Federal money infuses Philly’s “creative economy”

    Local arts and culture organizations are getting a funding boost from the federal government. Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, along with Mayor Nutter, doled out eight federal stimulus grants to local arts organizations totaling $500,000.

    By Meggan Kole

    Local arts and culture organizations are getting a funding boost from the federal government. Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, along with Mayor Nutter, doled out eight federal stimulus grants to local arts organizations totaling $500,000. The grants will allow the groups to expand their creative efforts while creating temporary construction jobs and permanent jobs in the arts sector.

    One of the groups is turning a 19th century biscuit factory into large studio spaces in Point Breeze. Another converts recyclable material into sculptures in Northeast Philadelphia.

    Gary Steuer is the director of the city’s Office of Arts and Culture.  He says while some have criticized the government for using stimulus money for the arts, he believes it’s just as important as other sectors.

    STEUER: “This is really about jobs. It’s about neighborhood revitalization and jobs. So an arts job is a job and those people who are employed through this initiative are people who will go out and buy groceries and pay rent and help foster the local economy so it really is something that feeds directly into the cities economic development efforts.”

    Each group will get between $20,000 and $100,000 – to be used for renovations and to expand workspaces in low- or moderate-income neighborhoods.

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