Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage Launched

Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage Launched

The Pew Charitable Trusts today announces the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, the new home to the Trusts' dance, theatre, visual arts, music, heritage, artist fellowships, and cultural management initiatives. In addition to the practical benefits of bringing the initiatives under one roof, the Center for Arts and Heritage will foster artistic creativity and excellence and keep Philadelphia on the leading edge of the arts world.

Over the past ten years, the Trusts has invested more than $150 million in cultural organizations and activities in the Philadelphia region to bring together artistic creativity with operational effectiveness and greater audience access. Since 1997, the Trusts has provided more than $50 million to support local artists and organizations through the cultural initiatives that now comprise the Center for Arts and Heritage, resulting in an average of 500 performances, exhibitions and other public programs each year. In the past year the Trusts' support for these cultural initiatives totaled approximately $7.8 million.

“The Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage is an idea whose time has come,” said Rebecca W. Rimel, president and CEO of The Pew Charitable Trusts. “Philadelphia has shown the world that when you support artistic creativity and preserve your heritage positive things happen for the region's citizens and the economy. The Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage is a testament to the accomplishments of the region's artists and cultural organizations that enrich the lives of residents and visitors alike.”

The Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage will be administered by the University of the Arts, which recently signed a 10-year lease to locate the center at 1608 Walnut Street in Philadelphia. Beginning in November, the center will be home to these accomplished initiatives and their directors:

  • Dance Advance, directed by Bill Bissell. Established in 1993 to promote professional development opportunities to dance companies and choreographers.          
  • Heritage Philadelphia Program, directed by Barbara Silberman. Since 1999, provides direct support and professional development to historic sites and museums.          
  • Pew Fellowships in the Arts, directed by Melissa Franklin. Established in 1991 to provide fellowships to local artists working in the visual, performing and literary arts.          
  • Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, directed by Martin Cohen. Established in 2002 to strengthen the institutional infrastructure of cultural organizations in the region.          
  • Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, directed by Paula Marincola. Established in 1998 to support development of fine arts exhibitions.          
  • Philadelphia Music Project, directed by Matt Levy. Established in 1989 to support professional development to organizations that produce and present music programs.          
  • Philadelphia Theater Initiative, directed by Fran Kumin. Established in 1996 to support development opportunities to theaters.

The Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage is an important component in the Trusts' three-part strategy to bring together artistic creativity with organizational effectiveness and greater audience access:

  • Foster Creativity. The Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage improves the quality of the programs that are created and delivered to the public by cultural institutions and artists.        
  • Build Strong Organizations. The Philadelphia Cultural Leadership Program strengthens the institutional infrastructure of culture in Philadelphia.        
  • Promote the Arts. Philadelphia Cultural Alliance's Campaign for Culture generates tens of thousands of new audience members and hundreds of thousands of dollars in new ticket revenues.

Taken together, the impact is visible in the growing recognition of Philadelphia as a place where the arts thrive and audiences eagerly participate in and support a broad array of offerings.

“Great cities are defined in part by the arts and culture they produce,” said Marian Godfrey, director of civic life initiatives at The Pew Charitable Trusts. “Philadelphia's rich heritage and accomplished arts institutions have helped the city become a national and international cultural destination. Thanks to the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, we can look forward to even more exciting, innovative, and high-quality cultural offerings, and the region will see its reputation as a premiere cultural venue grow. We are pleased to be able to build on our long-term commitment to the arts and heritage and create a new home for these cultural initiatives that have made such a difference in the region.”