The arts money is in, and the museums are opening

Philly Arts and Entertainment in Code Green.

Just when you thought that the Philadelphia Cultural Fund’s cuts as part of Jim Kenney’s new budget would gut local theater companies, dance groups, painting pals and other arts organizations going forward for 2021 – but cut down in 2020 due to pandemic quarantines and theater/gallery shutdowns – help is on the way. Area saints from the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE), the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance (GPCA), and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund (PCF) created COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL, an emergency support fund focused on the arts and culture sector, and, as of last night, announced that 467 Philadelphia – area Arts and Entertainment groups, along with 1,000 plus individual artists would receive $4.3 million raised from donors such as the William Penn Foundation (who led the way with a $2.5 million grant), the Barra Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation as well as Connelly, Independence, Lenfest, and Victory Foundations.

“COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL will support individual artists as well as small arts and culture organizations (annual budgets no greater than $250,000) and mid-sized organizations (annual budgets of $250,000 – $15M) whose operations, work and livelihood have been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” states the Fund’s site.

“We are so grateful to the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and the COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL Fund for their support of Opera Philadelphia, as well as so many of the arts organizations and artists in our community that make Philadelphia such a vibrant and creative city,” said David B. Devan, General Director and President of Opera Philadelphia. 

“Philadelphia Theatre Company was relieved and delighted to receive an award from the COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL grant program,” said Paige Price, Producing Artistic Director of the PTC. “At a time when our income from programming goes to zero, we need every dollar to be here for the artistic community when we’re on the other side of this pandemic. The longer we’re out of our theaters, the more crucial these grants become – livelihoods are at stake.”

Jennifer A. Zwilling, Curator of Artistic Programs at the Clay Studio, said, “In these first days of recovery, support from PHL Arts Aid is critical to ensuring we are able to maintain all of our staff. These dedicated individuals are our most valuable resource and will ensure that we are able to continue to provide creative programming to our community during these challenging times. We are grateful to the GPCA and all of the funders who made this possible.”

Shana Kennedy, the Executive Director of Philly’s Circadium, the country’s first higher-education program for Circus Arts, was thrilled to be a recipient of the COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL Fund. “Recipients were just announced, and we’re one of 215 mid-sized organizations that will receive financial support from this grant,” she said. “That’s meaningful in several ways. First, that these foundations: William Penn Foundation, the Barra Foundation and Wyncote Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Connelly, Independence, Lenfest, and Victory Foundations – all recognize the extraordinary hardship that arts organizations in Philadelphia have been under, and they are determined to keep our sector afloat. Second, it’s a reminder of the importance of the Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy, and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. These organizations themselves are facing massive budget cuts right now, and we’re reminded of how vital they are. The Philadelphia we know and love will only be brought back through the dedication of these advocacy groups, and the entire arts sector. Circadium will be using the funds from the grant to further one of our program goals for the year ahead, Anti-Racism curriculum additions. Our students are determined to make the world a more equitable place, so we will be exploring questions of identity, bias, history, safety, and community. We’ll be bringing in speakers, and tackling reading and performance projects related to these questions.”

Deborah Block, Producing Artistic Director at South Philly’s Theatre Exile, said “I’m so thankful to the people who organized this grant. The application process was manageable and the turnaround time was really fast. And the fact that so much that so many people worked collaboratively to make this happen just shows us again how special the Philadelphia arts community is. I’m also appreciative that they are allowing each organization to decide where the money goes. For Theatre Exile, this money is going directly to keep our staff on payroll so that we can continue our work in our community.”

Go HERE if you’re looking for someone to send ‘thank you’ notes to supporters for their contributions.

At the same time as the COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL announcement came word that Philly’s museums were preparing to open their doors, cleanly and safely distanced, in the wake of C-19’s three-month closure orders. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Barnes Foundation, Eastern State Penitentiary, The Franklin Institute, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum all jointly announced plans to reopen with new health and safety protocols for staff and visitors (that means masks/face-coverings for all, fuckers, get used to it), with Eastern State Penitentiary (who got the biggest COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL grant, $70,000) the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum expect to announce late summer reopening dates and hours in the coming weeks. 

A prepared joint statement from Philadelphia museum leaders goes thusly: 

“Philadelphia’s museum community has been preparing to reopen since the day the COVID-19 health crisis forced us to close. While these have been trying times for the entire global community, and we will continue to feel the impact of this crisis for the foreseeable future, we are eager to begin welcoming our visitors back soon to find inspiration, educational experiences and solace. If our welcome can’t yet be with open arms, it will certainly be with smiles behind our masks.”

Here’s your museum opening list with new show notes. Prepare to gallery hop…

The Barnes Foundation. Image: Michael Perez.

The Franklin Institute – Public opening: Wednesday, July 8, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. (last entry 4 p.m.)

Open hours: Wednesdays–Sundays, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
The Presidents by Madame Tussauds (July 8–January 3, 2021)

The Barnes Foundation – Public opening: Saturday, July 25, noon–7 p.m.

Member previews: Thursday, July 23, 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Friday, July 24, 10 a.m.–7 p.m., and Saturday, July 25, 10 a.m.–noon
Open hours: Fridays–Mondays, 11 a.m.–5 p.m., (10–11 a.m. member-only hour)
Marie Cuttoli: The Modern Thread from Miro to Man Ray (through August 23)

Academy of Natural Sciences – Public opening: Friday, July 31, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Member previews: Friday, July 24, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Saturday, July 25, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday, July 26, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Open hours: Fridays–Sundays, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. (10–11 a.m. members-only hour)
Survival of the Slowest (through October 25)

PAFA – Public opening: Saturday, September 12, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Previews for members and essential frontline workers (Historic Landmark Building): Thursday, September 3, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Friday, September 4, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Saturday, September 5, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday, September 6, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Open hours: Thursdays–Fridays, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (10 a.m.–12 p.m. reserved for visitors who are at a higher risk for contracting illnesses, including immunocompromised persons), and Sundays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.


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