This year, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund had its first-ever tie for the Councilman David Cohen Award which recognizes arts-and-culture organizations dedicated to promoting social and economic justice. It was bestowed upon both Historic Germantown and Art-Reach.
Eighth District City Councilwoman Cindy Bass presented each winner with an award — a piece of art work designed by Germantown resident Ron Rumford — at an April 23 breakfast presentation in the City Council Caucus room.
June O’Neill, manager of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, which presents the award annually, said winners are selected through a two-tier process. After a peer panel makes nominations, a grants committee makes the final decision.
“Historic Germantown not only works with all of the historic sites in Germantown, of which there are many, but also works with the community itself,” said O’Neill. The committees “were so impressed with the work that they do with the individuals in the community that they really felt that their work and the intent of their work embodied those aspects of the Cohen Award.”
Historic Germantown reacts to the news
Barbara Hogue, executive director of Historic Germantown, said locals may not know or understand the work that the umbrella consortium for 15 cultural and historic sites in Northwest Philadelphia is doing.
However, the award proves there is a larger community that recognizes the free services they provide, making it a go-to place for a cultural experience in Northwest Philadelphia.
“Having our colleagues at the Philadelphia Cultural Fund recognize that really means a lot because the other people that have won the award,” said Hogue. “We are in really good company. People who [have won the award] are doing really amazing work in the community, and now we have joined those ranks.”
The Center City co-winner
Art-Reach is an organization devoted to making cultural opportunities available to underserved audiences; they have enabled more than 15,000 people with disabilities or economic disadvantages to enjoy the arts. It operates in different neighborhoods throughout the tri-state area.
“It feels very good to have the work that we are doing to be validated because it came from peers in human service industry and arts,” said Stephanie Borton, Art Reach’s interim executive director.
The award was created in honor of the late Councilman David Cohen’s long-time service to the arts community