Arts flex their business muscle in Philadelphia

The arts is big business in Philadelphia. 

The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance says the arts generate close to 50,000 jobs in Philadelphia and the people holding those jobs earn a total of $2.7 billion a year.

Joyce Allen of the Freedom Theatre on North Broad Street told a hearing at Philadelphia City Council about how her group does more than provide jobs, it instills discipline in young people.

“Freedom Theatre is where you learn to become focused, know about the different disciplines in the theater,” said Allen. “To become involved with the moment of sharing that you have studied all year long, and you have this one night to show what you have learned, it’s a moment, a beautiful moment.”

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Councilman Curtis Jones says Philadelphia must support the arts.

“You can’t want crops without rain you can’t want culture in a community without supporting it,” said Jones. “Every community nationally is charged with supporting the thing that are are important to them culturally.”

The city is in the process of forming a non-profit to help arts groups.

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