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Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson and Isaiah Thomas have continuously made efforts to help arts and culture recover from the pandemic. Photo credit: Jared Piper/PHL Council
Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson and Isaiah Thomas have continuously made efforts to help arts and culture recover from the pandemic. Photo: Jared Piper/PHL Council

A week-long celebration of Philly arts and culture is set for July

How local arts need the city’s help to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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As many sectors of Philadelphia start to recover from the pandemic, local arts and culture is just one area that has financially suffered.

In an effort to promote pandemic recovery among the arts and culture, Philadelphia is set to host a week-long celebration in July. It will help the city’s cultural institutions recover from the pandemic, as many struggled without in-person events and performances. 

The “Arts and Culture Recovery Week” (ACRW) will kick off July 5, with a block party in North Philadelphia followed by seven days of fun events for the whole family, as different artistic and cultural mediums will be showcased. 

The idea for the celebration was born in City Council’s Arts and Culture Task Force, a program that promotes financial pandemic recovery of arts and culture institutions. 

In early May, the task force also launched a $1 million Illuminate the Arts Grant to help with the recovery of arts and culture. 

The fund, backed by City Councilmembers Isaiah Thomas and Katherine Gilmore Richardson, will financially uplift Philadelphia’s arts, with targeted grant support available for Latino and Black communities impacted by the pandemic.

“Supporting our arts and culture community is crucial to our recovery from COVID-19,” said Gilmore Richardson. “Individual artists and small businesses often struggle to receive funding and didn’t receive any support from the initial stimulus packages. I’m thrilled we were able to put together this program and invest in our artists.”

However, as reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer the grant has yet to be dispensed as councilmembers Thomas and Gilmore Richardson proposed an additional $3 million for the Cultural Fund as part of an “Arts and Culture Budget Priorities” memo sent to Council President Darrell Clarke. 

“Supporting the arts is vital to the wellness of Philadelphia’s communities,” said Thomas. “This is especially important as the City strives to ensure there are safe and fun activities for Philadelphia youth. Supporting our arts and culture community through the Illuminate the Arts Grant is a major step towards that goal.”

According to the official ACRW website, the goal for the week-long celebration is to highlight the diverse and growing arts community in Philadelphia. 

“From curated events by the office of Councilmember Thomas and partners from across the city to local community events and concerts from legends in the arts and culture community,” ACRW officials said. “We are looking to show the nation and our own communities that Philly is an Arts City.” 

The weeklong celebration will also showcase how important arts and culture is to Philadelphia communities and what it means for this area to continue to not only thrive, but survive. 

“Over the past year, The Office of Council Member Thomas has been working side by side with the members of the arts community,” ACRW officials said. “After the impressive advocacy during the 2020-2021 budget cycle, Thomas’ office was able to see just how much this community means to the fabric of Philadelphia, and even more so how it’s members were already fighting for survival before the pandemic.” 

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