Nutter names a new culture officer

Helen Haynes had held Montco post.
Helen Haynes had held Montco post.
Posted: May 15, 2014

After being vacant since Oct. 1, the city's chief culture officer position has been filled. Helen Haynes will head the Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy, Mayor Nutter said Tuesday.

She replaces Gary Steuer, who a year ago informed the mayor of his decision to take a job heading a foundation in Denver.

Nutter didn't look far to find Haynes. She is a veteran of the region's arts scene, most recently as director of cultural affairs for Montgomery County Community College.

At a City Hall announcement of her appointment, Haynes said that she hoped the arts could "drive engagement in our city's neighborhoods," and that the Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy "should be an ongoing part of our city government."

The office was constituted by Nutter in 2008.

Haynes was executive director of the Clef Club starting in 1993 after serving in the same capacity for the Coalition of African American Cultural Organizations. She was also a driving force, along with Cathryn Coate, behind the establishment of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the city's grants program for arts groups.

Advocates want Nutter and City Council to restore that program to its 2010 level of $3.2 million from the $1.84 million recently outlined by Nutter in his budget address.

Asked Tuesday about his support for the higher level, Nutter said that he would "take it into consideration" but that "no issue is more pressing than education. That's number one, and it's probably also number two. Everything else comes behind that."


pdobrin@phillynews.com

215-854-5611

www.inquirer.com/artswatch

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