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Statewide Coalition of Arts & Culture Organizations Provides Policy Recommendations to Wolf Transition Team

Led by a coalition of advocacy organizations, including the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, a cohort of arts and culture leaders from across the Commonwealth submitted an arts and culture policy agenda to the Department of Community and Economic Development, intended to guide policy decisions over the next four years.

Last fall, then-Governor-elect Wolf named more than 250 people to his Transition Team to review state agencies, commissions and various issue areas. The transition review teams were charged with working with the outgoing administration to better understand the issues and challenges the new administration could expect to face. While several cultural leaders from around the state were tapped to serve on the transition team in some capacity, unfortunately the Governor-elect did not specifically name a transition team to review policies regarding arts and culture.

Despite this oversight, the Cultural Alliance along with key players at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Arts + Business Council, an affiliate of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) lobbied to ensure  that arts and culture would be part of the process. As a result of our efforts, Rob Wonderling, Co-Chair of the Department of Community and Economic Development Review Team and current President and CEO of the GPCC, requested that we submit a two-page document detailing the sector's long-term policy goals.

In order to create a document that would be representative of the issues from across the state, the Cultural Alliance and our statewide partners, including Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, worked quickly to bring together a diverse group of leaders in the sector for an afternoon meeting to develop a policy agenda that we could all endorse.

In this document we highlighted both the significant economic impact that arts and culture has on the Commonwealth's economy ($4.47 billion economic impact; 81,000 full-time equivalent jobs; $1.8 billion in household income; and $360 million in state and local tax revenue), as well as the social impact on our residents, including developing the skills necessary to succeed in a competitive and innovative workforce. Finally, we listed twelve policy recommendations that, if implemented, will help strengthen the cultural sector and, in turn, make the sector a stronger resource for the Administration to work with over the next four years.

Over the next several months, a growing coalition of organizations and leaders in the sector will research and develop strategies for implementation, which will provide the foundation for legislation that can be introduced by members of the Arts and Culture Caucus in the General Assembly working with the Wolf Administration. The Cultural Alliance will continue to lead these efforts on behalf of Southeastern PA.

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These recommendations included:

Direct and Indirect Support

  • Increased funding support for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to bring PA funding from its 27th ranking of $.74 per capita to $1.66 per capita (the average spending of our neighboring states)
  • Include arts and culture as a targeted priority industry in the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, to ensure the construction and capital improvements in arts and culture projects continue
  • Increase grant funding for Pennsylvania Historical Museum & Commission from its current level of $2M for non-state-owned museums and historical organizations

Support Creative Industries

  • Increase or uncap the current 25% film tax credit

Workforce Development 

  • Establish visual and performing arts as core academic subjects in K-12 schools 
  • Seek out opportunities to re-cast STEM programs as STEAM programs so the impact of arts and humanities learning on students' creativity, critical thinking and communications will make them better equipped to enter into the skilled workforce

Neighborhood Revitalization through the Arts, Culture and Tourism

  • Establish incentives to encourage the development of cultural and entertainment districts, festivals, creative placemaking and creative zones in PA communities to generate economic and neighborhood revitalization benefits. 
  • Explore the capacity of the State to create regional or statewide dedicated streams of funding