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Top 10 Cultural Alliance Moments of 2015

 2015 was a busy year at the Cultural Alliance. Here's a look back at some of our favorite moments!

1. On April 16, we kicked off our TechniCulture initiative to deepen the relationship between Philadelphia's cultural and tech communities. The next TechniCulture event will be held during the 2016 Philly Tech Week, and will include presentations by our three Techniculture Innovation Residency Award recipients.

2. On April 22, our GroundSwell program hosted a public mayoral candidates forum around issues related to arts and parks. The forum was held at the Free Library in partnership with the Philadelphia Parks Alliance. The candidates discussed how they planned on supporting arts & culture and parks & recreation if they were elected, and GroundSwell posted a summary of the lead candidates' key positions on the GroundSwell blog.

3. In May, our Teen Council launched the first STAMP Audio Tours, a series of smartphone tours of the 17 STAMP museums created for and by teens and powered by CultureSpots.

4. On May 28, STAMP threw a blowout party for teens at Parkway museums. Hundreds of teens participated in a free scavenger hunt taking them up and down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway through five different museums, and ending with a free dance party at The Barnes Foundation hosted by West Philadelphia hip-hop artist Chill Moody. 

5. In June, GroundSwell and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund (PCF) successfully led arts advocates in a campaign asking City Council to maintain the budget for PCF at $3.14 million in the FY2016 budget. Key initiatives included the second annual Philadelphia Arts Advocacy Day on April 7, 2015, as well as pop-up acts of arts & culture in City Hall ahead of public budget testimonies. GroundSwell also orchestrated online advocacy efforts, calling on supporters to email their City Council members and tweet using hashtag #SavePHLArts. 

6. On October 9, we distributed $94,754 in Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) Project Stream grants at an award ceremony held at PECO’s Energy Hall. Project Stream grants provide seed money to individual artists and organizations offering innovative, community-based arts projects in southeastern Pennsylvania, and are made possible through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts’ (PCA) Partners in the Arts program with additional support provided by PECO. 

7. On August 14, STAMP threw an end-of-summer celebration at Old City museums for teens, including participants in Philadelphia Youth Network’s WorkReady Philadelphia internship program. Teens converged on the historic district for a free afternoon of live music, games and parties throughout six of the area’s museums.

8. During our Annual Meeting on October 26, we launched Future: Forward, a new initiative to use strategic foresight in thinking about how our members and sector can prepare for the future in the next ten years and beyond. On February 25, we'll host "Rehearsing the Future," where we will present scenarios of what the future could be for arts and culture in Greater Philadelphia, and ask for your feedback. In preparation for that event, our staff is already scanning the news for signals of change, not just in arts and culture, but around key themes outside of our sector, such as technology, the economy, politics, demographics, employment trends and more. 

9. Also during the Annual Meeting, we released the 2015 Portfolio: Culture Across Communities, our first national research report. The report covers the activities of 5,502 organizations in 11 metros: Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Twin Cities, and Washington DC. The report, which follows up and expands on our 2014 Portfolio research on the financial health of the arts and culture sector in Philadelphia, relies on data from the Cultural Data Project and is supported by a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. 

10. In November, we named our new Director of Policy & Community Engagement, Anne Marie Rhoades. Rhoades comes to the Alliance after years of policy experience in fundraising and communications for political campaigns and elected offices in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Missouri. Most recently, she served as Campaign Manager for the successful City Council At-Large primary campaign for Allan Domb and was Operations Director for the New Leaders Council, a training program for young, progressive professionals.