Members of the music and visual arts communities were among a dozen citizens giving testimony yesterday at the second and final public hearing on the transaction at City Hall. Many expressed concern that under Maritime ownership, they would not continue to have access to the Port of History auditorium - considered the only professional recital hall in Philadelphia. Some protested that the issue was being considered during the last days of the Goode administration; some others objected to what they believed is the city's plan to lease it for a modest annual fee: $40,000. The arrangement could start as soon as summer.
"This facility plays a major and unique role in the cultural vitality of our city," said Marc Mostovoy, the director of Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra, who testified yesterday. "We are very concerned that performing and visual arts groups of all ethnic orientations will continue to have unlimited, unrestricted and uninterrupted access to it."
He representated a number of artists who have banded together under the rubric Waterfront Consortium for the Arts.
"Once the Maritime gets it, you can forget about the rest of us using it," Howard Watson, president of the Watercolor Club of Philadelphia, said after the hearing.
Also testifying was Philip Maneval, manager of the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, whose '91-'92 season of 23 events - all at the Port of History - is sold out. Maneval said he was particularly concerned that about $2.7 million in renovations proposed by the Maritime Museum would interfere with performances.
During his testimony, John Carter, the president of the Maritime Museum, said he and the Penn's Landing Corporation - the city's vehicle for the lease - will make all reasonable efforts to accommodate the nonprofit cultural institutions currently using the facility.