buildings.
City Hall, Philadelphia, pictured from North Broad Street. Photo courtesy M. Edlow, Visit Philadelphia

Why is The Philadelphia Cultural Fund crucial to Philadelphia’s reopening and recovery from the pandemic? The PCF is an independent non-profit fund created 30 years ago to combat rampant Philadelphia cronyism in arts funding. The PCF has always lived up to its mission to be a fair and unbiased manager of the city’s money for arts organizations. Pre-pandemic, the PCF served 340 organizations, including the art museums and the smallest neighborhood non-profits, using its rigorous data analysis and peer review process to assess need and distribute equitably.

In 2020, with an unbelievable two-thirds of their budget slashed by the City, the PCF’s mission was crippled, and the arts community took a direct slap to the face; at a time of great need brought on by the pandemic, the PCF could serve only 140 organizations. The 2021-22 proposed budget — unbelievably — continues to slap the face of the arts sector, with a new proposal to slash PCF’s budget by one-third, an outrageous attack on a valued sector of Philadelphia’s economy, that operates in all neighborhoods and serves marginalized communities.

Artblog is one of the small organizations that relies on PCF funding for our operations. As participants in the PCF’s grant review process, we know first-hand how rigorous, transparent, and fair the process is. Through their 30 years of service to the City, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund has proven itself to be a responsible manager of Philadelphia’s funding for non-profit arts organizations. More than that, they have come to embody the city’s welcoming embrace of the arts that serve regular citizens and not just tourists.

Fully funding the PCF is vital to Philadelphia’s recovery — financially, of course, but also on a symbolic level. Robust PCF funding signals that the City values the arts and what arts groups provide to its citizens. Without returning the PCF to full or increased funding, the City signals that it DOES NOT VALUE THE ARTS.

Defunding the Philadelphia Cultural Fund disrespects and disparages the value of the arts.

Full funding of the PCF signals belief that Philadelphia’s arts organizations will help fuel the city’s recovery from the economic downturn, a belief all of us who love the arts know to be true.

[Ed. Note: See today’s Inquirer Front Page story by Stephan Salisbury and Peter Dobrin shouting out what other cities like Chicago and San Francisco are doing to help their arts sectors recover.]

Support FULL FUNDING of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. Contact your council members today!

At-Large Members: