March 7, 2005
Imagine the buzz at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts when The Lion King arrives: hundreds of pint-size theater-goers thronging the grand lobby under the Kimmel's vault. Now picture the lobby empty and silent - no crowds straining at the now-tattered and dusty velvet ropes, no one eagerly queuing up at the hall's long-shuttered snack bars. Unthinkable? Of course. The Kimmel is just three years old, and it's a gem among Philadelphia's cultural riches. Those attractions include top-flight museums, historic sites and other visitor destinations.
February 15, 2005 |
As the city government's financial support of the arts wanes and some local cultural groups resort to layoffs, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and the William Penn Foundation have hired the Rand Corp. to suggest how Philadelphia and the region can sustain the arts here. Funded by $389,000 from the Penn Foundation, Rand will look at the way 11 major cities, including Philadelphia, support the arts with private donations, public money and other assistance. Denver and Seattle, for instance, imposed taxes to help support cultural groups.
February 13, 2005
With their City Hall in the throes of fiscal crisis, Pittsburgh arts and culture patrons nonetheless enjoyed a rare treat over the first 10 days in October: free admission to many museums, musical and dance performances, and family activities. Here in Philadelphia, the Kimmel Center and other arts venues and museums may have been hopping - but it was mostly pay-as-you-go. Was Pittsburgh spending its last few bucks on feel-good freebies? Hardly. The city - actually, Allegheny County as a whole - was celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Allegheny Regional Asset District.
July 1, 2004
Philadelphia cannot afford to ignore the arts Inquirer writer Peter Dobrin underscored a message that the City Council communicates every day - that supporting the arts should be a critical focus of our leaders in business and government ("Street's new slogan: Who needs art, anyway?" June 20). As the Sovereign Bank survey of 100 business leaders demonstrated, our region's greatest strength is its arts, cultural and educational institutions. The Arts and Business Council stimulates significant support from the business community in employee voluntarism, financial contributions and in-kind resources to arts and cultural institutions.
May 10, 2004 |
Mayor Street's proposed $4.4 million cut in arts funding for fiscal 2005 comes at an ironic time - just when the city and nation need more economic activity. And the arts generate that activity at a rate that would impress even the most conservative investor. According to a 2002 study conducted by economists at the Georgia Institute of Technology for my organization, Americans for the Arts, the nonprofit arts industry generates $134 billion in economic activity every year. That's more than most nations' gross domestic products.
May 10, 2004
Bravo for the volunteers who kept the doors open last week at the cash-strapped African American Museum in Philadelphia. City officials deserve credit, too, for coming forward quickly with a proposal to accelerate a city subsidy of $135,000 to the museum. Both city and civic leaders understand that the museum at Seventh and Arch Streets is an important draw for the city's burgeoning visitor industry - with African Americans comprising fully one-third of the city's tourists.
May 8, 2004 |
In a light rain, about 200 people rallied in LOVE Park during yesterday's afternoon rush hour to protest the city's $4 million in cuts to funding for arts and cultural programs. The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance organized the Rally for the Arts to protest proposed cuts for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Rebecca Lang Staffieri, a spokeswoman for the group, said the marchers in what is formally known as John F. Kennedy Plaza wanted to call attention to the cuts "so the mayor and the Council can see that arts and culture are a good thing for the city's promotional efforts.
May 4, 2004
MAYBE IF Dick Cheney, Karen Hughes and other John Kerry critics had gone to Vietnam, they would have earned the right to question his post-war actions. But since Cheney and others did what they could to avoid Vietnam, they can't understand the hell that Vietnam vets went through. It's easy for people like the president, vice president and Paul Wolfowitz to take pro-war postures given that they don't know what happens in war. To think that for eight years the Republicans bashed Bill Clinton for avoiding service in Vietnam.
April 23, 2004
Not all the documents on Mayor Street's reasonable plan to consolidate city recreation facilities have been hastily assembled and partially handwritten. Only the documents, it seems, that administration officials presented to a skeptical City Council this week. That's unfortunate and unacceptable. Recreation Commissioner Victor N. Richard 3d came ill-prepared Tuesday to outline the plans to close some playgrounds, pools and recreation centers, while enhancing others. It should not have come as a surprise that Council President Anna C. Verna would demand the latest list of facilities targeted for sale, lease or closure.