Blog Posts for Pennsylvania

Seven Key Principles for Curating a Cultural District

Posted by J. Kevin McMahon, Feb 04, 2015 0 comments

Numerous editorials have covered the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s work in overseeing Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations—turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners. Founded in 1984, the Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of the 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, which attracts over two million visitors annually. The organization has grown from a $170k budget in 1984 to a $53M budget today. Most importantly, 90% of the annual budget is allocated to the mission and programs and the organization has maintained a balanced budget year to year.

Below are seven key principles that informed the development of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District.

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The Best Seat in the House: Where Skills-Based Volunteers Meet the Arts

Posted by Eileen Cunniffe, Oct 23, 2014 0 comments

Eileen Cunniffe Eileen Cunniffe

For nearly eight years, I’ve had the privilege of managing skills-based volunteer programs for the Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia. Which means I’ve got the best seat in the house when it comes to observing what happens when business and technology professionals take on pro bono capacity-building projects with nonprofit arts organizations.

I’m the director—or as I like to say, the “matchmaker”—for both Business Volunteers for the Arts (BVA) and Technology Connectors (TC). Once I’ve met with an arts client and defined the type of project support they are looking for, I carefully curate a volunteer match and make the introductions, then step back and watch while our arts clients and our volunteers work their magic on each other. That’s right—on each other. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned after matching volunteers on about 250 consulting projects, it’s that the volunteer consultants almost always benefit at least as much as the arts organizations do. It’s a special kind of alchemy, and it’s fun to watch it unfold.

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Public Art – An Unexpected Approach to Improving Health

Posted by Sara Ansell, Sep 03, 2014 0 comments

Sara Ansell Sara Ansell

My path to becoming an arts administrator is a tad unorthodox. My advanced degree is in social policy analysis and my previous professional experience is that of a public health researcher. In fact, I’m not sure I identify solely as an arts administrator. Or a policy analyst. Or a public health researcher. Instead, the world I inhabit is that of someone passionate about connecting with individuals and communities, in a tangible and meaningful way, to help address the deeply entrenched health-related challenges they face every day. Threaded throughout my winding journey to the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program is a core belief that we all live within a layered reality – one defined by our individual traits and behavior, our social relationships to friends, family, and neighbors, our living and working conditions including the physical environment around us, and the economic, political, and social policies and systems that impact us locally, nationally, and globally. The ecosystem in which we all interact and navigate is complex and impacts our health in very real ways. The extent to which each layer of our reality hinders and supports us as we strive for well-being varies for each of us.

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The Arts and Healthcare: How Music Has the Power to Heal

Posted by Aileen Rimando, Aug 07, 2014 0 comments

Aileen Rimando Aileen Rimando

Music has been one of my greatest passions for as long as I can remember, and my experiences with it have truly shaped my life for the better. As a performer, educator, administrator, and friend, it is even more rewarding to be a first-hand witness to, and take part in, making positive change in others’ lives through music. The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia’s newest project and collaboration with the healthcare industry through Heart Strings: Music Education for Patients at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has been a wonderful example of the transforming power of the arts.

My name is Aileen Rimando and I am the Communications and Outreach Coordinator for The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. An educational component was recently added to my role, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to expand our outreach offerings to the private healthcare industry to engage and inspire the Philadelphia community.

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Fresh Consumer and Business Data on the Local Arts Index Site

Posted by Roland Kushner, May 28, 2014 1 comment

Roland Kushner Roland Kushner

In 2010, Americans for the Arts launched the National Arts Index; this was followed in 2012 by its community-level sibling, the Local Arts Index.  The Local Arts Index (LAI) is the largest publicly accessible source of data on arts and culture at the county level.  It offers a free and easy-to-use web tool that displays information about the arts in every U.S. county in the form of 75 indicators, with data since 2009.  The site makes it easy for you to learn about your county (or the one next door, or where you’re thinking of moving) as an arts community. 

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Branching Out – Nurturing Emerging Leaders to be Bigger than the Job

Posted by Lindsay Tucker So, Apr 18, 2014 2 comments

Lindsay So Lindsay So

There were times when I would mention that I was starting a new job with the City of Philadelphia and the most frequent response was a remark about the “Good Government Job”—somewhere I could stay for a long time with the implication that I could never be fired. Sure, this comment might have been a joke but even so, I hadn’t really thought of it that way. Sure, having health benefits for the first time would be a major plus for me, an arts manager early in my career, but what motivated me most was the opportunity to learn about and directly impact the arts and culture community of a major city. Citywide programs, grant making, creative development opportunities, policy changes—I pictured myself having a hand in making Philadelphia a city where artists could thrive and residents could enjoy a diverse range of arts and culture experiences. I now believe this difference in perspective is generational: my peers in City Hall share my ambition and passion to affect change and make an impact with our work.

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