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Activists rally against the arts tax in Center City Philadelphia

(September 25, 2009) - On Friday, hundreds of arts activists held a rally in Center City Philadelphia to protest the state sales tax that will now apply to all arts and cultural admissions and tickets in Pennsylvania.

Standing on top of a SEPTA entrance at Broad and Walnut, rally organizer Thom Weaver expressed his frustration towards legislators who have the wrong idea on arts and culture.  "They think the're attacking the elite artists wearing their scarves and drinking lattes. But take a look around you.  I don't see any of those here. I see hardworking men and women who need to provide for their families, provide for their children, pay mortgages."

Philadelphia area legislators also addressed the crowd - State Senators Mike Stack, Larry Farnese, and Daylin Leach identified the tax proposal as confusing and devastating to communities, and pledged to bring the message of opposition back to Harrisburg.  Senator Leach, in particular, noted the hypocrisy of tax breaks on smokeless tobacco - which were also displayed on signs such as "Arts=Jobs, Tobacco=Cancer".

Rally attendees then took to the streets, marching up and down the Avenue of the Arts, which serves as a Main Street for many of Philadelphia's most notable performing arts institutions. 

A great video recap of the rally from Philly Weekly reporter Joel Mathis can be found here, and some pictures have been posted on the Cultural Alliance's Facebook page here.