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Mayoral Candidates answer questions posed by the arts community
The project Artists for Democracy is a partnership between Artblog and Jacque Liu, public art consultant and former Percent for Art Project Manager and Barbara Silzle, former Executive Director of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. We seek to engage artists in the current Mayoral race and have sent five questions to the Mayoral Candidates, and received responses from two. The responses are below. Vote on May 16! It's important.


A color photo shows Philadelphia City Hall at night, brightly lit, and there is writing superimposed and logos of Artblog and Artists for Democracy


Dear Artists, Makers, and Cultural Workers,

Artists for Democracy solicited your questions to pass on to the Mayoral Candidates. We received many thoughtful responses and distilled them into five questions, based on topics that we observed to be important:
Empowering the Arts
Effective Leadership
Support for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund
New Initiatives
Artist Participation

Two candidates responded: Rebecca Rhynhart and Jimmy DeLeon.

Are these your art mayors? It is difficult to say, but their full answers can be found here.

We also know that these candidates were asked but did not respond:
Warren Bloom, Sr.
Amen Brown
Jeff Brown
Allan Domb
Helen Gym
David Oh
Cherelle Parker

Each of these candidates claims to support the arts, which we believe to be true, to varying degrees. But we do not know how any of them would turn their support into action. Your questions are important. Please read the answers we received from the two candidates who chose to respond.

Voting day is May 16. Our loudest microphone is our vote. Be loud! In addition to casting your vote, you can help strengthen the arts community by staying engaged in the civic space. Without engagement, candidates and those who ultimately make decisions on budgets for the arts and culture sector won’t know you care. We know you care! Let them know you are passionate about funding for the arts. If you would like to get involved with Artists for Democracy, please reach out. We will be doing further postings to you and are welcome to questions and suggestions. Please contact us at

Best wishes,

Barbara Silzle
Former Executive Director, Philadelphia Cultural Fund

Jacque Liu
Public Art Consultant
Former Percent for Art Program Manager, Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy

Roberta Fallon
Founder and Executive Editor, Artblog

Julia Marsh
Executive Director and Editor, Artblog


QUESTION: Empowering the Arts – Will you create and budget a new Philadelphia Department of Arts and Culture, or do you plan to maintain the Office of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy as a program within the Managing Director’s office? Explain your answer in detail.

A poster shows black text on a light green background with logos at the bottom.

QUESTION: Effective Leadership – Simply establishing a Deputy or Department of Arts and Culture is not sufficient – identifying and hiring an effective leader is critical. What will be your process for selecting the Deputy/director of the Department of Arts and Culture?

QUESTION: Support for The Philadelphia Cultural Fund – How do you stand on support for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund (PCF)? Would you maintain the current PCF budget or increase it? Explain your answer fully and focus especially on funding. (PCF is an independent 501 c 3 nonprofit established by the city in 1991 as the mechanism by which the city directly, consistently, and without political influence, supports the city’s nonprofit arts sector and its community of artists.)

QUESTION: New Initiatives – How will your administration financially support the city’s arts and culture sector? Are there initiatives that your administration would establish?

Artist participation – Unlike in the past, today there is little or no representation of Philadelphia’s arts community within the Office of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy to inform its work. What do you see as the value of such representation? What level of priority would it be to you to reestablish that representation?


Artists for Democracy, fund the arts, Mayor's Race, Mayoral Election, philadelphia