During the run-up to a gubernatorial election,
issues surrounding arts funding usually take a back seat to more pressing political concerns in Pennsylvania.
For the first time in recent memory, both candidates for governor have released arts and culture platforms.
Republican Tom Corbett, the state attorney general, said he is a history buff who favors preservation efforts.
Dan Onorato, the Allegheny county executive and a Democrat, was instrumental in the success of Pittsburgh’s riverfront arts district. They both said they will invest in the state’s cultural development through public-private partnerships and the Arts Council.
The fact that they both drafted positions shows the increased relevance of the arts and culture sector to the greater health of the commonwealth, said Tom Kaiden of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.
“There were subtle differences of emphasis. There is little more emphasis on historical museums by the Corbett campaign, Onorato talking a little more about the importance of arts districts,” said Kaiden. “My read is they identified more things in common than things that were different.”
Kaiden said the Cultural Alliance has data showing that of voters in the last five elections in the Philadelphia region, 45 percent participated in some form of cultural offering – such as buying a ticket or taking a class.