Delaware River Port Authority Teaches A Lesson The Artistry Of International Business

Posted: February 18, 2000

The Delaware River Port Authority is in charge of bridges, ports and rivers.

So why is it giving a major chunk of change to the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Freedom Theatre?

Why is people's bridge toll money being used to support the arts?

Because it's a smart economic growth strategy, authority officials say. We strongly agree and we hope other major Philadelphia industries will follow.

As this page has argued in the past, strong community support of the arts is critical not just for starving painters or musicians. It's critical for the economic vitality of the region.

Unfortunately, that's not a widely recognized notion. As we pointed out in an editorial yesterday, the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, which has been instrumental in bringing a respectable number of movie projects to the city, is struggling to make it's bare-bones budget, despite bringing in $20 million to $30 million a year.

To its credit, the port authority understands how the arts can attract business - particularly international business.

In an effort to shore up Philadelphia's cultural reputation in the international scene, the authority has awarded grants of $750,000 to the Philadelphia Orchestra and $500,000 to the Freedom Theatre.

"One of our missions is to expand international trade," said authority chairman Manual Stamatakis. "And international trade is very culturally orientated. International business people look at a city's cultural institutions as an important element."

As the Philadelphia Orchestra, for example, performs worldwide, it delivers the message that the city is sophisticated and cultured - and possibly an attractive place to visit and do business.

Meanwhile, the Freedom Theatre, one of the nation's premier African-American playhouses, underscores the diversity of the city's artistic community.

These grants from one agency, however, only go so far.

John Street said little about arts funding during the election campaign and practically nothing about it during his inaugural speech. The only time the arts have been mentioned since was in connection with proposed budget cuts for the Art Museum. This doesn't bode well for Philadelphia's art community.

But supporting the arts shouldn't be a government function alone. The business community, too, should recognize the arts as the savvy investment that it is.

Deer kill: Job for a pro If the only way to save Wissahickon Park is to "cull" (don't you love that word?) the deer devouring the vegetation - so be it.

We're not comfortable with the idea, but it seems to be the only viable way to protect the plant life and restore the habitat for smaller animals.

Sometimes, you do what you gotta do.

What the Fairmount Park Commission has decided it has gotta do is bring back the deerslayer it hired last year and have him finish the job, which was interrupted. The goal is to reduce the herd to about 30.

Reportedly, the Pennsylvania Game Commission wants the slaughter broadened so archers can participate.

To that we say no.

This is a job for a professional, a hired gun trained to do what has to be done as safely, cleanly and quickly as possible - not for so-called "sportsmen" who kill for the fun of it.

Let them shoot their arrows in the air in Clarion County, if they must, but not within our city limits. Hunting is illegal in Philadelphia, as it should be.

The city is no place for arrows or bullets or any other lethal missiles to be flying around. If this is the state's condition for approving the "cull," better to grant Bambi a reprieve.

It's pronounced WIN-ner! In case your Croatian is rusty, here's how to pronounce the name of the newest Sixer, ex-Chicago Bulls star Toni Kukoc.

It's Koo-COACH, and we're expecting great things from him.

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