(Photo via twitter.com/@CouncilwomanBRB)
With the looming threat of the proposed federal budget defunding the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), there’s a lot of apprehension and uncertainty surrounding the country’s arts and culture sector.
That said, local arts funding is business as usual: The Philadelphia Cultural Fund just awarded more than $2.7 million to 304 Philly-based arts and culture organizations. (Funding for the grants comes from the city’s budget.) Around this time last year, the nonprofit awarded more than $2.6 million to 284 organizations.
Twenty percent of all organizations that applied this year were first-time applicants, according to a statement from Barbara J. Silzle, executive director of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.
“These organizations reflect our communities and contribute to the health and vitality of our city and its people, including our children, immigrants, seniors, veterans, the incarcerated and those formerly incarcerated,” Silzle said.
The Village of Arts and Humanities, which received a sizable $11,927 in addition to being recognized with the Councilman David Cohen Award for its “outstanding commitment to social and economic justice,” is one of the many funded organizations to produce projects dedicated to those marginalized communities — such as in the case of its Reentry Think Tank.
Here are the 10 local organizations that received the most funding, all exceeding $14,000:
- Zoological Society of Philadelphia — $16,424
- Franklin Institute — $15,327
- Wagner Free Institute of Science — $15,169
- Curtis Institute of Music — $15,056
- Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia — $14,848
- Friends of the Japanese House and Garden — $14,503
- Fleisher Art Memorial — $14,458
- Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts — $14,349
- Stenton, NSCDA/PA — $14,237
- Opera Philadelphia — $14,088
Looking at this top-10 list, it’s worth considering whether there are signs of cultural inequity within local arts and culture funding going into 2017 — although the full list of awardees is as diverse as any we’ve seen.
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