Amsterdam remembered as tireless arts advocate

Speakers remembered Peggy Amsterdam as tenacious, passionate, and fun.

The late director of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance was memorialized Tuesday by members of the arts community.

Peggy Amsterdam died over the weekend at the age of 60, after a long bout with a rare form of cancer.

Hundreds of people packed a standing-room-only Suzanne Roberts Theater on Broad Street, spilling out to fill both floors of the lobby. Most were leaders of the Philadelphia arts community, representing everything from the opera to the Eastern State Penitentiary.

On stage, speakers remembered Peggy Amsterdam as tenacious, passionate, and fun. Derek Gillman, the president of the Barnes Foundation, says she was admired widely.

Gillman: Engagement and warmth and commitment. She was a friend in a way that made the whole arts community and the larger political community want to have good mutual relationships. She was a binder of people.

Amsterdam was instrumental in re-establishing the city’s Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy. The director of that office, Gary Steuer, says Amsterdam is recognized nationally for her success in advocating for the Philadelphia arts community.

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