When state legislators returned to Harrisburg from recess on April 30th, they were greated by arts and culture advocates from across Pennsylvania. Citizens for the Arts, the cultural sector’s statewide advocacy group, coordinated a day of meetings with state Senators and Representatives to remind them, in the midst of budget negotiations, of the importance of their investments in our sector.
The Cultural Alliance organized a group of dozen local arts advocates to travel together to Harrisburg for the meetings. Our group met with 16 legislators over the course of the day. All together more than 40 State legislators heard our sector’s message.
In our meetings we shared a common message advocating for these 8 points:
Passage of a budget that includes Governor Corbett’s recommendation for level funding for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; $8.179 million for grants to the arts; and $866,000 for administration
Passage of Senate Resolution 268, which directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study of museums and evaluate how funding and resources are allocated
Establishment of an Arts & Culture Caucus
Continued inclusion by the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) of arts and culture as part of the Educational Improvement Organizations, and an increase in funding to that program of $100 million
Continued inclusion by the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) of assistance to arts and cultural organizations for “shovel ready” projects
Reinstated funding in the FY12-13 State Budget for other cultural entities such as the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s museum assistance grants, the zoos, and tourism
Continued instruction in the arts and the humanities as part of the core curriculum in Pennsylvania schools, with students taught by teachers who are certified in the arts and the humanities
Review of the Education Policy and Leadership Center’s recent report on Creating Pennsylvania’s Future through the Arts and Education, and thoughtful consideration the report’s 40 recommendations
The Cultural Alliance also brought a petition to Harrisburg that had been signed by almost 700 people during the two weeks prior to April 30th. The petition was included in all the packets that we distributed during our meetings, and reinforced the statewide advocacy message.
On May 9th, the Pennsylvania Senate passed budget bill SB 1466 by a vote of 39-8. Citing better-than-anticipated revenues, the Senate’s budget bill, totaling $27.7 billion, is nearly 2 percent higher than Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget.
On Monday, May 21st, the PA House Appropriations Committee approved the Senate’s budget plan and the bill will be taken up by the full house on Monday, June 4th. Amendments may be considered at that time but would have to be revenue neutral to keep within the $27.7 billion budget cap approved by the Appropriations Committee.
What does this mean for cultural funding?
Following Governor Corbett’s lead, SB 1466 proposes level funding for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and a 5 percent cut for the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. But SB 1466 restores cuts in Governor Corbett’s budget to zoos and higher education institutions, and includes modest increases for public education and some social welfare programs.
We’ll keep an eye on things when the House takes up the bill in June and will let you know if any amendments impact our sector.
A crowd of almost 1,000 people filled the courtyard outside the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center as a show of solidarity in their quest to restore special courses in elementary schools and foreign language and technology in middle schools.
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Good afternoon Council President Clarke and members of City Council. Thank you for the privilege of speaking to you about culture’s impact on our city right now.
My name is Tom Kaiden, and I’m the President of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. The Alliance represents 411 museums, theaters, libraries and cultural organizations, nearly 300 of them right here in the City of Philadelphia. The Cultural Alliance produces the region’s event calendar, Phillyfunguide, listing over 18,000 local events a year to make it easy for residents and visitors to find out what’s happening. We also supply that calendar to 23 partner organizations,so that Philadelphians have one place they can go to learn about all the great events our region has to offer.. We also produce Funsavers, a weekly half-price ticket announcement that goes out free to 105,000 people, that ensures that culture is affordable to all, and that seats don’t go empty unnecessarily.
The Cultural Alliance is also a research house. We regularly conduct rigorous research to help cultural organizations understand and adapt to the changing environment, and help local policy and civic leaders measure the impact that culture is having on our City. It’s in that context that I join you today.
As all of you know, the City of Philadelphia and the cultural sector have a longstanding and productive partnership. Council and successive mayors have leveraged our vital cultural community and assets to spur economic development, support public education and to tackle Philadelphia’s most pressing social challenges.
Thank you. This partnership was crucial to Philadelphia’s renaissance, helping to lift our city from the brink of bankruptcy in the early 1990s. And today, as we cope with one of the most prolonged recessions in our nation’s history, arts and culture are at the heart of the city’s planning initiatives and economy.
The Cultural Fund, which you have consistently supported, uses a transparent peer review panel process to distribute $ 1.6 million to cultural partners in neighborhoods throughout the City. 45% of its funding is given to small organizations under $ 250 thousand.And what’s the economic return to Philadelphia’s taxpayers? Alliance members generate one and a quarter ($1.285) billion dollars for the city’s economy. That’s billion with a “b”. We contribute $67 million in City tax revenues, and provide another $84 million in taxes for the state. And, in a city hurting for jobs, we provide 31,000 of them. 
We are an economic driver for the region, but cultural organizations are also among its most dedicated civic leaders. Cultural Alliance members maintain programs that help tackle issues around blight, violence, recidivism, and neighborhood safety. We provide safe places for people, young and old, to gather, learn and be social.
Perhaps there is no one issue that is as important to our community right now as education. The fact is: our museums, theaters, libraries and community centers are the region’s cultural classroom. There are 1.7 million visits by school children to cultural organizations. More than 30,000 visits are made by school groups, That’s not 30,000 kids—that’s 30,000 groups of kids. And Alliance members make another 2700 cultural visits to area schools, bringing culture right into the classroom.
The Cultural organizations of this region know that creativity is absolutely critical for our kids, and they know that our financially-pressed school system cannot begin to meet this need without help. That’s why 65 local cultural organizations are running educational programs. An additional 37 have programs focused on child development and 30 run programs tackling truancy.
Cultural Alliance Member organizations hold classes in their facilities and place teachers and artists in classrooms throughout the district. Through their Rock Reach program, the Rock School for Dance Education runs a 36 week residency in Title I schools throughout the district. They send faculty to teach dance, ballet, urban tap and jazz dance. For some of these cash-strapped schools, this is their phys-ed program. The Rock School also offers City Dance, a program for promising low income dance students. Students maintain high grades, and in return they receive free instruction at one of the country’s leading dance academies up until the age of 18. How about that for an incentive to graduate?
Another of our members, Philadelphia Young Playwrights sends teaching artists and theater professionals to work with school teachers to develop programs that inspire students’ literacy, learning and creativity. Young Playwrights staff provides classroom playwriting workshops and run in-school mini-festivals. One program alumni, Quiara Alegría Hudes, won their 1993 Annual Festival. She’s gone on to be nominated for a Tony for the Broadway musical “In the Heights” and last month (April, 2012) won the Pulitzer Prize for drama.
And it isn’t just about the arts, our cultural members include the region’s top science museums and learning centers. Through their Women in Natural Science program the Academy of Natural Sciences provides young women with a uniquely nurturing and academically rigorous environment where they can gather with like-minded friends and explore their love of science. The program is a tremendous success–100% of their students graduate high school and over 96% attend college!
Cultural Organizations are also committed to affordable access. Our 2011 Portfolio report (which is provided with this testimony) shows that more than half of all visits to culture are free. And when there is a charge, it’s around $15, less than one-third the actual cost of production.
That’s how we’re making sure that everyone in our city, not just the privileged, have access to the opportunity, education and inspiration that culture provides. Furthermore, the Alliance is now working to fund a Teen Pass program that will give Philadelphia high schoolers free access to city museums.
I’d like to conclude by thanking City Council for its ongoing support of arts and culture through the Cultural Fund, the One Percent for Art program, Mural Arts and City owned institutions. You have committed to making Philadelphia a world-class cultural destination. It is an important investment that is paying dividends for all of our citizens every day.
Just as arts and culture played a key part of Philadelphia’s Renaissance, it continues to be crucial to our city’s future. Last year, readers of Travel+Leisure magazine ranked Philadelphia as the nation’s number one destination for culture. With the Barnes Museum ready to open on the Parkway in a few weeks, we have an opportunity to solidify our leadership position.
And the price tag for all this impact? The City of Philadelphia currently spends about $1.11 per resident each year on culture. That’s a remarkable return on taxpayer investment and one which I urge you to continue.
 These numbers were last calculated in 2007 and are expected to increase in our forthcoming report Arts, Culture & Economic Prosperity in Greater Philadelphia (2012) due out this fall.
Earlier this year, Councilwoman Dr. Mary "Mimi" DeSouza gave up the $4000 annual stipend that each council member receives to offset travel and expenses and earmarked it for four local groups who's funding was in jeopardy as a result of Norristown's budget woes.
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How do you convey the great work your organization is doing with blogs, photos and videos? These tools are powerful ways to share the difference you're making in the world. We’ll cover the principles of good storytelling, look at examples and research about what’s working for nonprofits, and then discuss the tools that can help you put them online.
This is an Introductory-level seminar.
What we'll cover:
- Telling Your Story
- Examples and Research
- Examples and Research
- Examples and Research
- Methods of Distribution
Conducted by Andrea Berry
Andrea Berry, Idealware's Director of Partnerships and Learning, oversees Idealware's fundraising and training activities including the Field Guide to Nonprofit Software, sponsorship, corporate and individual giving, grants management and online seminars. Prior to joining Idealware, Andrea held fundraising positions in education, health research and museums and has taught math, performing arts and history in traditional and non-traditional educational settings. She brings a breadth of experience with fundraising and communications, particularly as it relates to small nonprofits, and has worked as a consultant with nonprofits across New England to help identify appropriate donor management software. Additionally, as a former teacher, Andrea brings front-line tested expertise in curriculum development and training.
Please register with an email address that will allow you to recieve the access and dial-in information for the online seminar.
What attracts today’s philanthropic investors? They look for outcomes, not outputs; for organizations with focus and sustainability. Investors seek engaged partners who help them create change.
Two large and well-respected organizations — the Smithsonian Institution and the William Penn Foundation — have recently completed long-range plans that take on complex issues and acknowledge the critical need for collaboration and additional investments. As the world’s largest museum and research complex, the Smithsonian knows that the support of the federal government is not sufficient to realize the Institution’s vision for the 21st century. Similarly, at the William Penn Foundation, even a significant increase in its endowment cannot alone achieve its goals for the region.
Join Virginia Clark, the Smithsonian's Director of Advancement and Philanthropic Giving; Jeremy Nowak, President of the William Penn Foundation; and Carol Thomson, President of SteegeThomson Communications, for a panel moderated by Chris Satullo, WHYY's Vice President of News and Civic Dialogue, as they share their perspectives on the rapidly changing world of philanthropy.
Theatre leaders around the country have successfully navigated federal policy and appropriations opportunities to the benefit of their theatres.
TCG’s executive director, Teresa Eyring, will moderate a panel featuring advocatesfrom member theatres with reports on a variety of federal legislative and policy issues:
- Gerard Stropnicky from Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble participated in Arts Advocacy Day 2011, and met with his Tea Party Member of Congresss, and won his support of the NEA in a subsequent vote.
- Josh Loar, Sound Supervisor at Yale Repertory Theatre has helped influence the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to better respond to the needs of theatre companies with regard to their wireless microphones.
- Christopher Moses, education director at the Alliance Theatre will provide an update on their U.S. Department of Education multi-year grant and arts education advocacy efforts to preserve this funding stream.
- Grace Grillet, Managing Director of The People's Light & Theatre Company will report on field efforts to preserve the charitable deduction.
From now through May 17th, Public Citizens for Children & Youth (PCCY) is gathering signatures for a petition they will present to Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission (SRC) urging them to support and fund school-based arts teachers in all subjects.
In this difficult funding environment PCCY needs your help to remind the SRC that the arts are a vital part of the educational curriculum. Please take a moment to sign their petition urging school leaders to encourage creativity, and to fund school-based arts teachers in all subjects (Instrumental Music, General & Vocal Music, Visual Arts, Dance and Drama) and all schools across the District.