Philadelphia, Pa. (June 15, 2020) – In a response to the City of Philadelphia’s recent budget proposal, which plans to eliminate the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) and completely defund the 27-year-old Philadelphia Cultural Fund (PCF), members of Philadelphia’s arts community have united to create #PhillyCultureUnited – an action campaign calling for the reversal of these cuts.
Members of the public, along with notable public figures such as Dyana Williams (Co-Founder of Black Music Month), Joan Myers Brown (Founder of Philadanco), and award-winning musical artists including: DJ Jazzy Jeff, Aloe Blacc, Ledisi, James Poyser (The Roots), and many more will join the campaign by sharing social media videos vocalizing their support for vital arts and culture funding in Philadelphia today, just days before Philadelphia City Council casts a preliminary vote on the budget on June 18, 2020, followed by their final vote on June 25, 2020.
“Our movement is an opportunity to empower citizens of Philadelphia to be vocal about this proposed budget that will have a pernicious long-term impact on our city,” states #PhillyCultureUnited organizer, Aalyah Duncan. “This proposed budget only signifies to the next generation of creators and arts leaders, that they don’t matter.” Grammy Nominated producer/songwriter, Ivan Barias states, “I’m encouraged by how the Philadelphia creative community has united to send a message to the City on this issue. Arts and culture is an essential aspect of our lives and to eliminate the OACCE and it’s funding is not only egregious, but also a divestment in what adds value to the citizens of this great city.”
Philadelphia’s vibrant arts and culture scene generates an economic impact of $3.4 billion, creating 37,590 full-time equivalent jobs. Despite this, the arts and culture sector has previously only occupied less than .05% (.005) of the City’s budget. While the current budget plans to reduce this funding to zero, other sectors including law and order provisions would not only preserve previous fund amounts, but increase year-after-year. While a loss of arts funding impacts all Philadelphians, the proposed changes will disproportionately affect organizations that facilitate equitable access to the arts, many of which serve impoverished communities, Black communities, and people of color citywide.
In addition to social media videos, individuals in support of saving the OACCE and PCF are asked to visit the Philly Culture United webpage to send an email to City Councilmembers asking for the budget to be revised.
#PhillyCultureUnited was created in collaboration with Alist & Co., REC Philly, Our People Entertainment, The Dash Program, Jazz Philadelphia, members of the Music Industry Task Force, members of the Recording Academy Philadelphia Chapter, and a host of supporters.